10 Items You Didn’t Know Have A Military Heritage
So, let’s start things off with a Cartier Tank. The history on this watch the story
behind it is awesome. So, apparently during World War I, Louis Cartier
spent some time on the western front observing troops movements and actually seeing a little
bit of the battles. One thing that impressed him was the tank.
Now, if you know your military history, you probably remember that only Leonardo da Vinci
actually had drawings of tanks, but it was first introduced to the battle field during
World War I. It was the British with the Mark I that first got it out there.
The idea with the tank was to break up the stalemate that we had in trench warfare. You
have the German on one side, the French and the British on the other, and neither of them
was moving. All of a sudden, these iron giants hit the battlefield and caused soldiers to
panic. Now, Cartier being French, he was impressed
by the Renault tanks which actually were the first tanks to have the top turn and would
inspire future tanks. But, he created a line of watches to basically celebrate the design
of the tank. Now, the first Cartier tank prototype was
made in 1917 and then, handed personally by Cartier to John Pershing. He was the commander
of American Expeditionary Forces in Europe at the time. Amazing story, right?
Well, gents, if you enjoy that you’re going to love today’s video because I’m talking
about ten menswear items that have a military history that you probably don’t know about.
Next up, we’ve got the desert boot. Now, the company that made this very popular was
a company called Clarks. But, what you may not know is that Nathan Clark served in World
War II. He was with the 8th army, he’s over in Burma and that was the first time he saw
this particular style. He saw it on South African troops.
He had seen the design. This is a chukka design, been around for a while. But, what he didn’t
had never seen was actually they put a sole on it that had a lot of grip that was very
lightweight. They also had reduced the number of eyelets and so, all of a sudden we saw
two to three eyelets right here. They’d cut down the height of the chukka, so it was
really only ankle support. Why did they do all of these? Because they
wanted a boot that was lightweight easy to move around in the desert. So, these South
African soldiers told him, “Hey, we have these cobblers over in Cairo do this.” And
all of a sudden he got the ideas, he took it back home and made this particular style
popular. So, as we were talking about boots, let’s
now talk about Wellington boots. So, when you see these they are very recognizable.
These are boots that you want to wear when you’re riding a horse whenever you need
something that’s going to rise and protect your ankles, go up pasture mid calves.
It’s not going to go the knees though. Why? Because the Wellington was actually inspired
by knee-high boots that the Hessians were wearing. So, these guys in the 1790s, they
see these Germans with this great looking boots and – but they were a bit high, they
had a little bit of, you know, just too many like tassels on them and things. Wellington
went and talk to these cobblers said, “I want something like what they have, but let’s
go a little bit lower and let’s go simple.” And, it was really about these trousers, they
have these particular type of trousers that were in fashioned. He wanted it to work with
them. People paid attention to these boots, they’re like, “Hey, oh, I want some Wellingtons,
I want some boots like that.” So, hence, now we have the wellingtons.
Now, let’s talk about another shoe design that came out at about the same period, the
blucher. So, we have to thank Field Marshall Von Blucher. He was the one that came up with
the design and he wanted to outfit his foot soldiers with a simple shoe, so that they
could move faster. So, he came in and up to that point, shoes
that have been designed they were very expensive, he came up with this idea to take the back
quarter of the shoe and to have a flap that went over that would basically cover the front
part which is the vamp. And that made a shoe that actually stayed on your feet was less
expensive and faster to manufacture. Now, it was kind of ugly, but being a practical
German, he said I don’t care. I want something that my soldiers are going to be able to,
you know, fight Napoleon. And he did actually at the Battle of Waterloo, it was his soldiers
wearing bluchers that delivered the killing blow.
Next up, let’s talk about the crewneck t-shirt. Now, this refers to the collar to the neck
part of the t-shirt. But, why is it called a crewneck? Because it was originally worn
by crews on a ship, and it was actually the militaries around the world that started making
this popular. Why did they do this? Because you sweat a
lot on a boat especially if you work underneath, and these guys have expensive uniforms. So,
the whole idea of wearing undergarments was to protect your more expensive clothing on
top. The militaries knew this they didn’t want to be replacing hundreds of thousands
of uniforms all the time, so they got undergarments. In 1913, the US Navy actually basically started
issuing them. Why? Because they didn’t want chest hair coming out, so they started having
these regulations. Yes, they do regulate, you know, chest hair and things like that.
