Thursday, August 13, 2009

Military Fashions

It's been an incredible week so far. One of my awesome fraternity brothers and friends has been stationed at a US Army base in South Korea for several months, and was home in Pensacola, Florida for a short visit. I wanted to show him how much I appreciate his friendship and let him know that our friends support him as well, so I made the 7ish hour drive to see him for a few days before he returned to the Orient. Needless to say, we had a great time, and of course snuck in some amazing shopping time as well.

You see, I'm much more supportive of the concepts of Military than the average citizen. My Father is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, and served a couple decades as an officer. In the '70s, he was a flight instructor. One of the planes he flew (not just the model type, but the actual plane) is currently in the National Museum of Naval Aviation. So of course, I had to make a special trip to the museum and visit "my Dad's plane".

Above, my fraternity brother stands in front of "my Dad's plane". He'll probably be either slightly embarrassed, slightly upset, or slightly nonchalant that I'm including his photograph and highlighting his fashion sense, but I must commend him for several concepts so perfectly demonstrated. First, notice the casual elegance of the shirt: sleeves, casually rolled up and suitable for the hot, humid Florida summer weather; a few buttons undone, allowing for the perfect, relaxed fit; and of course, breathable cotton fabric to naturally keep the body cool and fresh. Khaki shorts, complimenting the blue shirt, fall a few inches above the knee - not too baggy, not too tight either. We've seen this trend of a more tailored short for men in magazines and runways for several months now, but it's even more comforting and realistic to see a trend so flawlessly executed without being pretentious or not genuine. It also helps the look that he has great calves!

While in Pensacola, I had lunch with a very close friend of mine. A few years older than I, growing up I always looked up to what J was doing. Accomplished scholastically and professionally, charismatic, and a multi talented athlete, J had a very distinct fashion sense as well. Now an officer in the US Navy's Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps, I couldn't be more proud of my friend.

In just two days, I saw a plane that my Father flew as a flight instructor, spent an amazing time reconnecting with a fraternity brother who is serving as an Officer in the US Army and currently located at one of the northern most US bases in South Korea (North Korea just scares and depresses me, to be honest), and had lunch with another great friend who defends and provides legal and policy advice for the US Navy.

I know most people in the fashion industry aren't in tune with their country's military. Especially as a young person, we often are disconnected with war, serving in foreign lands, and sacrificing for freedom and protection. But spending time with actual people, especially friends, really brings the mission of military close to home.

Throughout the history of fashion, military has always been a huge influence. From Burberry's famous trench coats, to epaulets on John Varvatos' shirts, I love incorporating a military aesthetic into my everyday. Maybe it's because I'm nostalgic for my childhood and the fact that I associate family and military often together, or maybe it's my way of honouring those who have or currently serve.

And Spring 2010, I know the colour of choice will be "army" or loden green. Let freedom ring!

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