Military inspired fashion has been getting a lot of attention lately. March 2010 issues of Harper's Bazaar and Vogue (both American and British) feature fashion editorials focusing on garments in khaki and shades of olive, while a recent New York Times article also describes the trend. When examining the accompanying images, its clear that designers are primarily referencing 20th century military uniforms, which were designed in a variety of drab colors to make pinpointing a particular soldier difficult. Though solid color uniforms have been largely replaced by sophisticated camouflage patterns, the iconic military uniform is still a solid khaki or green.
Military uniforms haven't always been so sedate. Prior to about 1850, military uniforms were often elaborate affairs, featuring extensive embellishments and accessories. Ironically, the most elaborate uniforms were typically seen in times of peace, as functionality was less of a concern. Some of the more visually distinct elements found their way into feminine fashions. The FIDM Museum wool jacket below features gold braid and a high collar, elements commonly seen in these more fantastic uniforms.