Military Inspired Pants

Chino and utility pants are two style items you need to enlist

military fashion

Photography: Glen Montgomery + Rex Features | Styling: Akim Jardine

While most trends rise up in the streets then march down the runway before eventually blanket bombing the masses, the military trend is straight out of the trenches. Napolean's nonsense, Two World Wars, Korea and Vietnam, close-to-home conflicts and the US-inflamed mess in the Middle East mean that military fashion is still entrenched in today’s menswear silhouette, giving peace a chance with freedom of individuality instead of conforming or conscription. Salute the gear that harks back to the chaos of war, with a series about rocking the duds in the free world. Let’s start by wearing the pants.

The Chino

Military style pants

Also known as khakis, these came into fashion after 1945 when college men returning from the war began wearing their olive drab slacks to class. Chino, a military cotton twill fabric was carried into civilian life and the style never left us. Nowadays we wear them everywhere and they’re available in a wide spectrum of colours – not just the military-issue khaki.

Stylist's tip: Match your bottoms to your top for a tonal take on a monochromatic uniform that’s bound to get attention. Since jackets outlast pants, every man needs a few pairs of mismatched trousers to supplement his suit wardrobe with. A pair of crisp chinos worn with other army accoutrements like the shearling-lined bomber jacket, undershirt and utility boots makes for an extremely hard-working outfit. 

Utility Pants

Also known as cargo pants, these were first worn in 1938 by British military personnel as part of their Battle Dress Uniforms. First featuring one pocket on the side thigh and one on the front hip, American paratroopers adopted them in the 1940s for the way they could more easily access ammunition store in these sealed pockets. 

Stylist's tip: Just because you have extra pockets on your pants doesn’t mean you have to use them. Anything bulky enough to form a bulge in your silhouette should be bagged in a backpack. Put your wallet on a diet and don’t use a phone that could be mistaken for a tablet.

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