Let’s imagine that World War II wasn’t about invading countries, killing people and achieving world domination. Instead, it was a fashion contest to create the most stylish military pictures. In other words – let’s think that the objective was for ordinary soldiers or leaders or whoever, in some way connected to the war, trying to create a “look” that would pass muster on Madison Avenue.
Soldiers returning home after a war incident (or after the whole war was over) carried more than battle scars. They brought home new styles which were invented by necessity during combat. Military trends that silently became a part of everyday style. The reason for their success was more than aesthetic. It was due to the function. Any clothing item worn by troops has to be comfortable, sharp and functional. The first ready-to-wear garments were manufactured in bulk to dress soldiers in standard sizes and proportions to adapt to men with different physiques. The trends popularized in combat effortlessly find their way into fashions on urban streets.
Trench coats, bomber jackets, knit undershirts, pea coats, chino pants, and aviator glasses all have roots in WWII military clothing. With so much military surplus available after the war, civilians would buy and wear military clothing for several more years. The improvement in machinery, textiles, and manufacturing of military clothing made post-war ready-to-wear civilian clothing a booming industry. Here in this article are a few pictures of some sort of military fashion (or let’s say: styling) during World War II.
(Photo credit: Bundesarchiv / National Archives / US Army Archives. Text: Jammes Bjorcman).