There is a widely-accepted belief camouflage never goes out of style—read any critique of a collection featuring camo and you’re sure to find some reference towards its timelessness. Ubiquitous in contemporary fashion, Camo has in fact been a core part of American society since the 1970s, when wars came home in the form of both veterans and nightly TV news. Relatively quickly, camouflage patterns became something worn as much stateside as in combat theatres—a pattern central the wardrobes of civilians, not just to the uniforms of soldiers. Most interesting is that camouflage is revered for both its symbolism and its aesthetic. No matter how frequently it is used in fashion, nor how different a pattern becomes, camouflage remains inherently tied to the military.
While there are infinite variations and color combinations—Maharishi founder Hardy Blechman even wrote a book documenting the various iterations—when it comes to civilian use, a majority of clothes use four distinct patterns. Whether it’s a jacket that your dad bought from an army surplus store in the ‘80s or a pair of pants you copped from the latest Supreme drop, they most likely fall into one of these groups. Below, we present a selection of four of the most common forms of camo.