Style Advice Q & A

How to Style a Military Band Jacket

Hi Deborah,

I am 43 very petite, and I’m in love with a pricey military jacket. I have tried it on, and it fits beautifully, but I’m concerned about the age-appropriateness of it due to the heavy adornment. Your thoughts on this as well as how to style it please!   Gail

Hi Gail,

This is part of the Utility trend that is so popular now. I like these bold statement jackets but tend to wear the more pared-down versions. Before I answer your question, let me show you the two I own.

These two military band jackets fall somewhere in the middle between ornate and plain.

gray knit band jacket

shop the look


Gray Military Band Jacket

This one from Calvin Klein is actually a knit. It’s lightweight and soft like a sweater. I love the mix of charcoal gray and black.The brass buttons are antiqued so they are not bright. This jacket comes in very handy and is full of personality.


Red Band Jacket Talbots

shop the look


Red Marching Band Jacket

This Red Band jacket from Talbots one is my favorite. It has dark buttons instead of gold and no ornate metallic braid. I like to wear it with jeans and a striped tee. It a classic look that always works.

Can I wear this look after 40?


Now back to your jacket! Let’s look at the pros and cons of this jacket.


  • You love it
  • It’s a statement piece that expresses your personality
  • It’s age-appropriate!


  • Since it has a lot of adornment and is a statement piece, you might get as much wear as you like – not practical.
  • It’s expensive if you are on a limited budget.
  • It is age-appropriate, but it’s a vital statement piece, so it would work best if you were in a creative or fun profession or lived in a cosmopolitan city. You would need to keep whatever you wear simple, so it does not look like a costume. For example: nice jeans, a simple white top or light sweater underneath, and black booties. No excessive accessories.




To help you decide, here are a few examples of women over 40 who are not afraid to make a statement and know how to rock a Military jacket.


@hautegreyfox from North Carolina looks stunning in a commanding military jacket that is crisp and classy



military-jacket-see by miriam

@seebymiriam  from the Netherlands, looks polished and patriotic in a navy officer’s coat and bright red bag.

military-jacket-codigo pilar

@codigopilar  a Spanish-style Instagrammer, combines a pink velvet tank top and classic skinny jeans with a stunning Captain’s jacket adorned with gorgeous gold embellishment.


Military Coat vs. Military Jacket

Another option is to put your money towards a high-quality coat that is still fun but has more lasting power.

This cute military coat by Tory Burch has big brass buttons but is more subtle than the other jacket and practical. Still, I don’t think it is anywhere near dull. Good luck in choosing. I think you should go with your heart!


A more wearable military style by Tory Burch


If you want to see other Military jacket options, like utility jackets check out my post on The Utilitarian trend.

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9 thoughts on “How to Style a Military Band Jacket

  1. I just saw the post is from 7 years ago. In 2016, I would wear that jacket in a snap! It just goes to tell you it’s timeless and a good investment.

  2. Go for it! You only live once. Why limit yourself to mainstream clothing? What have we got to lose – some teen friend’s gossip? The advantage of our age is that we can do whatever we want; if not now, when? If you “own it” when you wear it, even young people will look at you and envy you: they will think, “That’s how I want to be when I am older!” When you wear that jacket, you will feel special, unique, artistic, ready to conquer the world, and even a role model to young people. I have a similar coat and love it; I wear it much more than I thought I would; who doesn’t like the feeling I described above? That and my attitude of not thinking about what is “age-appropriate” gave me some younger friends who, in turn, kept me young. Remember, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about at all, as Mr. Wilde would surely tell you. Now I must know where to get that jacket because I lost my funky military jacket while traveling. What’s the brand?

  3. I love your newsletter – it’s so refreshing and positive! It makes one feel that aging is okay!

    Just a comment on the models, although they are beautiful, please can you model 40+ women so we can see how these clothes ideas would look on older women. Most of these girls are probably in their 20s, and everything looks fab on them! :)

    1. Hi Meena,
      I am as frustrated as you are when trying to find photos of women over 40 wearing the clothes!!! The only magazine I know is More Magazine, but even then, they are mostly tall and thin. I hope that one day soon, stores will realize that women 40+ want to see real women our age modeling clothes. Thanks for your comment!

  4. I would stay away from this jacket only because I could not see myself getting a lot of wear out of this piece. I don’t function on what others perceive as “age appropriate”; I wear what I like. This is also on the more expensive side since it’s designer. I am okay with doing trendy pieces here and there, but I wouldn’t suggest anybody spending big bucks on something that is not a classic or essential piece you would wear in a hundred different ways. Again, there is nothing wrong with a super trendy item. Just don’t spend a lot of money on it.

    1. Hi Budget Chic,
      Well, it sounds like you gave the same advice that I passed along!
      It’s good to hear that we are all on the same page! Pick up my ebook, Chic on the Cheap, for great budget and wardrobe-building tips.

  5. Hi, Gail and Kelly,
    I’m so glad you are trying trends and not just sticking to what is “safe.” The tricky part of being over 40 is where to draw the line in directions vs. FUN vs. classy vs. looking age-appropriate.
    One thing I like, Kelly, is that your military jacket is dark brown. That will give it a softer look than black or navy, making it more wearable.
    Good luck with your search; I hope you share photos of your finds and creative ways to wear this fall’s latest trend!

  6. I agree, too – spot ON. I have a military-style jacket (dark brown with darker brown buttons – much more “casual” military), and I have worn it a few times, but it doesn’t feel as “right” as some other jackets I wear. I will pair it in exciting ways and wear it more often this fall.

  7. Glam Gal Deborah, thank you for the thoughtful and great advice. I also think you are spot-on! I especially agree with your comments on the jacket’s price and statement piece quality, which I had considered and probably lent to my uncertainty. I will keep looking, and I am sure I will find a coat with a more timeless quality.

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