Fatigues are selling well this Christmas season, but that’s not unusual. Military style clothing has been in fashion for a while. From stylish epaulets on army trench coats to camouflage cargo pants, military style has influenced mainstream fashion because it is functional, durable, and looks great on just about anyone.
The infiltration of the military style is evident. There are olive green bomber jackets, aviator sunglasses, khaki pants, cargo shorts, chevron patches, and double-breasted pea coats. The color navy blue is often a uniform color in the workplace and for school children.
There are numerous army surplus stores in just about every major city. These stores – sometime warehouses – stock military-inspired apparel and accessories. Civilians can purchase full on battle gear or a flight suit to match Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun. Military-inspired clothes are often popular among men, who value the durable material and the rough look of the wardrobe. Knives, bandanas, camping gear, and hiking equipment are also sold in army surplus stores, and this phenomenon shows that Americans often associate military clothing with outdoor clothing. Many times, sporting goods stores like Big 5 sell military fatigues or similar clothing in their stores.
This infiltration of military fashion is not only for practical reasons like durability, but also to patriotism and the association of military uniforms with heroism. Although the department story Old Navy has little to do with military style fashion these days, this very American department store has capitalized on American patriotism and traditional American values to sell its merchandise.
Although American society may shirk at the idea of conformity, Americans still love military uniforms. And although military uniforms are associated with orderliness, many of the film stars who popularized the styles, such as Humphrey Bogart and his trench coat, are anything but orderly. Still, America continues to dress in military-inspired clothing, and the trend will continue as long as there are smart-looking soldiers.