Camo has been a staple print in the fashion world for a few decades now. You’ve probably seen it most often in pants, jackets, boots, and the occasional tank top. But if you’re a fan of camo print, you can sneak a bit of it into any style, and here’s how: camouflage socks.
Now you might be thinking: “I’ve never owned camo socks –– how would I style them?” Well, lucky you, because we’re here to break down a couple of outfit styles that are tailor-made for a pair of camo socks.
Before we dive into those, however, let’s explore a bit about the history of camo and how it rose to prominence in our clothing culture.
Camouflage in Fashion: What Are Its Origins?
Camo In Nature
Early humans likely used some forms of camouflage to hunt, like draping themselves in bison skins. But different forms of camouflage, or cryptic coloration, can be found in the animal kingdom, inherent to many species.
Zebra stripes, for example, are actually a type of camouflage. This might seem surprising, given how conspicuous they are, but the vector pattern confuses and repels flies, making them less likely to land on zebras.
Other animals have patterned or colored fur, feathers, or scales that match their surroundings to avoid predators or to spy on their prey. Squirrels, for example, are shades of brown to blend into woodland backgrounds.
It’s no surprise that camo has its origin in military garb, seeing as members of the military still wear camouflage uniforms to this day. In the twentieth century, camouflage was intended as a method for soldiers to avoid detection, particularly in forested or grassy areas. It was developed around World War I, originally just on combat vehicles and bases.
During World War II, camo print was carried over to uniforms. It was not widely used until the 1950s. Even the word “camouflage” has its nature in visual deception –– it stems from the French phrase “puffing smoke,” which makes sense considering camouflage was a French invention.
Like many fashion trends that are still sported by young people today, camouflage entered the fashion world through the counterculture of the 1960s. Wearing military surplus clothing as streetwear was a way to show opposition to the Vietnam War. It wasn’t, however, until the 1980s and 90s that the trend really took off.
Soon it was adopted into the fashion world by designers such as Anna Sui, Rei Kawakubo, and John Galliano. Today, camo print is making a comeback; you can see it in pants, jackets, accessories, and shoes. Whether it’s 90s nostalgia or not, we’re here for it.
Types of Camouflage Prints
You may have one idea in mind of what camouflage print looks like, but there are actually slight variations in the style.
Here, for example, are a few.
- Puzzle Camouflage: One of the most common types, this camouflage pattern looks a bit like if somebody layered a bunch of jigsaw pieces on top of each other.
- Brushstroke Camouflage: Some of the earliest camouflage looked like hastily painted brushstrokes.
- Digital Camouflage: This digital style takes camo and makes it into a heavily pixelated design.
- Dazzle Camouflage: Similar to cubist art, dazzle camouflage is meant to baffle, confuse, and hypnotize. Zebra stripes inspired artist Norman Wilkinson in 1917 to create dazzle camouflage; his intention was to disguise warships. Dazzle camo patterns incorporate geographic designs and stripes and are often in black and white.
- Colorful Camouflage: As we know, camo is not always meant to disguise; often, it’s the highlight of an outfit. Camo prints in pastels, neon, and bright colors add a colorful pop to an outfit.
- Chocolate Chip Camouflage: This camo print involves sprinkles of brown and originates in a type of desert camouflage.
- Woodland Camouflage: One of the most popular types, this green-based camo blends into lush, forested environments.
- Tigerstripe Camouflage: Also known as lizard camouflage, this print involves broken-up strikes, like a tiger’s fur.
- Splinter Camouflage: A Swiss invention, splinter camouflage is rarely spotted; it’s unusually geometric and features tiny vertical stripes.
Outfit Styles To Wear With Camo Socks
This signature Y2K and late 90s style can be drawn back to a lot of pop-punk and hip-hop musicians. From the 90s onward, the popular musical shift to hip hop put stars like TLC, Tupac, Soulja Boy, and Eazy E in the spotlight; these artists were all about the baggy fit look. Breakdancing and skateboarding rose in popularity, along with oversized pants.
Quickly, baggy pants also became associated with camo. If you’ve ever seen a picture of Avril Lavigne in her S8ter Boy era, you know what we’re talking about.
Now, in 2022, it’s time to bring the association back; whether you’re rocking oversized denim or baggy cargo shorts, pair them with camo socks for that laid-back, skater style.
Loose Joggers and Sweatshirt
Similar to baggy pants, there’s something about baggy and casual styles that just work with camo. And what’s more baggy and casual than a pair of sweatpants and a hoodie?
A great way to make this work is to cuff your joggers; roll them up just past the ankles so that you can show off your socks. Make sure the jogger and hoodie combo is a matching, solid color to keep the look from being overpowering.
All Camo Outfit
If your motto is “the bolder, the better,” then this is the way to go. From Rihanna to Bella Hadid, we see celebs rock full camo looks all the time. The key, of course, is to make sure you're wearing pieces that all feature the same type of camo print. As we went over earlier, there are lots to choose from.
Leggings and Crop Top
Camo socks paired with a pair of leggings and a crop top make for a stunning athleisure combo. You can easily hike the socks up over the leggings for a warm yet stylish element; the crop top adds a bit of a relaxed feel to the otherwise form-fitting ensemble.
Alternatively, you can also swap out the leggings for bike shorts. Blend into the forest floor with a retro-inspired hiking look.
Pair one military-inspired garment with another by matching your camo socks with a pair of chunky black or brown combat boots. When paired with an all-black or brown ensemble, having your camo socks pop out of the top of your boots adds a bit of interest to the outfit. Make it extra edgy by including a leather jacket, short shorts, or a racy skater dress.
While combat boots with thick platforms are a trendy go-to, any kind of darkly colored boot can work. You can even go avant-garde in a pair of see-through galoshes.
Why Hide When You Can Shine?
These are just a few ideas on how to make the most out of your camo socks. From here, feel free to use these as a jumping-off point to experiment with your own style and super fun prints. There are tons of outfit combos for you to try out –– from all camo to just a hint of it, see what suits you and your personal taste best!