(Charlotte Ronson FW 2012, Nickolas K FW 2012, Bryce Black FW 2012)

Military-inspired clothing and accessories have spent considerable time in mainstream fashion. It’s easy to spot someone walking into a coffee shop in jeans and a camouflage jacket, a tween boarding her school bus donning a pink backpack with a fatigue print, or a fashionista pairing camouflage leggings with a basic T-shirt and sky-high heels.

But then there’s camo’s understated relative, khaki. Much like that older cousin you meet for the first time at your family’s annual reunion (the cousin you never knew you had…and you’re pushing 30), khaki has lived in camo’s stylish shadow for quite some time. Khaki pants, for example, have long been stereotyped as conventional salesperson garb. And when I think of khakis, those pesky guerrilla marketers come to mind. You know whom I’m talking about…the ones who shove flyers in your face when you’re trying to board the train; and the ones who meet you at the very top of the escalator in the shopping mall. Oh, and then there’s Panama Jack. Who doesn’t recognize his monocled image from all those sunscreen products? Surely, he sports khakis during all his safari adventures!

Khaki apparel has come a long way, as in, there’s more to khaki pieces than just pants and shorts. And the even greater thing is that khaki items are conveniently neutral, so they’re easy to incorporate into your wardrobe. So, is khaki the new white? It definitely looks fab with other neutrals and bold hues, in addition to patterns like animal, ethnic, retro, and of course camouflage prints. And, unlike white, there’s no confusion in terms of post-Labor Day-Wear; it’s socially and fashionably acceptable no matter where you are, year-round. The khaki trend is sure to last for more than a season.

On the hunt for the perfect, khaki-accented ensemble? Below, Zoe, Stephanie, and Sara wear short-sleeved, Naval button-down blouses (Uncle Sam’s Army Navy Outfitters) and tasteful jewelry (MODA Vintage. On the far left, Zoe’s shirt is ever-so-slightly cinched at the waist with a woven black belt, and matched with a leopard print romper (Forever 21) and combat boots-a must-have this season. Stephanie (center) wears the same shirt with red, white, and blue zigzag shorts (Express) while Sara layers hers over a cheetah print dress (Forever 21). This blouse is so versatile, it’s just as chic with a classic pencil skirt or skinny jeans with riding boots, heels, ballerina flats…the possibilities are virtually endless. From the top left, Jeremy opts for an olive-hued flight coverall, Ben goes for basic black, and Eric has on olive cargo pants with a black T-shirt and green jacket. These color combos stand out while also blending in…perhaps that’s why the coyote in the background keeps its distance!

Here’s what the folks at Uncle Sam’s Army Navy Outfitters have to say: “If you’re thinking that dressing in military fashion means looking like a box, you’re wrong. Believe it or not, forces around the globe have added in all kinds of wonderful details that actually serve to enhance and take into consideration your feminine curves and features. Try a khaki utility shirt from none other than the United States Marine Corps (pictured) and you’ll get a shirt that includes such thoughtful details as a slightly rounded collar to vertical darts that closely follow the feminine shape. This eliminates a more boxy straight cut that is prevalent in some shirts and means that the shirt can be worn without the fear of looking like a telephone pole. Team this with a skirt from micro to a classic pencil and you have a look that is sassy yet still classic.

For both men and women, a pair of BDU (Battle Dress Uniform) pants does the trick quickly and easily. For a retro look, choose olive-colored pants with a nice straight and slim cut or go a little more fashion forward and choose a universally recognized camo. For a classic cargo, pick the Canadian Combat pant (pictured). The solid olive is combined with oversized pockets perfect for carrying all of life’s treasures. Whether taking a hike in the country or traversing the urban landscape, these pants have you covered in style with their light weight fabric and moisture wicking abilities!”

Whether you’re a red-blooded conservative or a peace-loving beatnik, one thing is remains constant: military fashion is here to stay.

Want these pieces? Uncle Sam’s Army Navy Outfitters (290 Larkin St, Larkinville District), MODA Vintage (1509 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY), and Adorned Immortal. Clothing compliments of national retailers, Express (Walden Galleria Mall, Cheektowaga, NY) and Forever 21 (Walden Galleria Mall Cheektowaga, NY).

Credits: Fashion & Beauty Editor : Crystal Wicker, Photography : Cheryl Gorski, Makeup : Dani Weiser, Hair : Andrew Brown Salon Rouge, Styled by : G Force & Sara Jean Lavocat Props: Army Navy Surplus