Or as an act of concealment.
What is it with camouflage? What is the fashion world’s fascination with that organised clutter of brown and green? I mean, how camo can you go?
QUITE A BIT, ACTUALLY
But first, an ironic twist.
Camo is all about blending in, true, but as a style choice, it’s a trend impossible to miss. Let me put it to you this way. Camo is a fashion disguise to be worn when you want to be seen. When you want to make a lasting impression. In a world increasingly populated by sartorial clones, novel use of an institutional print is what sets you apart.
After all, there certainly is no better metaphor for the clothes we all put on every day, conceived and chosen to help us blend in to whatever personality or environment we choose, yes?
Again, how camo can one go?
Without appearing as though we’ve just walked off base?
How do we make camo beautiful and romantic?
The trick is to use camouflage as any other print or motif. To demilitarise it, so to speak, and play it up as you would with a stripe, a floral, any sort of strong print. Purely decorative and in no way political. This way, although it might have been cribbed from the Army, camo today (with its reworked details and tailoring) is a far cry from military issue.
Camo has its practical merits (like disguising stains, ahem). There’s also its paradoxical handiness. It goes with nothing, ergo it goes with everything. That’s how I see it, anyway. Given its ubiquity, my challenge was to portray camo in a manner that wouldn’t be instantly familiar, which is no mean feat given its popularity.
After all, military influences have been widespread since Galliano introduced it in his shows 15 years ago. From then on, interpretations of battle gear have infiltrated the style world, mapping a jagged trajectory up from campus and concert stadium, onto the hallowed runways of couture houses, and then back again into mainstream shops in plentiful supply for those of us who aren’t about to fork out for a four digit price tag.
What better way to pay homage to this chameleon of a print than to use the one same garment in multiple ways? In this instance, my strapless camo maxi dress (yes, it’s a dress). Transforming it into completely different pieces? And that’s what today’s post is all about.
Welcome to the second of a tri-part project between Jodie and her ladies, Eve, and myself. Our first foray into the world of militia focuses on pairing that striking (if somewhat brilliantly disordered) pattern with pastels. Have a look.
Eve, Teens (the world according to eve)
Eve is exuding her usual composed, chill, I-Don’t-Give-A-S*** coolness here, pairing her camo piece with cut-off shorts to perfection. Is this the epitome of street style edge or what?
Sheela, 40s (sheela writes)
Here, I’m leaning towards a softer, more feminine approach with my camo piece. I’ve converted my dress into a strapless top, and enveloped it with loads of pinks and soft yellows. My cardigan and camo dress are thrifted. Sunnies, clutch and jewellery from Poshmark. Jeans are Forever21, and shoes from Ami Clubwear.
Jodie, 50s (jodie’s touch of style)
Here is preppy chic at its level best. Yet not preppy boring. I mean, it’s camo shorts, people, with fiery red glass frames and ankle booties!!!
Nancy, 60s (jodie’s touch of style)
This look is adorable (and you know I don’t use that word lightly). It’s youthful and completely perfect for anywhere. I’m hopelessly in love with the bag incidentally.
Charlotte, 70s (jodie’s touch of style)
Charlotte’s bringing out the classic with her camo rendition, taking it to polished heights through crisp tailored pants and that lovely chain belt.
On Wednesday, all five of us will be taking on camo with sunshiny bright colours. I’d love for you to come visit then.
How do you pair your camo?
p/s my photos by Eve
I link up here.
Very cool. Love the camo top and more masculine vibe with the pretty pink pants adding a more feminine touch. So do those sky high block heels, sweet! I also enjoyed you featuring Jodie , Charlotte and Nancys looks. I think it is pretty versatile and a neutral to be paired with anything.
Have a great week!
You really bring up subjects that then make me think Sheela….like camouflage. To me I’ve only been thinking about it as a clothing print and a hunter’s item. But it is a little oppositish when you think about it—blending in, yet when you see a “normal” person wearing it, it does stand out! Although here in Colorado I see it on many a males—just not on many females!!
Thus it really is the perfect item for us older females to choose—so we are Not invisible!!
Thanks so much for these insights—-you open my eyes in so many ways!
I love how all of you have demilitarised it – what a great word and approach, Sheela! And I love yours paired with the softness of the pink jeans. Inspired. Strange how a pattern used in one walk of life to hide and blend, in another is used to stand out.
Thanks to all the looks I’ve decided I need more camo in my life. I only have a pair of trainers – oh dear, not a very good start!
how sweet that there are so many ways to wear camo across a large age range! Love seeing the different generations wearing camo!
I love your points about demilitarizing camo. It really is the trick to wearing it well as you have here. I love pairing bold or feminine colors with it, but I need to try other prints as you have!
I have never think that such a masculine thing like camo could be so feminine. Kind of jing and jang. I’ll try it too.
Ummm, I’m sure it’s pretty obvious who’s look I gravitate in this styling of camo. I think I really must be a teenager at heart because I’m planning on wearing some version of what eve is wearing today. Her look, I mean lewk (if I’m going tot try to be a teen at heart I better speak the right language, right!?), is pure perfection. Here’s to a favorite which as a teacher I know is not all good, but with this one, I just can’t help it!!
Fun collab for sure!!
Love, Annie (or maybe I should say Cranny–my high school name!)
Sheela, I love the yellow and pink! I would’ve never thought of it. Eve does sport her I’m a Bad A** look fantastically and Nancy looks totally adorable 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us at #SimplifyWednesdays … Pinned, Tweeted and Shared