Fashion Wars


Snap-front army green top over velvet skirt from Marc Jacobs Fall 2009

Wartime has always had an impact on fashion. World War I focused on trench coats and shorter skirts while World War II popularized sportswear, strong shoulders and nipped waists.

Later, Vietnam inspired protest-driven army green and fatigues for angry men and women who forcibly altered the course of history by for the first time protesting against a war that seemed completely illogical.

When the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began in 2003, the fashion world focused on double-breasted military style jackets with epaulets and an unusual amount of wildlife flooded the accessories market in the form of symbolic wildlife and feathers – protective amulets against the ugliness of greed.

Writers trying to explain it thought it was a return to nature, a voyage into the woods where we could hide and play safe with antlered deer, owls and finches. A sacred place where war simply couldn’t touch us.

Six years later, the war has jaded us, having had little impact on fashion for some time now (though I do question that with the Marc Jacobs).

Kathleen Campbell, a fashion historian affiliated with the Goldstein Museum of Design at the University of Minnesota, says when history judges this period, an influence – possibly the use of scarves and layers like the ones used in those regions to protect against weather extremes – might emerge. “I think we’re too close to analyze the effects now. It’s much easier to see in retrospect,” says Campbell.

You be the judge. See any current fashion trends you think are influenced from wartime?

Amy DuFault

Amy DuFault is a conscious lifestyle writer, consultant and fashion instigator. She resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.