Inspiration is Where You Find It: Mash

If you’ve only seen the TV version of MASH, do yourself a favor and rent / stream / download the movie that inspired it. Directed by Robert Altman, and written by Ring Lardner, Jr., the original MASH was a not so subtle satire of the Vietnam campaign, exposing the absurdities and hypocrisies of the United States’ then current war by examining the failures of the country’s previous efforts in Korea – a not too distant memory for much of the audience. The film is one of the finest of the seventies. It manages to be both serious and silly, forcing audiences to confront the myriad issues of war in between fits of laughter. MASH is also a fascinating time capsule of an era in which military garb ceased to symbolize lock-step allegiance, and became embraced by the counter-culture. The cast, which includes Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould and Robert Duvall, are clad in traditional army gear throughout, creating a juxtaposition between military uniformity and their misfit antics. Indeed, the rag-tag rebels of MASH make olive drab look cool, in a way many are still trying to emulate today.

A classic Mash outfit:

American Optical Original Pilot Sunglasses
Engineered Garments Popover Shirt
Seiko Made in Japan Military Watch
Earl’s Apparel Camp Trousers
WWII Impressions Rough Out Boots

Jake Gallagher is a writer currently living in Manhattan. He focuses on back stories and the historical side of menswear at his site You can also follow him on Twitter.

  • Hey19

    MASH is one of the best, I would watch it like once a week back in my early 20s, I kind of forgot about it, but I will have to rewatch it. I think its also a good point of entry if you want to go through the whole Robert Altman catalog.

  • Tom

    I propose Rosemary’s Baby for an Inspiration is Where You Find It episode. Seriously, the style in that film is so badass I want to turn the sound off and watch it over and over!