And all of a sudden, we start seeing the militaries pick this up. So, the crewneck t-shirt another
item in your wardrobe made popular by the military.
Next up, let’s talk neckwear. So, neckwear in general has been used to identify military
units for well over a thousand years. We go back to the Chinese. The terracotta soldiers,
when you go in and look at them they actually were wearing scarves and neckwear oftentimes
with collars to symbolize what units they were with.
But, it was during the thirty years war that Louis the XIII, I believe, he actually was
very impressed by the [Croatan?] mercenaries he had hired. They had this basically this
decoration around their neck. This is what we now called cravats were worn by them and
he like made it official. He wanted to see other people wearing it.
[0:05:08] Now, from the cravat we got various types
of neckwear, but the necktie originated. Now, what’s interesting is nowadays if you still
go over to certain countries such as England, there are symbols that you’ll see in regimental
stripes. So, when you see a regimental stripe, you actually see that’s with a military
unit. And, in fact, I had a little bit of fun with
this one. I took Marine Corps colors and I put the EGA right here. But, that’s what’s
fun about neckwear is that you can use it to send the message to send the signal. We
eventually saw a number of clubs, different colleges they all created different colors
and different types of neckwear. Very interesting. And, I just love how it’s still used today
to send signals of who you’re with and who you’re associated or where you’re from.
Next up, we’ve got the wristwatch, in particular the field watch. So, before World War I, it
was the pocket watch that reigned supreme for men. Yes, there were wristwatches out
there, but only women wore wristwatches. But, something happened in 1879, you saw Keiser
Wilhelm I, he ordered 2,000 wristwatches for his naval officers. They wanted a simple watch
that would actually be able to deal with the elements because they were out at sea and
could quickly get in time because they understood the importance of being able to time things,
so the modern field watch. And the field watch was separated from all
the other watches out there because it was all about simplicity of being able to tell
time. So, we saw the hands, we saw that they were very clear, they had, you know, they
had a high contrast background and that was the point is you just needed to know the time,
you needed to know it precisely. Nowadays, what are you going to find on the
modern military guy? Yeah, there’s tons of great watches out there, but you’re oftentimes
going to see a simple G-SHOCK or something like that. They want watches that are tough
that are durable. You know oftentimes you don’t need all the other information, you
simply want to be able to accurately tell the time and that’s what really a digital
watch does. Next up, we’ve got aviators. So, back in
1936, it was recognized that pilots needed better eye protection because when you’re
up at high altitudes, there’s a lot of things the glare of the sun. You’ve got to be able
to see what’s going on and you’ve got to be able to protect the eyes.
So, they developed a type of lens that actually fit in right here if you look at how it covers
this bottom part in here. This style came out of simply practicality. It really just
looks great on most people, different facial shapes, and when it comes down to it, it does
a great job of protecting your eyes from the elements.
Next up, we’ve got the classic field jacket. This jacket as the name implies was used by
the military in the field. So, we have the M41, the M43, the M51, and the M65. Now, those
last numbers, that’s when the jacket was introduced. So, when you think about it, each
of these jackets were introduced during a war because you had to outfit a million soldiers.
And I say soldiers because the Marine Corps they have their own stuff, they were over
in the Pacific taking care of business during World War II.
Now, why did this have such an effect on men’s fashion? Just think about it, you make millions
and millions of these jackets, guys, you know they’re leaving the military you got not
to do, they go to surplus stores or more likely a lot of guys just keep their jackets and
write, yeah, a note saying, “Oh, I lost that thing. “ Of course, they kept them
and they bring them back and they make their way in the civilian wear.
In summary, the field jacket has had a huge effect on fashion because of its sheer numbers
and the functionality of the piece. Next up, gentlemen, we’ve got the classic
trench coat. I say classic because this item still can be in a man’s wardrobe. Not very
common, but it is a timeless piece that if you decided to bring in – and I think it’s
great for maybe a guy who lives in New York City, you live in Chicago. You ride public
transportation you’re taking buses you’re taking subways, guess what?
