Trend report: Soft military

21:36, Sep 19 2012
Relaxed military-style tailoring from Band Of Outsiders, left, and soft khaki styles from J. Mendel, right.
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Ruby shirt, $289; Kowtow dress, $179; Komono watch, $99.90.
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Ted Baker coat, $599; blazer, $130 from; boots, $85 from
military 4
Ted Baker, $299; Max pants, $129; Rachael Ruddick earrings, $210 from
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Unique dress, $295 from; cuff, $20 from; shoes by Hailwood for Mi Piaci, $370.

The military look is one of those trends that will always exist around the perimeters of the fashion world, ever since Swedish king Karl XI first brought in standard issue military uniform for his armies in 1693.

The style icon of her day Georgiana Cavendish (Duchess of Devonshire) created a stampede for the military trend in the late 1700s after designing gowns for herself modelled on army uniforms. Military-inspired garments have been attempted by everyone from the French couture houses to the cheapest of mass chain stores.

The past few seasons have seen a literal nod to the utilitarian look - with sculptural epaulettes, brass buttons, camo prints, heavy army boots and androgynous silhouettes.

This season however, designers have taken a softer approach, with J. Mendel giving us delicate fabrics in a utilitarian palette, and Altuzarra and Band of Outsiders gesturing towards relaxed military tailoring. Gone are the days of the tough girl army trend, this season boot camp has been replaced by boot 'spa'.

Steer clear from rough and ready army jackets and clunking heavy boots, and gravitate instead towards elegant tailoring, soft silks, and details of regal gold and leather.