I’m a big fan of military surplus stores to find casual pieces for my wardrobe. I don’t wear “casual” stuff very often, so I prefer that they be cheap and hard-wearing if possible.
Typically, when it comes to outerwear, military surplus stores do the trick. I’ve previously posted about some spring-summer military surplus outerwear I picked up, and I returned to my local Army-Navy Sales store in Chicago to get some cold-weather gear.
First up was finding a M-65 field jacket. This has been copied a lot by other brands and designers and reinterpreted for slimmer fits recently (and the price has been increased accordingly), but I’m going to make the argument for the original.
While I can understand the temptation of a sleeker M-65-styled coat, I actually prefer mine a bit larger so I can wear a sport coat or blazer underneath. Admittedly, this look is ripped from Josh Peskowitz at Park & Bond, but I’ve tweaked it a bit.
I went with navy chinos instead of khaki to avoid looking too military with the coat zipped up. I also added an OCBD instead of a spread collar to keep it more casual. I did stick with dark chocolate suede shoes though.
But the above look would actually be somewhat rare for me. This look below is more likely. A chunky knit shawl-collared cardigan over a casual, tie-less button-down shirt. I picked the red gingham to break through with some color amid all the neutral tones.
The jacket goes rather easily with denim and the chelsea boots make this an outfit you can throw on in a hurry to get out the door to run errands and still not look sloppy.
I wasn’t expecting to pick up this next piece, but I stumbled across this navy acrylic sweater. It has a great texture and a henley-styled buttoning that lets you put it over an OCBD and still let your necktie peak through.
It’s casual, but could easily be worn in a business casual work environment with some flannel trousers and loafers as I’ve done here. Chinos would work well, too, with some chukka boots.
Want to layer it up? Throw on a tweed jacket. This is fairly basic and would obviously work well for when temperatures outside aren’t quite cold enough for an overcoat, but still cold enough you want some bit of warmth.
I prefer to add a silk square with tweed, just to offset the textures. It helps if you make the dominant colors of your square the minor, highlight colors in the jacket (in this case, gold and blue).
While you could purchase this stuff online, I find that sizing is almost impossible to determine without trying them on. The jacket I got is a “medium-long”, so its length covered my blazers. The sweater is a 38-40 medium, but rather form fitting.
The prices are definitely attractive — at least to me. $70 for the jacket and $25 for the sweater. If you don’t live in a major urban city, you might very well be able to get similar items cheaper. I’d recommend taking a trip to your local army surplus store and seeing what they have in stock.
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- bespokenn said: You nailed the fit on that M-65 better than I’ve seen all through my years on SF et al. Major kudos on that picture alone.
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- sorefromsleep said: Great post! I really love the sweater. Good find.
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- badscene said: Great suggestion! I purchased a surplus M65 last year and couldn’t agree more, plus you have the option of an insulated liner which will make the jacket useful in the winter snow.
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- a-differentcloth said: many years ago i got an olive peacoat/field jacket at a surplus store. wore it everywhere. It had high armholes, which i thought were funny during that baggier period, but would look on point right now. Sadly, gave it away.
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- gaws said: Bottom outfit - I wore almost the exact same thing two days ago - 27.media.tumblr.com/tum… except no tie.
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