Military history is always more interesting when it involves how the military has influenced the civilian population. In this case, military uniforms have been influencing civilian attire for centuries. From trench coats to three-piece suits, the military has had some sway over their popularity. I find it interesting: The article points out that after two world wars, troops wanted to highlight their patriotism and insisted on retaining some aspects of their military uniforms in their clothing. I am sure that most men are unaware of the origins of their business suits even though they wear them every day. This isn’t the typical read on SOFREP, but I thought some of the readers might appreciate a little bit of military history.
Here is the original article:
If there’s a silver lining to the havoc wreaked by Napoleon Bonaparte on Europe during the early 19th Century, it’s that menswear today would look considerably different without it. The main thrust of the Napoleonic Wars of 1803 to 1815 may have been to advance the First French Empire, but the undercard was all about military style. The monarchs of France, Russia, England, and Prussia were obsessed with how their soldiers dressed. It was fashion week on steroids, the legacy of which can still be seen in the wardrobes of men today, not to mention in the continuing influence of the military on men’s apparel. And we’re not just talking about Olivier Rousteing’s War-and-Peace-by-way-of-Michael-Jackson designs at Balmain. The fact is, nearly everything men wear today has its roots in military dress. From chinos and bomber jackets to suits, ties, dress shoes, and overcoats, it’s impossible to separate the history of menswear from the history of the military uniform.
Despite the fact that two hundred years have passed since Napoleon’s La Grande Armée, military fashion from that era still serves as the bedrock for much of today’s menswear. The gilded romance of War and Peace-era clothing, with its swords and braided epaulets, may be long gone, but that doesn’t change that fact that sartorial innovations of 19th Century European armies are still in use today. Take, for instance, the suit. Though it may not be immediately apparent, the modern suit can trace its lineage all the way back to the campaign and dress uniforms of the Napoleonic-era French and Russian armies.
For the French army, those uniforms (there was also a third, more-functional style of uniform for battle) consisted of an open, single-breasted blue and white coat, a white waistcoat, white breeches or trousers, and either boots or shoes with gaiters. For the Russians, it was a dark green, double-breasted coat with a standing collar, white breeches or trousers, and boots in the winter and gaiters and shoes in the summer. These two setups would form the model for what would eventually become, by the 20th Century, the three-piece and the double-breasted suit.
Read more at Esquire
Image courtesy of Esquire