The OG-107 Trouser
As one of the most iconic pieces in U.S. military history, army fatigue trousers are often imitated and reproduced. From Orslow and Stan Ray, to Everlane and Bonobos, most everyone has their take on these.
Originally developed in 1952, the OG-107 fatigue trouser was named for the color of the 8.5oz cotton sateen that they were made of—OG (Olive Green), shade 7. They would end up being one of the longest issued uniforms in the U.S. army, phased out of rotation in 1981 after being used throughout the Vietnam and Cold War era. While the U.S. army officially used the term “utility uniform” to describe the new OG-107s, soldiers continued to refer to them as fatigues—what military trousers were referred to in the 1940s during WWII.
via fashion pathfinder
The design of the trousers was incredibly simple and remained nearly unchanged during its issued lifespan. The uniform was intended to be loose fitting and used for work duties and training, and included all of the defining characteristics we associate with OG-107s today: two large front pockets and two rear patch pockets with flap closures.
The trousers were twice updated with modifications: once in 1964 and the second time in 1973.
In 1964, the tag sizing changed from “small”, “medium”, “large” to true measurements (28x30 etc.). The waist adjustment tabs were also removed.
In 1973, as the Vietnam War came to a stop and the military started transitioning to an all volunteer basis, the U.S. army spent less on the quality of the fabric. They began to test utility uniforms made from a poly-cotton blend in Olive Green, shade 507. This resulted in wash and wear enhancement—the OG-507s were born. With a distinctly different look and feel to the material, the uniform was named the ‘durable press’ utility trousers and shirt. It was easier to clean and maintain.
So how did OG-107s become a part of fashion history? During the Vietnam War, army veterans who were against the war were wearing and providing anti-war activists with fatigues to wear as their uniforms—they quickly became a symbol of anti-war sentiments during protests. Towards the end of the war, mass production caused by the industrialization of the fabric industry ensured that a surplus of OG-107 uniforms would enter the fashion and vintage surplus marketplace. Hikers, rock climbers, and hippies were the first to don these trousers, as they were cheap and durable.
vietnam war protest in Washington, April 1971, via ideastream
a group of rock climbers in 1972, via heddels
When you wear these pants, you’re wearing a piece of history. From army uniform, to protest, to mainstream vintage fashion, you can be sure to find a pair of original OG107 trousers in any vintage lover and collector’s wardrobe.
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