From Steve McQueen in the Great Escape to Goldie Hawn circa Private Benjamin to the Marc Jacobs S/S 15 catwalk, the military look is a perennial favourite and once again we’re flirting with epaulettes, outsized pockets and buttoned separates for spring. But where do we start?
The jacket is pivotal to the military trend and one of the easiest ways to update your wardrobe with army-styling. Look for a jacket with a boxy fit in a tough fabric like denim or khaki-cotton, preferably in the military palette of camo-green, navy and cream. With oversized pockets and buttoned detailing, the masculine style of the jacket looks great juxtaposed with more feminine fabrics, shapes and prints; look to silky slip dresses, leather separates and bold prints for a trend-mix. Try this one from Mango.
For the trouser you want to carefully choose a shape and cut that suits your figure; note that oversized pockets will add bulk to your hips and thighs and outsized buttons will draw attention to the bottom. Look for trousers/jeans that tap the trend via zips, flat-pockets and button detailing without being too fussy. Current Elliott’s ‘The Buddy’ slim-fit chinos are modern-military and tap the trend without being so bold that you can’t wear them with your existing wardrobe. Style with a grey marl tee, luxe sheer silk blouse, denim shirt or a jacket with fringe detailing for a Seventies mix-up.
The military shirt/blouse
The blouse has become a modern wardrobe staple thanks to the loose fit and straight seams at Equipment, the French label founded by Mr Carine Roitfeld. Their blouses have an easy military signature and you can find lots of similar styles in Zara and Banana Republic. If you have a large bust it is best to avoid oversized breast pockets, instead opt for a blouse/shirt with no pockets and a super-flattering deep-V neckline. For me, this linen-mix shirt from Etoile Isabel Marant is the epitome of military-cool; I love its epaulettes and cuffed sleeves.
Fierce footwear is a trademark of the military trend; think buckled, caged or studded. As a huge fan of the heel I would say that a vertiginous heel is (as always) the best choice here; a style like Giuseppe Zanotti’s brass studded sandals would be a smart buy – expensive yes, but such a sassy investment. For the heel, this spring sees the return of block and Cuban heels which is great news; they add enough height to lengthen the leg but are comfortable enough to wear from day to night, like these multi-buckled sandals from The Kooples which I am currently coveting.
Wait wait, stay with me! The boiler/jumpsuit is a recent style favourite of mine after buying a vintage design and falling in love with its part-mechanic part-Marant vibe. Firstly, it's the easiest outfit because it's one-piece so you're dressed and accessorised in minutes. Secondly, it's surprisingly flattering on the waist and once the sleeves and trousers are cuffed showing the slim of the ankle and wrist it's even quite elegant. Heels are mandatory, or at least statement sandals, to add in a bit of a feminine edge. This chambray design from MiH is the ideal piece with its soft fabric, simple cut and bust-flattering V-neckline; instead of wondering if you look like Goose & Maverick just embrace it, I promise you'll love it!
Are you more Marc Jacobs S/S 15 or Private Benjamin? Let me know @AntoniaOBrien