Breaking Green!

Pick any piece of menswear and there’s a solid chance it’s done a tour in the armed forces. The T-shirt: issued to sailors as underwear in the late 19th century. Bomber jackets: designed, as the name suggests, keeping pilots warm in high altitude cockpits.

Suchitra Mohanta

Khaki, in particular, is basically neutral, which means you can pair it with just about anything. It goes well with black, so dress it down with black denim. White and brown make equally happy bunkmates if you feel like toeing the parade ground line, while flanking it with blue makes for a decidedly modern pairing. Of course, despite the appeal of green’s in-the-ranks heritage, there are also several ways to make the shade less uniform. Here’s how to wear green colour without looking like a soldier:

*Slim Out:
Menswear may be moving in a roomier direction, but leave baggy greens in the barracks. While there is still a strong army fatigue trend, it has also been seen as part of a slimmer silhouette.

*Camouflage It:
It’s strange to think there was a life before camouflage. Once described as a fleeting trend, now a menswear mainstay, the military motif is the most standout way to go green. Whether you’re wearing camo on T-shirts, trousers, jackets or coats, keep the rest of your look pared-back and simple to allow the pattern to stand front and centre.

*Uniform Look:
Monochrome is always a solid choice for a tonal look, so allow green to step in. Khaki is surprisingly easy to wear, and looks great head-to-toe, providing you mix different shades. When colours can’t clash, experimenting with print and shape is suddenly simpler to pull off.

Even the most edited-down outerwear rotation is likely to contain a few coats and jackets that started out on the frontline. Fortunately, the breadth of styles available means it’s possible to sidestep the drill-sergeant vibes. Bombers, trench coats and field jackets in smooth, shiny fabrics are decidedly more modern than tactile pea coats in wool and perfectly offset everything from white chinos to black jeans.

*Suit Separates:
If you’re not quite ready to enlist a full green look, consider flanking your existing tailoring rotation with suit separates. Olive green is a great alternative to the ubiquitous navy and grey tones. Because the shade is lesser-spotted, and a touch less formal, you can afford to break some other rules, too.

*Legs Get To It:
Cargo trousers are the Lazarus-like resurrection that no one saw coming, and their popularity has gone on to spur green shades of everything from chinos to denim. This is likely because the dark fabric allows whites to pop, making them your minimalist sneaker’s new best friend. Trousers are an easy way to invest in green without going overboard. Try switching in chinos wherever you’d normally pick denim. They smarten up well, too. The neutral tone will match easily with any shoe, from a white sneaker to a black penny loafer.


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