Paul Galvin: Military influenced looks
From dog tags and badges to blazers and boots, take your style to the front line with this season's military influenced looks, says Paul Galvin
Published 03/10/2011 | 05:00
'War is evil... but it has given the world some great fashion." It's also given us some great quotes. I'm not sure who came up with that one. It was either Winston Churchill or the great Irish philosopher and fashion writer DP Galvin.
Churchill was a close friend and hunting partner of Coco Chanel, so it was probably him. A little politically incorrect, perhaps, but hey, so is war.
During the disorder of my transitional dressing troubles, I went rummaging through my wardrobe and found a favourite old jacket of mine from my school days.
Given that it fits me perfectly now, it's safe to assume that I looked like a walking war crime wearing it at 18. Howsoever. I'm wearing it these days with the sleeves rolled up a little over a cream, light-knit wool jumper so that the sleeves of the jumper show.
I love how the clashing textures work together: the roughness of the jacket against the softness of the jumper. The colours also work well.
I love the whole military style. What guy doesn't, if we're honest? Being in gangs hiding and seeking, shooting each other with pretend guns, planning escapes and watching war movies... most young lads have an inner soldier.
Military fashion had a major -- forgive me for saying this, but sometimes it's impossible to talk about fashion without sounding like a knob -- 'moment' during aut-umn/winter 2008 into 2009, when all the big fashion houses went military.
Balmain led the way, along with Burberry and Gucci. Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone and Chloé also got involved. Everyone got in on it.
Burberry Prorsum had a real army feel to its last autumn/winter collection, with the famous Burberry trench and shearling bombers. The look stretches far beyond jackets and coats for girls, of course.
For guys, one piece will usually do the trick. It can be just a jacket -- be it an overcoat, trench coat or a cropped waist-length jacket, the devil is in the detail.
Buttons, badges, patches, flags, epaulettes, pockets and stitching all make the military jacket stand out.
Khaki is synonymous with army fatigues and variations of it are manifold. I'm not a fan of camouflage print myself, especially on trousers.
Navy and red are other strong military colours. Navy, red and gold is a colour combination I love and it can be found on lots of military-style blazers.
H&M likes its military and has done some great trenches and leather bomber jackets in the past.
Shirts are another simple way for us to get our soldier on. Badges on shirts always look good, so I like military shirts too. I remember a time, when I was 15 or 16, when wearing dog tags was big. A few of my friends and I wore them. This was acceptable accessorising in the North Kerry hood. We were soldiers. It was okay. Dog tags were, and still are, a really cool accessory.
The military style really works best on girls. They can go casual with combats and vests or classy in a tailored jacket, jeans and heels and look equally attractive.
For a source of great military pieces, you need to visit vintage and second-hand stores.
Flip in Temple Bar has an awesome array of military wear from navy gear to airforce uniforms from all over the world. Which is a good thing, because if we were depending on Irish military style to inspire us we could run out of inspiration pretty quickly.
Still, all those men who give service to our country are inspiration enough.
What I really like about the military look is that it's timeless and transcends seasons and trends. Practical, wearable, versatile and affordable. I mostly like it because it's hard to get it wrong.
Military style: no casualties, no victims.