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Camel is the new black. Or is it? While there are no animal puns in this article (you’ll be relieved to know), this on-trend colour has a long history in fashion. Its prominence on the AW13 runways is just the most recent addition to its timeline as for years it has resurfaced in many designers’ collections – and for good reason. For us, the hue is indicative of style and luxury and is most certainly timeless.

Dividing Opinion

Initially used from the underbelly of the animal in the 19th century, camel has had a long history in the fashion world. However, the first attestation of camel as a colour name in English was not until 1916 – somewhere between tan and chestnut (on an open fire!) – but since, has long been associated with the summer season (Collier’s Magazine 1951).

camel 001

On the other hand, designers have in the not-so-distant past decided that the classic hue should be introduced into the remaining seasons and, like most things we see in fashion, is now one of the must-have colours of most AW seasons. As a result, we cannot go into a boutique or department store without seeing a camel overcoat or immediately think of Burberry and its iconic check.

camel 002

Camel Colour Combinations

There is also a strong debate as to what you can wear with camel. While, like anything, it can depend on what shades and textures you pair with camel, our advice is to go for the below options; wearing camel with similar tones i.e. coffees and chocolates have the potential to work, but you must be careful not to take too big a step back into the 1970s.

Also, we would advise against anchoring camel with some other of its “spectrum siblings”; pairing it with grains of mustard or sepia hues will leave most people looking washed out. So here’s what we think works, whether it’s on top or bottom:

Black and Blue

The safest and most classic pairing. While darker tones like navy make camel stand out more, you can couple the on-trend colour with other popular colours such as cobalt or royal-blue to transform a classic look into something more current for 2013.

doeskin wool blazergold cotton shirtcontrast waistband trousers

Grey

This is definitely a shade people can wear with camel. They are simple enough colours to wear together without detracting away from each other. What is more, this Burberry Prorsum overcoat is perfect for 2013 with a contrasting leather collar.

cashmere blend overcoatcable crew jumperdonegal smart trousers

Burgundy

Finally, certain reds work well with camel. As it is almost Christmas, my favourite colour and a popular AW13 colour, burgundy is another great colour to wear with camel. We would advise you, however, to stay away from pairing camel with lighter/pastel colours.

crew neck sweaterpoplin white shirtformal skinny trousers

While camel is associated with formal attire such as overcoats and blazers, you may want to adopt the look into your casual wardrobe. Again, this is up for debate, but you can subtly add camel to your AW13 wardrobe through footwear, accessories and minor camel detailing on clothing.

Product Picks

Now that you have an idea about how to wear camel, here are just some of our favourite items out there now:

judson in camelextrafine jumperlightweight jumper

skinny suit jacketwool blend blazerplaint suit waistcoat

bayview field jackettwo tone giletbellfield tan jacket

nigel hall menswearkanye coat lapelsingle breasted raincoat

camel suit trouserscomform twill chinosclassic cotton chino

Camel Conclusions

Maybe it’s the time of year with the invasion of pantomimes and nativities into our lives. Perhaps it’s the recent resurgence of ‘90s fashion. Or, the very fact that I have always been obsessed with Bryan Bedford’s overcoat in Miracle on 34th Street (even the family in the background are working camel), but this colour really is here to stay.

Now while most of you may not be ready to work head-to-toe camel, there is certainly a number of ways you can incorporate the colour into your wardrobe. Whether you like the traditional Burberry outerwear look, or want to go down the more casual route with a jumper or a pair of trousers, there is always something for everybody when it comes to this timeless colour. If you’re new to this colour, take it easy and think about our tips – there’s no need to get the hump (sorry!)