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Take command of your fashion sense

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By Janet Bennett Kelly
Thursday, March 7, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

The U.S. military recently lifted the ban on women in combat, but the fairer sex has long waged battles: protesting at polls, crusading for causes and battling in boardrooms. At the same time, the runway has always acknowledged military looks as a winning strategy. This year, designers Haider Ackermann, Tommy Hilfiger and Joseph Altuzarra said aye-aye to olive green, metallic buttons, camo patterns, double-breasted coats and khaki hues. We civilians may not need a pith helmet, but a little rugged clothing to gird one's loins for life's everyday challenges can't hurt.

• Wear Timex's Expedition Military Field Watch as you conjure up iconic aviation movies. Think of the tough-femme style of Kelly McGillis in “Top Gun” and Cate Blanchett in “The Aviator.” The numbers stand out on the dial, which you can read easily and anytime, thanks to the glow-in-the-dark face. Add on a rugged, vintage-looking suede band, and you've got a timepiece that works for a cockpit or a conference. It's also water-resistant to more than 160 feet. No need to test that out. $53 at, and online and in Walmart and Target stores.

• Expect nods of approval, if not salutes, when you wear this olive-green jacket that pays homage to military style, including shoulder epaulettes, a slim-fitting bodice, nipped-in waist and gold-toned buttons. Keep it casual and traditional with a navy skirt with flared hem, or raise the ante for evening by pairing it with silk pants and embellished heels. Sgt. Pepper Jacket, $295 at Tory Burch stores and

• Trend-setting French designer Isabel Marant led her faithful to dash for multi-hued high-top sneakers. Swap out your flats and alternate your boots with these camo-print high-tops from Topshop, a more affordable option than Marant's. With a concealed wedge of 3 inches, you can look taller and sporty and feel comfy. Wear with skinny jeans. No chance you'll blend in. Camo wedge high-tops, $90 at

• Put boots on the ground with lace-up, rubber-soled foot gear. Head out on a hunting-and-gathering mission to a flea market, lead your kid's Cub Scout trip through muddy fields or just embrace your inner urban hipster. In any case, you'll be prepared and well-heeled. Military ankle boot, $159 at

Janet Bennett Kelly is a writer for The Washington Post.

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