Essentials – Field Jacket

Theme from Platoon

The Field Jacket is another item that I think needs to be in everyone’s wardrobe capsule.  Here are my top reasons:  It’s seriously iconic for badass (think Taxi Driver).  If you get a good one, it will last for ages.  It’s light enough that it can be worn in the South almost year round (except for those two weeks of Winter when you need an Anorak Jacket).  It’s versatile and can be paired with just about anything.  And now you can get this type of jacket in a lot of colors besides the military green.

As with most items of clothing, the field jacket has a history.  This jacket is a spin-off of the of the M-1965 US military field jacket. 

The M-65 has a concealed hood, buttoned epaulets, an interior liner with a wind/water-resistant shell, brass zipper, snap-flag cargo pockets, snap-closure storm flap over the zipper, a drawstring waist, velcro adjustable cuffs and reinforced pockets.  All this made it the perfect weather resistant jacket for wearing in the jungles of Vietnam with the hot days, cold nights and very rainy weather.  If you’re looking for an M-65, you can find it at almost any Army/Navy surplus store, Amazon or Ebay.  

I bought this field jacket at Old Navy.  This version has elasticized cuffs, full-length zipper, patch pockets on top, snap-close cargo pockets on the bottom, an elasticized waist with a drawstring and is made of soft, sturdy twill.  This particular style comes in navy, coral, black, tan and this green. 

Few items of clothing bring up more vivid images for me than the field jacket. 

I came along in the middle of the Vietnam Era. A lot of things that were happening back then became a part of my foundation.  Like knowing that the word “draft” was a dirty word.  Understanding that it was a sad occasion when all the pictures of boys going to war were published in the local paper.  I have strong memories of my grandfather avidly watching the news.  And I remember seeing the boys that were drafted return as men from the war. 

One of those men was a cousin.  When he came home, he wore an M-65 (all the time).  I adored him.  He taught me about frogs, how to shoot marbles (and win) and would swing me around for a giggle.  To this day, an M-65 brings back the scent of his aftershave, the shape of his glasses and the musical quality of his laughter. 

Overall, this Old Navy version is a good jacket for Spring and will probably work well for chilly Summer nights.  One word of caution, some reviews mention that the jacket is a little tight across the bust area.  Most who had a problem with the bust area recommend sizing up.

So, I’m curious, do any of you have strong associations with items of clothing?

Thanks for stopping by!




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