Fashion is not just for teen girls

It’s teen girls who care about what they wear, and rough military men do not even think about it. Right? Wrong.

Up Front is a book depicting WWII soldiers by cartoonist Bill Mauldin. Around page 135, Mauldin describes how men dressed who were close to the front lines but not actually in combat. Mauldin coined the term garritrooper (a portmanteau of garrison and paratrooper). I thank Prof. Mike Munger for the pointer.

The garritroopers are able to look like combat men or like the rear soldiers, depending on the current fashion trend. When the infantry was unpublicized and the Air Forces were receiving much attention, the emphasis was on beauty… [The garritroopers] would not wear ordinary GI trousers and shoes, but went in for sun glasses, civilian oxfords, and officers’ forest-green clothing. This burned up many decidedly unglamorous airplane mechanics who worked for a living and didn’t look at all like the Air Force men the garritrooper saw in the magazines.

We are all trying to look like the celebrities in magazines, even if we don’t all agree on who is a celebrity and which magazine to read.

Look at that smirk, found on the Wikipedia page. Bill Mauldin is temporarily my new favorite writer.

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