The fashion chevron - from Sparta to your wardrobe
The chevron has marched from ancient armies all the way to modern fashion.
One design element I’ve always liked and wish I could wear more is the chevron. I’m not talking about the dizzying repetitive array popularized by Missoni, but the singular V shape – that one commands attention all on its own.
There’s a sense of power and masculinity about it, and if you read up on its historic associations you’ll find out why.
Chevrons have long been used in heraldry, appearing on flags, coats of arms, house sigils (if you’re a Game of Thrones fan), as well as military insignia.
The ancient Spartans blazoned their shields with a capital lambda (Λ), which through the ages evolved from being a simple alphabet letter into a meaningful symbol in itself.
Feudal armies across medieval Europe included all kinds of chevron derivatives in their heraldic designs. In today’s armed forces, they are used as insignia to denote rank and length of service.
All of this usage in symbolism that signifies political and military might has given the chevron a reputation for, put quite plainly, being badass.
Modern-day fashion hasn’t shown much interest in the symbol except with maxi dresses in ziggy-zaggy patterns, so anything you can find that’s half-decent is going to be a keeper.
Tiled designs are unflattering – which explains the near absence of chevrons on racks and runways – so you should instead go for items where the V becomes a focal element for a bold look.