How to style a military jacket (and not look like a colonel)

I’ve always had a love hate relationship when it comes to the military trend. I remember designing and making my own military jacket for my GCSE Textiles; bleeding out all the love I had for the trend caused by the craze back in 2011. I bled out so much that there was no hope to be saved and consequently my love died. Ironically, I thought that the trend had died with my obsession, however, the fashion world is in a constant spiral and trends are always returning. This time around I just couldn’t jump back on the bandwagon and claimed that I was ‘over military jackets’. Apparently, I wasn’t as sure as I had thought and found myself ‘accidentally’ clicking the buy button and purchasing a very uniquely designed military jacket. Hypocrisy at it’s finest, Wildlings.

At first I was a little hesitant on how to style a military jacket, particularly one with such intricate details. Furthermore, I prefer my outfits to look preppy and feminine, always gravitating towards classic fashion and few military jackets’ are anything but. However, done right, you can style a military jacket to look classic, dapper and twist this seemingly masculine piece to cater for a more feminine, refined- styleluster. Here’s how I did it…

A touch of femininity

Contrary to popular belief, shaping an initially masculine piece into something more feminine can be relatively easy. There’s a misconception that because this trend was established from menswear, that it is automatically going to make the wearer look boyish. Whilst, that can definitely be achieved, it doesn’t have to be the case. Wearing something that is more girlish underneath can instantly touch up a military jacket and tone down the masculine feel. I went for a pussy bow blouse as this immediately gives off a flirty feminine feel.

Bringing definition back to your figure and flaunting your curves is also a sure way to add a more womanly look. The jacket I had chosen actually did a fair bit of the work as it is cropped and touches my waist line; drawing the eye to my hourglass figure and balancing out my proportions. I further enhanced this with a pair of fitted high-waisted trousers to essentially bring out all of my curves. Pairing this off with a pair of black heels; nothing makes me feel more like an empowered woman than a pair of 5 inch bangers.

However, if none of the above caters towards your style, you could try a delicate dress instead and pair them with some cute ballet flats. On another note, you could simply experiment with ‘traditionally female’ colours such as different shades of pastel pinks and creams. This will also help to soften the hard-edge look of the military trend and result in a tender and graceful outcome.

Keep it classic

Perhaps a little boring to some, I went with a monochromatic approach for this look. Due to the various historical details of the garment, keeping the rest of the outfit simple and with a lack of colour creates a good balance.

The main selling point for me was the pearl detail on the shoulder- it creates a high-fashion statement whilst still installing a unique feel of luxurious glam. Therefore, the design itself already has a classic feel, which I am then further enhancing. Playing with textures is a great way to do this and I found adding a chiffon blouse and choosing a coated pair of trousers creates a sophisticated touch, increasing the lavishness of the outfit. In addition, black will always be timeless and in choosing a full black outfit underneath the white jacket a classic contrast is achieved.

Add a twist

The last thing I always love to do with my looks is add an unexpected twist. It allows me to fully express myself and get a little more creative with how I style myself. If you’re a regular reader, you’re probably rolling your eyes at how I am yet again bringing up the effects of a hat. I promise it’s for good reason!

A black hat is a piece that will never really go out of style and instantly dresses up any look. It makes the wearer look as though they actually have a clue about fashion and put a whole bunch of effort into their look. (Even if that wasn’t the case.) Forever chic, a hat will add the perfect edginess your military jacket needs for successful styling.

The military trend can seem difficult to cater for different style preferences and can feel as though it offers a lack of diversity. However, this is really not the case, styling a military jacket or inspired piece of army-wear can be fundamentally simple, if approached with the right mind-set. It is important to know yourself; your like’s and dislikes considering shape, colours and textures in fashion pieces. It is only when you place importance on your own style tastes that you can successfully take on any trend and make it your own, as I have exemplified here.


Jacket: Premium Jacket with historical details 

Blouse: Pussybow black blouse

Trousers: Coated High Waisted Skinny Jeans

Heels: Sam Edelman Zoe High Heel Ankle Boots (✕) 

Hat: Paperboy Hat

 What are your thoughts on the military jacket trend?