You may not have noticed it -- and, after all, that's the whole point -- but keep your eyes peeled and you'll swear you're in boot camp.
Camouflage has long been a popular pattern with guys, swiped from the military for its street cred. But in the past year it's exploded, seen on pants, jackets, bags -- and in rather atypical shades. Hot pink camo? Where can you hide in that -- a Bratz convention?
Meanwhile, back at the Pentagon, actual military-use camo has been under intense scrutiny. The U.S. Army is expected to announce soon new camo prints for soldier's uniforms to replace a pixilated version the Army adopted (at a cost of $5 billion) in 2004. The so-called Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) was intended to protect soldiers in woodland, desert and urban terrains -- sort of the military equivalent of a smart Armani suit that goes from day to night.
It didn't. Studies show that UCP ... well shows, instead of blends. So it's back to the drawing board.
Perhaps the military brass will be inspired by the camo prints gathered here. Granted, the Jean Paul Gaultier dress may be a bit much in combat, but when it comes to the war on tartar, that camo toothbrush has real stealth potential.
Geometric camo decorates Trukfit cotton sweatshirt and sweatpants, in electric blue or orange; $88 each at select Macy's stores and macys.com.
Marc New York bomber jacket is filled with down and waterfowl feathers; $330 at select Bloomingdale's stores and bloomingdales.com.
Orley's camo gloves for guys in buttery Italian lambskin with silk knit teal print; $295 at Carson Street Clothiers, Manhattan; in taupe at Bergdorf Goodman, Manhattan; both at orley.us.
Actress Jamie Chung was spotted recently in Manhattan wearing True Religion's super-skinny camo pant; $178 at select True Religion stores and truereligionbrandjeans.com.
True Religion offers a variety of camo-print jeans, trucker jackets and puffer coats for women and men. Here, the Geno pants for guys; $198 at select True Religion stores.
Violife's Slim Sonic Toothbrush offers 22,000 brush strokes per minute, and eye-popping cases (including camo); $14.95 at violight.com.
Valentino's reversible tote; $1,545 at select Saks Fifth Avenue stores and saks.com.
The waxed canvas sneaker from Vans; $55 at select Vans stores and vans.com/classics.
The camouflage effect on Jean Paul Gaultier's long tulle gown took 312 hours to create and was worn by Sarah Jessica Parker to the 2000 MTV Awards. It's currently part of the Gaultier exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.
A merino wool blend camo crew in royal or dark charcoal; $89.50 at Banana Republic stores and bananarepublic.com.
Joe Fresh boy's pants, in sizes 4 to 14; $16 at select JCPenney stores and jcp.com.
Betseyville women's watch, in pink or green; $40 at select JCPenney stores and jcp.com.
Look carefully and you'll spot camo-print coin purses, travel kits, iPad and iPhone cases and more; $30 to $85 at Fossil stores and fossil.com.
Perry Ellis cotton jacquard blue camo V-neck sweater; $89.50 at select Lord & Taylor and Macy's stores and perryellis.com.
Top things off with Plush Apparel's slouchy, fleece-lined acrylic beanie (designed for women, but anybody can wear it); $55 at Basic Basic, Manhattan, and plush-apparel.com.
Jimmy Choo's loafer for men; $750 at select Saks Fifth Avenue stores and saks.com.
Mossimo's limited edition compact umbrella; $19.99 exclusively at target.com.
Threads 4 Thought men's sweatshirts in gray (pictured) or black camo prints; $58 at select Bloomingdale's stores and threadsforthought.com.
Splendid tee in soft Supima cotton blend; $88 at select Bloomingdale's stores and bloomingdales.com.
HE WORE IT FOR REAL
Former Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Clay is a loooong way from Afghanistan. For 12 years, he served in the U.S. Army -- in Bosnia, Kosovo, then the central Afghan mountains -- till an RPG blast (an explosion from a rocket-propelled grenade) struck "about an arm's length away," he recalls. Then came two more.
He was left with a broken back and traumatic brain injury. After months of rehab, he recovered, retired from the Army with a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars, and became one of a rising number of vets looking for work. It wasn't easy.
"In the civilian world, nobody understood my capabilities," says Clay.
Then he found Macy's Military Executive Development Program.
Clay, who is married and a father of three in Wheatley Heights, is one of 12 select officers or senior enlisted personnel chosen from more than 100 applicants for MEDP, a nationwide 1-year program for those with little to no retail experience. Clay has been based at the Roosevelt Field store, rotating through departments, learning merchandising and more. He'll likely become an assistant store manager.
"I've learned more here than I ever learned in college," he says. Adapting to civilian life is challenging, he admits, "but soldiers are used to adapting."
The military, he continues, "teaches you to make quick decisions based on facts at hand. Having to do that -- when people's lives depend on it -- makes you a better employee in the civilian world than many realize."