One such trend that throws many style-savvy ladies for a loop is the old army-navy surplus store favorite: camouflage. The armed forces have generated plenty of sartorial inspiration over the years--think: epaulettes, cargo pants, and army jackets--but lately the military's signature print has caught our eye. We noticed a resurgence of the trend after it invaded Thakoon Addition's Pre-Fall 12 collection and Patrik Ervell's F/W 12 show. However, one nagging question remained: how to breathe new life into a pattern that has literally been around since the 1800s? To answer that query, Who What Wear sent me into the trenches to put the trend to the test. Enter our new and very exciting monthly story, Trend Trial! Each month I'll tackle one trend, and give you, dear readers, my top styling tips for three ways to wear it.
Look 1: Weekend Runaround
After a long week at the office, it's hard for me to resist reaching for an easy jeans and t-shirt combo come Saturday. Thankfully, I have an easy solution for my fashion slacker tendencies: throw some pattern-mixing into my off-duty outfit. Instead of my typical black or dark blue denim, I reached for a pair of camo jeans, which I combined with a Southwestern-print scarf to add a little femininity, color, and playfulness to my outfit. (I think these two prints together feel fresher than my routine stripes-and-floral mix.) Since the weekends are all about lightweight, comfortable layers, I added a slouchy blazer and of-the-moment wedge sneakers; the shoes are ideal for running errands and they bring a touch of downtown cool to the outfit. The overall effect is visually interesting, yet markedly insouciant--everything a girl could want in a smart weekend ensemble.
What I Wore: Current/Elliott The Multi Zip Stiletto Jeans ($218); Junk Food Clothing Co. Def Leppard Off The Shoulder Flirt Tee ($38); Reiss Adele Double Collar Jacket ($370); Forget Me Not Shaman Scarf ($300, 212.826.8900); Steve Madden Olympiaa Sneakers ($110) in Blue Multi; TOMTOM Jewelry Fleur Studded Cuff ($265) in Oxidized Silver; Ann Taylor Leather Runway Crossbody Bag ($98) in Blue.
Look 2: Office Attire
The office was probably the last place I pictured myself rocking the surplus staple. I didn't want to show up for work looking like a M*A*S*H extra! But I had to eat my words when I was introduced to this game-changing Tommy Hilfiger skirt. From the modest length to the thick suede material and curved hem, it's a far cry from your average camo fare. I chose a chambray blouse to add instant polish, and snake-print heels (with a small platform for running around the office!) to introduce some playful pattern-mixing into my outfit. As for my bag, the key was to pick a structured purse over a slouchy version--the shape is more appropriate for professional settings--but the bright color still makes it fashion office-appropriate. I kept my jewelry pretty minimal, so the gold hardware accents on my neutral belt served as the final fashion-conscious touch for another busy day at Who What Wear headquarters.
What I Wore: Club Monaco Susan Shirt ($120) in French Blue; Tommy Hilfiger Collection Camouflage Suede Skirt ($498, 212.223.1884); MNG Mango Bonjour Belt ($55, 310.395.8370); Mulberry Small Bryn Bag ($950); Tory Burch Tamara High Heel Sandals ($375, 310.248.2612) in Natural/Black.
Look 3: Evening Ensemble
Call me clichéd, but I never tire of a good masculine/feminine mash-up. Camouflage print naturally skews male, so my favorite trick to balance the look is to add a few girly elements. The boxy cut and chunky hardware on this utility jacket radiates Rambo-inspired machismo, which makes for a delightful contrast when paired with an ethereal ladylike frock. A glittery bronze cross-body bag subtly references the beige hues of the print and is just big enough to hold my nighttime essentials. After adding a pair of dangerously gorgeous rhinestone earrings, I was ready for anything from an art gallery opening to a rooftop birthday party.
What I Wore: Zara Embroidered Dress with Frills ($49.99); Topshop Camo Army Jacket ($96); Aldo Hartzfeld Heels ($80) in Metallic Miscellaneous; Jimmy Choo Rebel Bag ($950, 1.800.JCHOO.US) in Bronze Glitter Leather; Shourouk E. Vegas Sequin and Crystal Earrings ($465).
SHOP THE TREND
Lucky for us, there is an abundance of directional camouflage pieces on the market. Try copping the military style with a pattern-mixing tee, a straight-leg pant, or a biker jacket.
Edith A. Miller Tee ($80, 212.673.6405); TEXTILE Elizabeth and James Ozzy Jeans ($228, 212.753.7300) in Olive Camo; Current/Elliott Biker Jacket ($354, 310.275.1930) in Army Camo.
P.S.: Do you have a trend you're not quite sure how to wear? Leave a message in the comments, and yours truly might try it out! --Kat Collings