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Hunting camo is popular with hunters and useful for football games, but it's not as chic in everyday society as some fashion writers claim. From left, Leah Durkin, Matthew Morse, Karsyn Morse and Patrick Durkin.
Hunting camo is popular with hunters and useful for football games, but it's not as chic in everyday society as some fashion writers claim. From left, Leah Durkin, Matthew Morse, Karsyn Morse and Patrick Durkin. / Patrick Durkin/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com

Fashion writers keep telling us that camouflage is “trending” and “going mainstream,” and then try proving the claims by name-dropping celebrities who “rock camo” in their daily wardrobe.

I usually sidestep these claims, painfully aware that my wife and three adult daughters never include me and “fashion sense” in the same thought. On the rare occasion I read fashion articles, I usually need three paragraphs to verify it’s English.

For example, here’s an excerpt from an article by Jian Deleon, on the “ComplexStyle” website, describing 10 personality types who wear camo:

“You copped the Supreme AF1s because you thought they would look amazing with your BAPE iPhone case and your Undefeated Tiger Stripe camo pants. Just to mix things up you wear all of it with a Jil Sander snake print T-shirt and the Black Scale hat A$AP Rocky made famous in the ‘Peso’ music video.”

Eh?

Then again, anyone named Jian Deleon probably isn’t a regular in American Hunter magazine or on Bowhunting .com.

Anyway, despite my fashion deficiencies, I’m confident in saying that actual hunting camo remains far from the fashion industry’s mainstream. Yes, every third person at Lambeau Field wears camo parkas and bib overalls, but that only proves my point.

Nearly 20 percent of Wisconsinites hunt, which means nearly every nonhunter in our state has at least one hunter in their home, office, apartment or classroom. Few places match our demographics.

Even at Lambeau, we find evidence that hunting camo isn’t chic. For example, as drizzle began falling for the Oct. 20 game against the Cleveland Browns, my family foursome donned camo rainwear from my hunting closet.

After the rain stopped and we prepared to re-enter society outside the stadium, my 25-year-old daughter Karsyn removed her hunting camo so fast you’d have thought it sported a Vikings helmet with yellow braids.

Meanwhile, Karsyn’s husband, Matthew, my daughter Leah and I didn’t shed our rainwear. As we approached our postgame tailgating party, a friend greeted us: “Oh look! The ‘Duck Dynasty’ cast is here.”

I concede “Duck Dynasty” is the most popular show ever aired on the Arts & Entertainment network, and that photos of its cast adorn everything from T-shirts to lunchboxes. But that’s not proof of mainstream fashion. It’s a punch line reinforcing the opposite.

And yes, I realize camouflage patterns set on pink backgrounds are popular with girls and women. But while females like pink camo on bows, arrows, gunstocks, caps, gloves, vests, headbands and underwear, they don’t wear pink-camo parkas and bib overalls in a deer stand or duck blind.

No, when you see celebrities, runway models, hip Parisians or cool New Yorkers “rocking” camo, it’s usually a redesigned military pattern from Vietnam or World War II. As Sofia Wacksman, vice president of trend for Kohl’s Department Stores in Menominee Falls told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently: “While re-colored and abstract iterations make it look new, classic camo can also feel modern when mixed with softer colors like ballet pinks and creamy neutrals.”

And truly fashionable camo isn’t worn head to toe. It’s usually a single item like pants, shorts, vests, ties, scarves, shoes, luggage or bucket hat. In other words, it’s accent, not ensemble.

In fact, remember Jian Deleon? Of his 10 types of people who wear camo, only one resembles a typical Wisconsin camo-wearer. Here’s how Jian described the waterfowl hunter in the accompanying photo:

“The Modern Day Elmer Fudd: The hardest part of your day is deciding which accessory to leave the house with: the Barnett Jackal Crossbow or the Mossberg Flex 500 shotgun.”

Elmer Fudd?

Hey. That’s hurtful. (Insert smiley face here.)

I take no offense, because here’s how Jian describes another category of camo wearers:

“The Clocked-In Peacock: You work a really boring job but spend the majority of it flipping through menswear blogs and sites, trying to figure out ways to stunt on the middle-aged people you work with. ... In the world of 9-5 style, you are a total rebel. You are like the hot girl in accounting who everyone in the office says dresses like Zooey Deschanel — because she is the only hipster most of them can think of.”

Hmm. I’ve never heard of Ms. Deschanel, and she’d probably be relieved knowing that.

No, camo-wearers like me mainly browse Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops’ sites, and we mostly sift customer reviews. We also know that hunting-camo manufacturers are content to cater exclusively to us, even if we fit only one of Jian’s 10 categories.

After all, camo that goes hunting never goes out of style.

More on hunting: Hunting headlines | Browse big buck photos | Watch Deer Camp Live | More hunting photos | Registration station map

Patrick Durkin is a freelance writer who covers outdoors for Press-Gazette Media. Email him at patrickdurkin@charter.net.

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