Ten-hut! G.I. Style
I like to think of dressing up as an exercise in story crafting. In a way, it's a way to transport yourself to a different time and to live out a separate persona. For this outfit, I take to the 1950s --- les années après guerre --- and piece out the aesthetic elements of the era.
In many ways, the years following the Second World War proved to be the apex for American culture all over the world. Unscathed by the combat that had ravaged much of Europe and Asia, the United States ended the wartime years with an unsurpassed industrial apparatus and the global presence to export its goods and culture to allies and former foes alike. Hollywood, jazz, rock-n-roll, and Coca-Cola became synonymous with America's new place at the top of the global totem pole, and no canvas for these exports would be as effective as the American G.I.
The standout piece in the ensemble is the chinos, once a hallmark of 20th-century military uniforms that have since passed onto the realm of civilian wear. Most chinos you get nowadays fit slimmer and sit lower on the hips --- this pair features a generously high waist (to keep shirts tucked in) and wide, but not baggy, legs for a truly vintage fit.
These chinos date from the 1950s and were once issued to the French Army — — unlike contemporary patterns from the U.S., these pants are pleated and lack a front coin pocket. But the designers at Atelier & Repairs go further than just offering vintage militaria. A "design-driven product and services platform dedicated to circularity," Atelier & Repairs designs their pieces around re-using deadstock and recycled fabrics and vintage clothes, resulting in a completely new piece that emanates with a home-repaired, almost bohemian feel. As part of their Demilitarized Zone catalog, these pants fall under a collection whose theme reinterprets militaria and service uniforms through a lens of peace; what if these garments for war never saw combat again? The reinterpretation of these chinos features a duck canvas carpenter's pocket on the right thigh, a practical addition reminiscent of an army-style cargo pocket with a distinct civilian influence.
While I pair these chinos with a button-up shirt and field jacket, they lend themselves quite well to white t-shirts and sneakers for an "off-duty" look. For this look, I opted for leather slip-on shoes and chambray to smarten the ensemble without going too far in that direction. Chambray is a lot like denim, but lighter and woven in a different pattern; its shade of blue works magnificently with most colors and aesthetic themes. While this shirt (made by NY-based brand Corridor in collaboration with The Canoe Club in Boulder, CO) is styled closer to a dress shirt, chambray shirts were also issued to U.S. Navy personnel as a working uniform during WW2, so they fit well with the overall message of the outfit.
The jacket is a hybrid style that leans more towards fashion than vintage but whose dimensions complement the boxier vintage shape of the chinos. Most interestingly, it appears to have direct stylistic influences from a French F1 field jacket (issued to French Army units during the Indochina and Algerian Wars), though its length and snug fit give a silhouette closer to an American-style Eisenhower blouson.
Perfect for almost any occasion short of formal settings, this outfit draws influence from history and aesthetics rooted in masculine imagery. Though I don't fully identify with some of the underlying themes of this outfit, I find that it evokes a certain flair of rogue-ishness and laissez-faire: a delightfully subverted take on garments meant for uniformity.
- Field jacket: Neuw Denim at American Rag Cie
- Chinos: Atelier & Repairs
- Shirt: Corridor x Canoe Club, Boulder CO
- Shoes: Astorflex Patnoflex, Huckberry
- Belt: Overland Leather