Style scoopJanuary 2001
Maybe it's just a backlash to the exuberance designers have been showing.
Or perhaps it's a sign that fashionistas are ready to don social armor and been seen as more powerful, even somber.
But most likely the return of military chic coincides with fashion's general return to '80s trends (what civilian could be cooler in uniform than Janet Jackson in 1989's video "Rhythm Nation?")
Actress Sharon Stone, on the December cover in Elle in Christian Dior camouflage heralded the coming of uniform styling and army greens.
The warrior trend has been building: trench coats and berets have enjoyed several seasons of popularity and camouflage was hot with teens only a few years ago when utility looks were in (you remember: cargo pockets galore.)
The new military looks include luxe -- leathers, floaty chiffons, embellishments -- and severe uniform styles.
Designers saluting the armed forces include Miguel Adrover (with his tie-included styles), Louis Vuitton, Celine, Miu Miu and Dior.
Here's what About's expert on Trucks, Todd Jensen, says about the trend:
"The military and military-esque vehicles are an extension of the philosophy that is currently expressed by large sport utility vehicles such as the Ford Excursion and Chevrolet Suburban.
Consumers just can't buy anything bigger, badder and more expensive than the likes of the Hummer or the upcoming Dodge Power Wagon. We are also starting to see the military trend show through on mainline consumer vehicles with rugged industrial design that features exposed hardware elements and aggressive bodywork.
The trend works both ways; the U.S. military has implemented a program to utilize standard-issue light-duty trucks from U.S. automakers as a more cost-efficient alternative to special purpose vehicles, much as the U.K. has long employed Land Rovers for its military service." Visit About Guide to Trucks for more information.
The new 2002 H2 from Hummer, left.
Wonder why fashion loves going regimental? Find out from About's US Military expert, Rod Powers.
Military styles (among civilians) first became popular during the 60s, in protest of the Vietnam War. Parts of military clothing were first worn by military veteran protestors, then -- as time went on -- by more and more of the protesters. The "fashion" spread to even non-protestor "hippies," of the times.
After Vietnam, the Military became an all-volunteer force. Other than a few left-over 'hippies" here and there, the fad kind of died. The military had negative connotations, and was not held in very high esteem by the public.
The botched hostage rescue of the Carter administration didn't do anything to alleviate this reputation.
During the Reagan years, starting with the Libya confrontation, and continuing with the Grenada operation, then Panama, the public started to be proud of their military again. Recruiting numbers shot through the roof.
A few military-action movies were made. Military-style "high and tight" haircuts replaced long hair in the civilian world.
Military popularity shot way up during the Gulf war, and -- to a lesser extent -- during Bosnia and Kosovo. The Press got on the band-wagon and started doing news-shows about the military that were, in the most part, positive. Even when the reports were negative in nature, they always showed the G.I. (the person) as a good person, a volunteer, just trying to get by.
Enter Tom Hanks and "Saving Private Ryan." Follow that up with "Terms of Engagement." Young folks often follow the movies when they develop their trends, and these two movies had a great impact.
Wearing any distinctive part of a United States Military Uniform is a crime. It's a felony under 18 United States Code. By "distinctive," it means tags that say "United States Air Force," or "United States Army," or stripes or insignia. Unfortunately, it's not a crime that local DAs or police are very willing to spend any time on.
Additionally, there is very little that makes a *real* service-member more angry than seeing someone wear the stripes he/she worked so hard for, to earn.
Photo credits: Trench photo: Victor Alfaro, Spring '01 -- copyright Cynthia Nellis; Uniforms photo, Pierre Garroudi Spring '01 -- copyright Cynthia Nellis; H2 photo courtesy Hummer; Camouflage photo, Gia Ventola Spring '01 -- copyright Cynthia Nellis; Beret photo, Margie Tsai, Spring '01 -- copyright Cynthia Nellis