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Camo is the New Black

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. Forget the little black dress, the little camo jacket is the new must-have wardrobe staple.
Camouflage fabrics originated in France and emerged among Americans during World War I. The military enlisted the talent of artists such as Grant Wood and Jacques Villon and drew inspiration from Cubist and Renaissance art in order to establish the iconic military print, according to a Time Magazine article. Soon after its conception, camouflage was adopted by the world of commercial and high fashion, making the transition from the battlefield to Barneys.
While Vogue magazine was one of the first fashion empires to pick up on the fashionable potential as early as 1943, Andy Warhol is largely credited with incorporating camo into ready-to-wear fashion in the 1960s, according to a Washington Post article.
Today, camouflage can be found in every corner of the fashion world. From high-end brands such as Parabal Gurung to more democratized brands like Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, camo has sprung through the sartorial market, cementing its place among serious fashion designers and rightfully earning its place in our closets among polka-dots and plaids.

A potential camo color combo. By Caitlyn Bahrenburg.
A potential camo color combo. By Caitlyn Bahrenburg.

While camouflage is a distinct pattern, it is much more versatile than one might imagine.  The key to the versatility of camo print is shade. Bright prints with contrasting colors, such as yellows, browns, and bright greens, create a harsh pattern and do not lend well to being paired with other patterns or colors. In addition, jackets embellished with patches or studs tend to be extremely busy and lean more towards masculine military style as opposed to feminine fashion. Thus, the busier and brighter the print the more limiting the item tends to be.
At the opposite end of the sartorial spectrum lies muted camo prints with complementary colors from the same shade. They are more appealing to the eye and pair well with a variety of patterns and colors, acting almost as a solid rather than a pattern.  When shopping for your camouflage jacket look for patterns created from varying shades of muted greens or browns, as they tend to be the most flattering.  Simple, fitted cuts and minimal embellishments are ideal for a versatile camo piece.  Simplicity is key.
“I usually pair [my camo jacket] with dresses and tights,” stated Monmouth University senior, Beebe Phillips. For her morning class, Phillips paired her fitted camo jacket with a mustard yellow sweater and fitted lace tank over black skinny jeans for a cute, casual look.
As versatile and basic as a little black dress can be is as versatile and basic that a great camouflage jacket can be! In an outfit where you would pair a denim or leather jacket, try substituting it with a camo print jacket. You will be surprised by how many outfit combinations it will actually work with.
Another, 'dressier' option. By Caitlyn Bahrenburg.
Another, ‘dressier’ option. By Caitlyn Bahrenburg.

For a more casual, laid back look, pair your camo jacket with a vintage band tee, straight leg jean or destroyed cut-offs, and layers of turquoise jewelry.  The contrast between camo print and turquoise created a truly eye-catching look that assures you will stand out in a crowd. Finish off your look with your favorite pair of worn in boots as a nod to the military inspired ensemble. Casual-cool with minimal effort.
For a more feminine look pair ultra-feminine pieces with your camo jacket. Pair your jacket with your favorite floral baby doll dress or a fitted lace mini. The masculinity and casual quality of the camo jacket instantly dresses down even your most fancy of frocks, rendering the look a tad bit more casual with just a hint of edge.
Next time you are stumped for an outfit liven up your look with this military inspired trend.  For shopping and style inspiration check out Anthropologie, American Eagle, and Gap.