How to Pull Off the Military Chic Look

military chic style

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Last Updated on May 9, 2024 by Steal the Style

The military trend in women’s fashion has come and gone more than once, leaving plenty of women with closets full of garments that feature abundant brass buttons and gaudy, oversized epaulettes. But the recent resurgence in military styles seems to be altogether more feminine, form-fitting, and laid back than previous iterations, straying from the stiff and regimented military standards (not to mention boxy, masculine silhouettes) that prompted the look in the first place. Still, there’s more to pulling off this style than simply outfitting yourself in olive drab or donning a jaunty peaked cap and some aviator sunglasses. So here are a few hallmarks of the trend and how they’ve been brought into the modern era.

Military Jacket

There are all kinds of military-inspired looks on runways these days when it comes to jackets, so you should have no trouble finding fringed epaulettes, double-breasted trenches, and the rows of brass buttons that peg this look. However, you’ll be happy to see that many of the latest styles come with colorful textiles (red and blue seem particularly popular), curvy silhouettes (so you don’t look like you’re wearing your Dad’s dress blues), and all kinds of interesting details, from velvet collars and ribbon belts to Day-Glo piping and peplum ruffles.

In short, this trend has almost totally done away with its masculine roots in order to feature flirty jackets with just a touch of military about them.

LL WJC663 Womens Removable Hoodie Motorcyle Jacket XXL BLACK

Pants and Skirts

The trend here seems to lean towards blousy pieces in soft fabrics (silk, linen, etc.) that adopt bits and pieces of military apparel. For example, the most common look for bottoms in this category seems to rely on olive drab dye lots combined with cargo pockets, in many cases punctuated by a shortened leg (either ankle or capri length).

As for shorts, the look seems to be pleated, cuffed, and grazing mid-thigh. And if you’d rather sport a skirt, you’re probably looking at pleats, ruffles, a bubble, or other girly details in khaki or olive colors. Skip camo here; it’s a bit outdated.

TwiinSisters Women's High Waist Slim Fit Jogger Cargo Camo Pants for Women with Matching Belt - Medium, Army Olive


While lace-ups and jack boots aren’t a bad way to go if you want to add some edge to your ensemble, there are many ways to embrace this trend that supply more chic than military to the equation. For example, the bootie trend doesn’t look to die off any time soon, and there are plenty of military-inspired options to choose from. The best by far has got to be buckle-bearing booties in olive/tan color schemes. But cage heels in military colors also add an interesting note to outfits and high heel boots with straps and buckles accentuating the calf are another good option.

Rothco V-Max Lightweight Tactical Boot, 11, Desert Sand


You can certainly don a beret or balmoral if you want to go for a formal look, but these don’t necessarily scream military chic. On the other hand, you probably want to skip the camo ball caps that make you look like you’re about to go hunting. Your best bet is probably to seek out a women’s cadet hat, which is sort of like a ball cap with a flat top, in a military color.

VOBOOM Washed Cotton Military Caps Cadet Army Caps Unique Design Vintage Flat Top Cap (Army Green)


The armed forces aren’t too big on accessories, unless you count dog tags and duffel bags. But that doesn’t mean you can’t work the military angle into the embellishments you use to spice up your everyday outfits. While camo trading outlets can net you plenty of pieces for your wardrobe, they aren’t likely to offer chic accessories. So when it comes to jewelry, belts, handbags, and other extras, look for canvas, leather, studs, rivets, and metal accents to add that military feel.

Cupimatch Mens Biker Alloy Bullet Military Army Style Dog Tag Pendant Necklace, 27.5 Inch Chain

Military Chic Fashion