Hunting and Gathering

Taking Flak

Banana Republic utility jacket j

On a mission to check out spring’s military trend — which I really loved on the Balmain/Vuitton runway– I fought my way crosstown Tuesday through the urban foxholes and tunnels (aka the subway) and then snow-shoed to my best local shopping haunts during the blizzard on Wednesday. And, curiously, so far, there’s not a lot of this totally wearable and cool trend in the stores.

So, I resolved, inveterate overbearing fashion dominatrix that I am, to WILL it to be found, and with a little work, I turned up enough olive drab and surplus khaki to make a drill sergeant ecstatic – and still keep his wallet fairly buttoned up. I’m sure more military will march into stores as the season progresses, but here’s some of the best right now:

Forever 21's brass button jacket

First up, is your local army/navy store. I scoped out two near me.Dave’s on Sixth Ave and 18th Street in NY had a super plain army green 4 pocket band collar jacket with a zip-out lining for $80. Great with a grey flannel skirt or trousers for work, or a gold sequined skirt for more eclectic day dressing-for those of you who can be less conservative on the job. Galaxy, on 30th Street and Sixth Ave, had an unlined, worn-in, soft cotton 4 pocket flak jacket that I really liked for an unbelievable $69.oo. Again, it’s nice to mix this up with an unexpected texture, like satin or brocade in a blouse or skirt, for a “hi-lo” combination of ideas and fabrics.

Banana Republic boyfriend military jacket

JCrew’s take on the military has a decidedly feminine bent. They’ve put an abstract black blossom print on a great khaki field jacket (and used the fabric for a skirt and shorts too — do not wear these with the jacket, though). The effect is intriguingly camo-like and cool. I likes this unusual jacket and at 119.00, it’s fun to try a piece that takes liberties with the straight idea. Summer JCrew will have a terrific real military jacket, that I’ve already seen and coveted.

Zara’s got a great bunch of military-inspired designs right now, starting with a fun olive, whiskey brown and tan camo print placket-front tunic ($59.90), good pleated peg-leg military rayon gabardine pants ($59.90), a very chic dark peanut tan band

American Eagle's military jacket

collar flak jacket made of what looks like ripstop nylon ($79.00) and, the best of all, a killer trench coat with a military-style button up band collar in that same peanut color. Got to love how quickly they turn a trend around –and with some details that look more expensive than they are.

Banana Republic has 3 smart military jackets— one, the stone color”Boyfriend Military Jacket” for $98.00, the “Utility” jacket at $79.90 and the “Heritage Military Jacket” in a cement color for $150.00. All can go from dressed up –for work, or even low key evening dressing (with a silver or gold beaded tank) to casual with jeans and a great skinny tee

Banana Republic's heritage military jacket .

American Eagle ‘s soft cotton olive drab”moto” jacket looks more military than moto,but for $59.50, the AE folks can call it whatever they want — it’s really great. Men’s AE also has the perfect military shirt ($39.50) that I’m going to grab and you should too. Two pocketed and a terrific stone beige, its trim shape is a perfect substitute for a more strict jacket over skirts with a good sturdy leather belt, tucked into jeans or open over a tank with shorts. Simple, but so cool…

Forever 21's officer jacket

Forever 21’s military muscle shows up in three great jackets — a plain but well-shaped 2 pocket aviator cropped khaki bomber for $22.80 (no, that’s not a

misprint), an olive “ten-hut” brass-buttoned military jacket at $24.80 and a cream denim naval officer’s jacket with 2 rows of button for $32.80. They all lend their soldier strength to whatever basics you pair them with.

Keep a lookout here for more military finds- this is a trend that’s got lots of legs to keep marching forward.

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