I refer to the following images in a forthcoming article, “‘Military Chic’ and the Rhetorical Production of the Uniformed Body” (in press, Western Journal of Communication).
In this essay I perform a critical-rhetorical analysis of military uniforms and military design aesthetics. I contrast the Army’s efforts to codify the meaning of the uniform with the extensive appropriation of military uniform elements in everyday dress, a phenomenon that extends from high fashion to sports uniforms to the sales rack. I argue that military-inspired fashion capitalizes on the pleasures of militarism even as it achieves rhetorical distance from the violent contexts of war. Military chic rhetoric draws on the positive ethos of the military in order to support commerce, to reinforce traditional views of female identity, and to cultivate “affective participation” in war that fosters a sense of belonging with the community of service members.
Marie Claire, April 2017