The suit and overshirt have major military heritage. Here’s the modern update.
Photography: Glen Montgomery + Rex Features | Styling: Akim Jardine
This season’s all about indulgent layering, a flurry of faux fur and the trend that became a category, athleisure. Among all of this is a new take on something that never really went away, military style. Enlist the suit and overshirt now.
Lighter than a jacket, but heavier than a button-down shirt, with a little bit of extra volume, overshirts are military classics. Produced in army-issue tones like sand, olive, brown and green, they have been paired with T-shirts, jackets and matching khaki pants by American GIs for years. Today it’s your answer to all your layering needs. Start with a T-shirt, throw the overshirt over that, then a denim jacket – and if it’s bitterly cold, add a topcoat. Depending on what the weather does you’re then able to strip down at your convenience.
Stylist’s tip: Manufactured to stand up to long stints at war, you needn’t wash this shirt after every wear so treat it as you would a jacket, not a shirt.
The Napoleonic-era uniforms of the French army featured a single-breasted coat, white waistcoat, white breeches and boots, while the Russian uniform had a dark green, double-breasted coat with white breeches or trousers.
These would eventually become what we know today as the three-piece and double-breasted suit, the preferred attire in which to do battle in boardrooms.
Stylist’s tip: Some people find wearing a suit to work a bit stuffy. Make the look your own with updated modern tailoring pieces, paired with sneakers or knits, and fight back against the type of man wearing shorts and flip flops to the office.