Ladylike fashions have been commanding the catwalks for a while now; a peplum here, floral patterns there, all very proper.  This looks set to continue into AW12, with designers like Marios Schwab giving us a femme fatale character straight out of a black and white movie; However, if girlie gives you the fashion shudders then it’s time to go commando, because the other side of the fashion coin this season is as far from prim as it gets.


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Military fashion is back and this time it’s really got some attitude.  Victoria Beckham’s AW12 show was a collection of military inspired dresses in khaki, black and red which paraded their way down the catwalk.  The Burberry Prorsum and McQ shows were also awash with shades of khaki, heavy buttons and deliciously stompy boots.

Originally popular during the 1970’s, military clothing was initially worn as a political statement.  The durability and low cost of the clothes, however, meant that this trend carried on through into the early 80’s.  The popularity of Army and Navy stores, which were predominantly stocked with military surplus, meant that popular items like the parka and camouflage trousers were cheap and easy to come by.

Those of you who grew up with the Spice Girls and All Saints will probably remember with some horror the resurgence of this trend in the 90’s.  An All Saints video wasn’t complete without Melanie Blatt and co. leaping about in combats and parkas.  The hard-to-pull-off combination of combats and high heels seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back and since then military has hovered on the periphery of fashion, waiting for its moment to march back onto the catwalks.

Already the catwalk influence of AW12 is winging its way onto our high streets; Over at ASOS the khaki jackets have been mixed up with fur lined collars, PU sleeves and heavy knits making them the perfect transitional cover up.  The military inspired pieces at Topshop and Zara are covered in studs and embellishments; Zara’s khaki waistcoat is a particular favourite and would toughen up even the girliest of dresses to take you through our unpredictable Indian summer.

We are pleased to tell you that this time around the military look is sleeker and most definitely chicer. The great thing about the pieces you will find on the high streets now is that just one or two well-chosen items will add the perfect amount of military authority to your wardrobe. Aviators and dog tags are optional.

Samantha Vandersteen

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