This is going to fully cover your body. It’s going to protect your nice clothing. It does
a great job with light rains even with a little bit of light snow, and it’s something that
I think a lot of guys should have especially if you’re dealing with four seasons.
Now, what is all of these for? So, when you look at the epaulettes actually used to be
for ranks, so that’s why this should be here. You’ve also got straps right here
and it wasn’t – a lot of people think, oh, the D-rings, these are for putting grenades
on. No, that’s not the history of World War I. It was simply for being able to tighten
up the sleeves, so that rain wouldn’t go in to be able to bring this jacket in.
And that is the key with this jacket. It was functional for the trenches. World War I is
where it’s made its name, but it actually we go further back. It was the Boer War where
we first saw these designs of this jacket. We go even further back the Mackintosh back
in 1823 was the first rain resistant jacket that we saw out there.
The issue with the Mac was that it’s rubber and it’s not breathable, you’re sweating
you’re almost dying in that thing, so what we saw is gabardine was used. In the Boer
War and during World War I this was on officer’s jacket. It was expensive. And today, they’re
still expensive, but officers knew that having a great piece of clothing that could keep
the water out and simply was a great jacket. Now, you’ll notice the color here. This
is not the classic color. The classic color was tan, but I’ve decided to go with something
darker, I wanted something different. This was a custom made piece. And most trench jackets
up to about seventy years ago were custom made.
[0:10:07] That being said the trench coat is a classic
piece. It’s timeless. It’s been around for a hundred years. I will be around for
another hundred years. So, if you decided to add one to your wardrobe, I think it’s
great. It’s functional and it looks great, it will help you stand out from the crowd.
Next up, we’ve got the classic nave pea coat. Now, this goes back to the 1800s and
it was the Dutch that actually made this popular and gave it its name. So, the word pea coat
comes from I believe pie coat which pije did I – and some of guys are Dutch, am I doing
this right? So, apparently, pije means wool or is referred to as wool, and it was the
wool heavy jacket that sailors would wear whenever they had to stay warm up in the Arctic
or be able to, you know, get wet. Another great property in case you don’t
know this about wool is it can absorb about 50% of its weight in water and it will still
feel dry. It will still keep and you know do a good job of insulating you from the cold
even when it’s slightly wet. Now, the Dutch gave the jacket its name, but
it’s the British who made it popular and then, the US Navy adopted it as well. So,
we saw it just to be a great naval jacket, one that was issued to millions of men and
they, again, brought it back from the military brought it into their daily use.
I love the great looking pea coat. What I really like about it though is it’s a higher
cut. So, for those of you guys that want a jacket that’s going to cover your backside
basically your buttocks area at the same time is not going to be cumbersome around the legs,
the pea coat is great option and these are warm, they’re just nice jackets.
Now, speaking about awesome jackets, let’s talk about flight jackets. They key indicators
of a great flight jacket is insulation. And it’s going to seal in and around the wrists,
in and around the waist, up and around the neck because when you’re flying at a high
altitude and you’re in an open cockpit or an unsealed maybe unpressurized cockpit, you
can see the temperature drop down to like -40 degrees. Yes, it can get that cold at
25,000 feet. And so, what we saw in 1917 is that they came
through with the Aviation Clothing Board. The US Army put this out there. They wanted
basically their pilots to have clothing and they started developing this stuff. And we
saw a wide range of different types of flight jackets, but all of these flight jackets had
to basically you need to be able to move around especially in the bomber aircraft to be able
to move around, so you needed something that wasn’t going to get caught, hence why leather
was so important. Now, leather has made for great jackets throughout
history. And, if you’re curious to learn more about leather jackets, check out this
video right here. I talk about the seven things that every man needs to know when they’re
buying a leather jacket. And, really, guys, I go into details about the type of leather,
all the details you want to look at. So, check out this video right here, if you want to
learn more about leather jackets. [0:12:42] End of audio