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Over the years men have gotten more of their wardrobes from the military than any other source of inspiration. With Veteran’s Day on the horizon, we thought we’d pay homage to the styles that have made the leap from the armed services to civilian life.

You can’t open many guys’ closets without finding some relic of a soldier’s outfit. You don’t have to shop at an Army surplus store to find military inspired items either. If you go back far enough you’ll find that just about every item we wear has seen it’s share of the battlefield. Even the most pedestrian items like the necktie (originally worn by Croatian mercenaries to signify their allegiance to France in the Thirty Years’ War) has its roots in fighting.

More recently, the military has inspired men’s style both at work and at play. Here are our top five pieces from the fighting man’s wardrobe.


Originally worn by the British in India, khaki colored cotton pants have been the go-to pants for the semi-casual American man for years. Cargo pants were originally created for paratroopers to carry radios and extra ammunition during WWII. They stayed in men’s closets after the war due to their rugged good looks.




Trench coats, as their name implies, were an integral part of the trench warfare in WWI. After slogging through the muck in them, veterans held on to these coats for their practicality and utility. In the early days of air combat the pilots had little to protect them from the elements except for their trusted leather jackets. When early flyboys returned home they held onto their jackets and the heavy leather with the shearling neck that we know as the bomber became an instant classic.




Napoleon once said that an Army marches on it’s stomach. It’s true, a hungry army isn’t much use, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need good footwear. Enter the combat boot. The original desert boots (aka chukkas) were favorites of British soldiers stationed in North Africa when they were off duty. Modeled after shoes they found in the bazaar in Cairo today you can find desert boots anywhere stylish men are kicking back.




The regimental necktie is so ubiquitous most people don’t realize that they have their origins in the military. Leave it to the Brits to bring us yet another army inspired look. Back in the days when each regiment had its own unique colors officers would wear those colors in thickly striped ties long after they had left the service (some refusing to wear any other colors). Taking a page out of Mother Nature’s book, fighting men have turned to camouflage to elude their enemies for centuries. Camouflage is a relatively new addition to stylish men’s repertoire emerging as acceptable street wear in the Vietnam era.



shadesOn duty and off, perhaps the most useful and stylish part of any soldier’s getup has to be a pair of aviator sunglasses. Originally intended to give pilots a full range of vision when battling enemy fighters and the glaring sun, aviators have been a part of civilian life for almost as long as they’ve been around (the first ones were made for U.S. military pilots in 1936 and went on sale to the public in 1937).

Randolph Engineering Aviator Glasses - Aviators really haven't changed much over the years and that's fine with us. Why mess with a classic? They are appropriate for almost any situation and work with just about every face shape in the book.Now that you’ve been through basic training on the main components of a military inspired wardrobe, tell us how you incorporate this gear into your look. Or, maybe you have another military inspired look? Leave a comment below.


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