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Military May Be the Next Big Utilitarian Trend in Men’s Fashion

Military influences are omnipresent in men’s fashion. From cargo pants to bomber jackets, military fashion is part of the daily uniform of the everyday man. However, in “Jettison,” one of Fashion Snoops’ themes for Fall/Winter 20-21 men’s wear, military takes a turn toward tailored luxury.

In a recent webinar with Informa, Michael Fisher, Fashion Snoop vice president and creative director for men’s wear, outlined a trend story that “shows how to add form, function and utility to reworked tailored clothing.” The aesthetic is stuck between opposing ideas: the structure of brutalist architecture and the allure of regalia. The result is men’s fashion that favors lustrous surfaces, sturdy knits that “stand the test of time” and garments with a subversive edge of surrealism, Fisher said.

“This is about persevering heritage without churning out cliché archetypes each season,” he said.

Military fashion is trending for Fall/Winter 20-21.
F/W 19-20 Kent & Curwen WWD/Shutterstock

Jettison’s color palette is based in utilitarian mid-tones and jewel tones like pine green, cerulean blue, scarlet and brown neutrals. White-casted powdery pastels add a jolt of energy. Oily prints invite a chance for brands to introduce metallics to this world. Grainy, washed-out textures are inspired by topography, while bolder prints are pulled from aviation dials, survival kits and transparent x-rays.

F/W 20-21 is a chance for trench coats to become a winter staple, Fisher said. Sleek styles are updated with military details like oversized pockets, and a mix of waxed and non-waxed surfaces add tactile interest to others.

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Other key items are pulled directly from the bunker. The G.I. shirt is updated with an inside-out construction that Fisher said is all over the runway. Citadel sweaters boast oversized turtlenecks and heavyweight constructions. And pants are “military grade” with a higher waist and tapered leg. Add a self-belt, he said, for drama.

Military fashion is trending for Fall/Winter 20-21.
F/W 19-20 Miaoran Riccardo Giordano/IPA/Shutterstock (10055856q) Model on the catwalk MIAORAN show, Runway, Fall Winter 2019, Milan Fashion Week Men's, Italy - 13 Jan 2019

In denim, the trend translates to hybrid jean and bomber jackets made with a denim and navy shell construction. Details like a pleated front placket with tack buttons ensure the jacket is “unmistakably” a Trucker jacket, Fisher said. Other Truckers are insulated with light padding in nylon or leather. Hidden pockets add a functional element.

Straight-fit gray denim with heavy distressing and contrast brown stitching, or “fatigue jeans,” according to Fisher, is part of the Jettison denim story. Meanwhile, plain-weave indigo shirt jackets with flap check pockets offer a touch of refined utility.

Hi-top sneakers with a combat vibe and all-weather boots are weighty options that help ground the strong apparel silhouettes. Nylon waist bags worn over the check remain an important accessory, while backpacks and duffle bags are embellished with oversized squeeze buckles. That outdoor look, Fisher added, is carried into necklaces made with carabineers.