Model Sacha M'Baye in H&M's field jacket.

The Field Jacket

The olive-coloured jacket with four big pockets and an inbuilt hood was made for troops. Its durability and functionality made it mainstream. This is a field study of the field jacket.

The field jacket on the runway for Yoshio Kubo S/S 2015, All Over Press.

This item was brought to the world in the midst of war, when the United States Army replaced the old wool service coat with the more utilitarian field jacket. The year was 1941 and the United States was about to enter the Second World War. 

The first field jacket was called M-41 and was modelled after a windbreaker. It was made in cotton poplin – a material that resisted wind and water better than wool, which was useful in combat. The M-41 was improved several times during the years. New models were made and adjusted for different seasons and climates. 

In 1959, Alpha Industries became the manufacturer of US army apparel and mass-produced the most iconic of all the field jackets: The M-65. The jacket was widely worn during the Vietnam War, and soldiers who made it back home to the USA would continue using their jackets because of their durability and high functionality. This is when the field jacket became mainstream. 

The jacket wasn’t just worn by returning soldiers. It was seen on actors in movies, on rock stars at concerts and on everyone else. Some of its most memorable moments in popular culture was when Robert De Niro wore it in Taxi Driver (1976), Al Pacino in Serpico (1973) and Sylvester Stallone in Rambo (1982). Despite originally being a men’s item, it has become a unisex jacket. One example is actress Linda Cardellini in the cult series Freaks and Geeks (1999).

The original M-65 jacket featured two big hip pockets, two medium-sized breast pockets and an inbuilt hood. Back in the 60s, it only came in one colour: olive drab. A few years later it started coming in different camouflage patterns.

Stylist Columbine Smille thinks the trick to pulling off a field jacket is to wear it in an unexpected way. Since the jacket itself often gives a relaxed impression, she recommends men to wear it together with a pair of suit trousers instead of distressed jeans, and a knitted sweater instead of a t-shirt. With this styling, the jacket looks smarter and becomes more multifaceted. 

“The shabby-chic days are over”, says Columbine.


Photographer Tobias Lundkvist’s favourite items are the classics: a black t-shirt and Chuck Taylors. Stylist Columbine Smille’s favourite item is the perfect black silk dress. Our model and super hunk is Sacha M'Baye. Hair by Mette Thorsgaard and makeup by Josefin Scherdin. 

The field jacket on Justin Bieber, American soldiers in Maryland, USA, 1942, Al Pacino in Serpico, Mr. T in The A-Team, Liam Gallagher, Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver and Linda Cardellini in Freaks and Geeks, Getty Images/All Over Press.
Back to feed
Back to top