Style by Claire Lopez

Get militant this spring

When I did a year’s worth of Army Cadets at secondary school, aged 14, I definitely did not see the upside to what I was wearing. In fact, I hated it, mainly because we had to spend the requisite hours polishing boots and creating shiny toe caps with a bit of masking tape, starching our collars and generally making ourselves look ship shape, only to spend the next two hours freezing while we marched round the parade ground. A real low was the long weekend exercise we had to do in the Brecon Beacons in May. I think it snowed that year and not being the most adept at erecting a tent, it didn’t exactly sit snuggly to the ground, thus creating the perfect wind tunnel for the Welsh air to rush through. Hideous nights’ sleep with a snoring friend who was full of cold and unbearable days pretending we had all sorts of injuries and conditions to avoid running any further with our giant back packs/guns etc. Serves me right for choosing to do something just because that’s what all the boys were doing.

Now, however, I love a bit of military styling and this season the stores are full of it. So if all that colour is not for you and you would rather stick within the comfort zone of chic neutrals, then look no further because khaki is officially the new neutral on the block for spring. The thing about khaki is that it isn’t always the easiest of colours to wear so you have to find the right shade for you – generally speaking go for a more yellowy khaki if you have warm undertones to your skin and a more blue khaki if you are cooler in colouring.

Given that the sun is shining, it is time to start thinking about life beyond your winter coat and one of the best ways to update your outerwear this season is with a military style jacket. Hush has this Military Jacket £65.

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They also have this overshirt which could double up as a lightweight jacket for when it really is warmer and now you could wear underneath your coat: Sadie Overshirt £59. Two for the price of one really.

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Boden also has its Melanie Jacket £79.50. It also comes in pink, but that is totally missing the point.

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Or go for a lightweight parka in khaki like this Pocket Jacket from Mango £59.99. I have a similar one from last season which was perfect for that in-between seasons time.

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Now this may be a bit too Air Force One, but a khaki jumpsuit would kill two proverbial birds with one garment. Hush is on it with this Olive Jumpsuit £75. Jumpsuits are still very much on the fashion radar and they work so well for lots of reasons: dress down with a trainer, flat sandal or skater shoe or add a heel for a sexy and contemporary look. Versatile utility. I like this style because it has sleeves to cover the old bingo wings and a v neck to slim down. Plus if you are a bit straight through the middle, the drawstring waist and blousoning effect give some shape.

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Boden also has a sleeveless version: Rebecca Jumpsuit £79.60.

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Comfy and casual, harem trousers are where its at, and not just for eating Doritos on the sofa. You can definitely wear these out and about and not just in the daytime. Pop on a cami (blazer for now) and grab a clutch and heel and you will look Ibiza ready (actually I have never been to Ibiza and nor am I likely to, but this is what I imagine I would wear). Hush has these Long Harem Trousers in Olive £49.50. Love the styling for daytime and now you can add a cosy cashmere fitted sweater for extra warmth or just a denim jacket when summer is really here.

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New Look also has a pair of Khaki Cuffed Joggers £14.99. They are much nicer in the flesh than this photo would suggest and I would not advise you to replicate the Babygro vest type look by tucking your entire top into the joggers. A half tuck is what you need – as above.

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Topshop’s Piped Cuffless Jogger £30 is another good option. Great with the white trainer and a sweater although I don’t love this one.

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Boden’s Cropped Jean in khaki £39.60 is another great buy if you are resolutely stuck in your skinnies. Plus there is 20% off all trousers and jeans at Boden at the moment.

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H&M has a pair of Cargo Pants £24.99. Not cool worn like this but a t-shirt or different sweater and metallic trainers would cure all that. Just need the slim legs to pull these off as pockets on thighs will add bulk.

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A khaki sweatshirt is another option – not worn at the same time as the khaki joggers though – Hush has a Dolman Sloppy Joe in Olive £40. Never normally say this but Hush I do not like this styling. She just looks slobby and apart from the fact she is ridiculously beautiful, this is not my favourite look at all. But with a pair of girlfriend jeans yes.

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If your wardrobe is predominantly corporate then you can still add some khaki for a spring refresh. Warehouse has this lovely Drop Sleeve Pocket Dress £49 – proof that military can be feminine. A bright coral or orange necklace would look amazing with this.

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Alternatively, Whistles has this Thelma Silk Shirt £155 that would work very well with black cigarette trousers or tucked in to a midi skirt.

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Yes this is more casual but it would still be something you could dress up for work or down for play with denim: Zara Military Style Shirt £29.99.

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They also have this rather lovely and simple Oversize Shirt £29.99. Perfect for a black trouser.

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So this season I will be channelling my inner sergeant major, now all I need is for my children to fall in line. Fat chance.

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