Anyone with an interest in the military will not fail to notice the attention to detail and meticulousness that goes into dressing like a soldier. The details may be small, but they make a big difference when it comes to projecting a professional and authoritative presence. Regardless of whether you are joining the armed forces or simply looking to adopt a more structured style, there is plenty you need to know about dressing like a soldier. From understanding what items you’ll need to make sure your accessories are right for this type of look, there are many fundamentals that can easily be overlooked if you’re new to this world. With that in mind, we have put together this handy Military Clothing Guide for Beginners with all the information you need about dressing like a soldier from head to toe.

What Are The Basics for Dressing Like a Soldier?

The key to dressing like a soldier is to understand the different materials and styles used in the clothing worn by different ranks. Knowing where you fit in this hierarchy and what is appropriate for your rank will help you give off the right impression through your clothing. For example, the color of the fabric and the cut of a jacket will vary depending on whether you are a private, corporal, sergeant, or officer. Similarly, the style of trousers worn by officers will differ from those worn by other ranks. This means you cannot simply buy what you like. Instead, you can either visit a military surplus store or do some online research to buy the appropriate clothing for your rank.

Shoes: A Shoe Expert’s Guide to Dressing Well

At the bottom of the leg is the soldier’s shoe, which is the most important item of clothing in establishing the overall look. Though it may come as a surprise, the design and materials used in military-grade shoes are exactly the same as those found in many high-end fashion shoes. Which style and brand you buy is up to you, but there are a few points to keep in mind when buying shoes for this look: Footwear should be low-heeled as this is the most common style of shoe worn with army uniforms. They should be black or brown in colour. Whilst there are other options, these are the most common. Materials should be leather or a synthetic material such as rubber. These are the basics to keep in mind when buying shoes for this look.

Trousers: Understanding Dress Shapes and Materials

As we’ve already discussed, the cut of trousers worn by soldiers varies depending on rank. What you are looking for is a pair of dress trousers cut at the knee or just above it, which is common for all ranks. As with military-grade shoes, the materials used in dress trousers will vary depending on the brand. What you are looking for is wool or a wool blend, which will be comfortable and easy to wear in most weather conditions. You also want trousers that are flat-fronted with a non-pleated leg. This is the most common style for military ranks. As with shoes, the colour of the trousers should be either black or brown.

Shirts: The Importance of Collar Shape and Fit

The shirt is the most visible garment on a soldier and therefore the most important for projecting an image of authority. The collar shape of a shirt varies depending on rank. When worn with a jacket, officers wear a stiff collar with a rounded edge. Other ranks wear a softer collar with a square edge. Of course, you do not have to be in uniform to wear a shirt with a collar that reflects your rank. If you are simply dressing like a soldier, it is better to go with a collar that is neither too stiff nor too soft. This is a good middle ground that looks both authoritative and professional. The fit of a shirt is also important, as baggy shirts are not as flattering or authoritative as a slim-fitting shirts.

Coats: Which Type Should You Buy?

The coat is the most important and visible item of clothing worn by a soldier. As such, it is important to buy a coat that reflects your rank and is suitable for the type of work you will be doing. While there are many different types of coats worn by soldiers, the most common are the trench coat and gabardine coat. The former is shorter and less formal but can be worn with a tie and a formal shirt, while the latter is longer and more formal and can be worn with a tie and a white shirt. As with shirts, the more formal coats should be bought in a fit that is neither too loose nor too tight.

Hats, Gloves, and Ties – What You Need to Know

The final items in this Military Clothing Guide for Beginners are hats and gloves. For these, you need to know that they are both optional pieces of clothing and depend on what you will be doing. Most officers will wear gloves and some will also wear an army or military tie, but it is important to know where you stand and not wear any items that are not required. The same applies to hats. Whilst some military personnel wear hats, others do not. Again, it is important to know where you stand and only wear items that are appropriate.


This Military Clothing Guide for Beginners has covered everything you need to know about dressing like a soldier. From the materials and styles used in clothing to the types of hats and gloves that are normally worn, everything has been explained. Simply follow these tips and you will be well on your way to dressing like a soldier and projecting the authority and professionalism that comes with this type of dress code.