James Bond wearing a NATO Strap in Goldfinger
I, like most people, have always believed that the NATO strap was somehow related to the real NATO, that the straps were standard issue for the soldier’s of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and that’s how they got their name. Yet, the truth is that the straps don’t come from NATO at all, they’re actually a product of the British military and their official title is the G10 watch strap.
Military Issue 20mm Admiralty Grey NATO Strap
The British Ministry of Defense has had a long history of issuing nylon straps to their soldiers as part of their uniforms. Unlike leather or other materials, nylon is sturdy, light, and easy to take off in a pinch. While these straps went through many different incarnations over the years, the NATO strap as we know it today was issued sometime during the sixties, taking the name “G10″ from the title of the form needed to acquire one. The authentic military grade G10 only specifies a twenty millimeter watch strap in admiralty grey, so unfortunately all those bright colored NATOs that are out there today wouldn’t fly in the service. But it was that civilian attraction to the design of the G10 that brought the NATO strap to the plain clothes public, as military surplus stores began stocking the straps. And this is where the term “NATO” actually comes from, as the straps were identified by their NSN or NATO stock number, which was eventually just shortened to NATO. As Sean Connery exemplified in Goldfinger, NATO straps are an easy way to some character to your favorite watch, without skimping on durability. And while Bond kept it relatively reserved with his strap, companies today continue to push the envelope by offering NATOs in increasingly brash and inventive color ways.
Navy and Red NATO Strap by the Knottery
Army Green NATO Strap
Orange NATO Strap
Navy NATO Strap
Navy and Yellow NATO Strap
Navy and Green NATO Strap by the Knottery
Red White and Blue NATO Strap by the Knottery
Red and Khaki NATO Strap by the Knottery
Brown Leather NATO Strap by the Knottery
As Put This On recently pointed out, over the past few years designers have begun to reinterpret the understated GAT, or German Army Trainer, selling their versions of the sneaker at a price point, generally agreed to be outrageous. While brands such as Maison Martin Margiela, Dior, and Agnes B. were no doubt drawn to the GAT’s minimalist design, they nonetheless presented the simple sneaker in a high fashion context that’s a far cry from the trainer’s original utilitarian purposes.
In the seventies, prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the recently reorganized German Military was outfitted with the original GATs. Featuring little more than a rubber sole for traction and an all leather body for comfort, German Army Trainers were first and foremost a shoe designed for soldiers during indoor exercises. For these soldiers they were a practical means to an end–a sneaker more revered for its comfort during training than for its aesthetic merits. Today, thanks in part to their recent reintroduction by contemporary brands, the GAT has become one of the preeminent options for a clean, white sneaker. And while those “designer sneakers” might run you several hundred dollars, it is still possible to find a pair of surplus GATs direct from Germany for about eighty bucks, just by doing some crafty eBaying. Check out the links below for some options.
eBay Germany: “Bundesweher Sneaker” - “Bundeswehr Sportschuhe” - “Bundeswehr Hallenschuhe” - “Bundeswehr Trunschuhe” - “Bundeswehr”
“StyleForum German Army Trainers Thread” A few users in here are willing to proxy them Germany.
“SuperFuture German Army Trainers Thread” This user proxies GATs from Germany
Considering the fact that half of you reading this right now are probably wearing one, It’s only right to start this week off with the most commonplace of all acronymic items– the OCBD (oxford cloth button down.) While the latter half is attributed to the shirt’s button down collar, Oxford Cloth itself has a far less straightforward explanation. As the last remaining fabric from a series of four, Oxford cloth’s story is one of inexplicable survival. In the late nineteenth century a Scottish Mill designed and produced four cloths, one for each of the world’s most distinguished universities. While Harvard, Yale, and Cambridge all had their respective cloths lost to history, for reasons unknown Oxford endured becoming one of the most widespread fabrics in the world. Oxford cloth is created by weaving together two yarns that are of the same color but just a shade different, giving it a marled texture that breaks from the ordinary aesthetic of a solid dress shirt.
Oxford Cloth shirts were originally perceived to be a piece of formal wear and were exclusively worn as part of a suit. This all began to change in 1896, when John E. Brooks, (the grandson of Henry Sand Brooks, the founder of Brooks Brothers’) went to England and noticed that polo players were wearing shirts with button down collars to keep them secured during games. Brooks brought the design back to the states, and Brooks Brothers combined the button down collar with oxford cloth to create the OCBD. They remained a relatively formal shirt until the 1930′s, when tennis and polo players began wearing Oxford cloth button downs during their games. While these were still unequivocally upper class sports, they nonetheless placed the Oxford shirt in an entirely new context, and by the 50′s Ivy League undergrads were wearing OCBD’s. For the students, and their limited wardrobes, the versatile shirts were a major asset. OCBD’s could not only be worn untucked on weekends, or with a jacket when going out, the shirts relaxed basket weave also allowed them to be worn pretty much year round. Today, practically every company produces their version of the OCBD, and they’re somewhat of a collectors item, not because they’re rare but because you can never collect too many.
Polo Ralph Lauren