Following on from my recent article on the emerging spring/summer print trend and a discussion on our forums on the subject, I’ve decided to go into more depth – via a sub-trend that has sprung out of menswear’s on-going affair.
Military has, of course, had a hold on fashion for many decades. From the timeless pea coat and trench to the of-late military boot. While some aspects have died a slow style death, others have begun to flourish; with camo currently ranking above the rest.
Camo obviously has a lot of well-earned stigma attached, boys abroad and all that. I ask you to banish all thoughts of poorly fitted three-quarter length cargo shorts or the full-on army get-up you used to love so much as a child, and give camouflage a chance.
As you’ll see from the lookbook below, those dreaded cargo shorts are [thankfully] nowhere to be seen. In fact, camouflage has been adapted to more unconventional terrain – such as the tailoring on show from the ever-stylish Mr Wooster.
It is of course not what you wear, but how your wear it.
As detailed numerous times during our previous article on print, the key to pulling off patterns is to pair them against neutrals. Camouflage is no different, the nostalgic feeling of your childhood when adorning camo head-to-toe will quickly wear off once you’ve stepped out in public.
Due to the social stigma that is often attached, camouflage can be one of the more difficult prints to wear without attracting instant (almost automatic) negativity from others. However, this does play into your advantage.
Camouflage is a very masculine pattern and so can be far less daunting to work into your looks than a floral or bird print; it also can tie in incredibly well with the workerwear attire that is currently trending.
Sticking with workerwear, utilise camo by pairing it with some hiking boots; this terrain-friendly look will keep you in good stead when the spring showers arrive.
The vibram sole on the boot creates a solid contrast against the print of the trouser. Just beware of muddy fields; while you may be dressed for combat, the sole of your shoe will seriously disagree with any boggy conditions.
Up top, try a chambray or similar tactile shirt and a chunky piece of knitwear in an off-white hue to coordinate with the sole and neutralise the bolder trousers.
Camouflage trousers can also be dressed in a more tailored manner. Look for a tapered and well fitted pair to ensure they are in keeping with the slim lines that the rest of your outfit creates.
Shirt-wise, try opting for something in pink; this will create a masculine/feminine clash that works beautifully as a whole. Finish off with a complimenting navy blazer.
When it comes to shoes, you’re free to use most of the standard colours – black, tan and brown will all work well with camouflage print. A quick turn up on the trouser and some black penny loafers should see you home and [hopefully] dry during the spring months.
If you don’t feel that being bold with camo is your style, how about incorporating it through accessories?
Camouflage print neckwear is a great way to play around with this trend and is bold enough to add some individuality – but not so much that people mistake you for an off-duty squaddie.
Create a military/preppy hybrid look via a bow tie. A pale blue shirt would be a great neutral backdrop for it in this instance. The sleeveless jumper has recently been rejuvenated and will add preppy overtones, whilst also being the perfect piece of spring knitwear.
Finish with some navy tailored trousers and some smart shoes for a real twist on classic military.
Using camouflage as an accent rather than a statement is a great way to keep this trend on the more sophisticated side of the spectrum.
A camo print cardigan works in exactly this way, especially when layered under a blazer or jacket.
A white shirt, grey blazer and black trousers combination keeps this look stripped back, allowing the cardigan to provide the detail and the edge you need to stand out.
The fifth and final look makes use of another spring/summer menswear essential: the denim jacket.
Layer your trusty indigo western jacket over a dark camo shirt for a sharp combination of colour and print. Beige chinos and suede loafers smarten up the whole aesthetic, making it a great choice for a weekend outfit.
There we have it, an in depth look at the upcoming camouflage print trend – and how to pull it off without looking like the aforementioned stereotypes.
The camouflage trend has been well documented during the latest fashion weeks, Milan and Pitti Uomu in particular. With fashion’s best and brightest donning camo this season, can you afford (rather ironically) not to stand out among the crowd?
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