Camouflage – 3 rules in navigating the menswear jungle

I love camouflage as a pattern for textiles. Call me a rube or a redneck if you will, but I think camouflage is fascinating, and I love the way that it looks when incorporated into everyday outfits. Now, obviously, there are limitations. No one in the wold needs camouflage crocs (or any kind of croc for that matter), and head-to-toe camouflage is going to make you look pretty sketchy in most instances.

But then again, wearing head-to-toe of most patterns makes you look a little insane.

As I come to accept myself and my personal style a lot more with age, I have allowed myself to accumulate a few pieces in camouflage. I started with accessories, and have now worked myself up to actual garments. I even have a few other pieces on my list of wardrobe acquisitions (yes, I have an acquisitions plan for my wardrobe – and clearly a lot of spare time now that I am single) that I have already decided I will buy for myself in the new year.

I think that it is OK to wear camouflage outside of the military, but as I mentioned, there are rules of thumb that should be applied to ensure that you don’t wind up looking like a crazy survivalist. I thought I’d share three of my personal rules with you today, so you can think about creating your own. Realistically, these are rules for patterns generally, but camouflage is a good example to lead with.

Less is more – don’t over do it. When I newly discover an interest in something I tend to get a bit obsessive and fan-boy out over it. I will play the one song over and over again until I cannot listen to it any more. I will live and breathe a new anime until my friends cannot stand to talk to me. And when it comes to clothes, I will wear the same style or fabric or garment hundreds of times, to a point where people are likely asking whether I actually own any other clothes. Moderation in all things gentlemen, including how often and how much you wear camouflage to the office.

Variety is key – There are literally hundreds of different kinds of camouflage, both official military textiles and fashion fabrics, so finding what wears well with your existing wardrobe is important. I personally try to ere on the side of caution and where what I would refer to as ‘real’ or at the very least ‘believable’ camouflage. That pink, white and grey stuff – not happening. Anything with an animal or naked woman shape worked into the design – pass. The good thing about the ‘real’ camouflage is that the base colours are in combinations that are generally already complimentary, and which should match or work with your existing wardrobe.

Find new ways to wear it – When I was in Kyoto I found a camouflage necktie in a classic khaki camouflage cotton, and I love it. It looks brilliant against a plain oxford shirt and a navy blazer and what’s more, people aren’t expecting to see it in an office environment. Another example comes from when I attended an event at the Canberra Centre earlier this year, where Huw Bennett was discussing menswear trends. During the discussion I noticed that he had camouflage socks on. I mean, that is brilliant, and so unexpected as well! There are a multitude of ways that you can wear camouflage, but it is the left-of-field ways that is going to grab peoples interest.