We interrupt your regularly scheduled zombie survival column to bring you this important note on post-apocalyptic fashion.

Leather pants, combat boots, shiny spandex, camo gear and excessive belts: these items populate our cultural expectation of what we’ll all be wearing after the end of the world as we know it.

But most people don’t have a bunch of wilderness and military attire stowed in their bug-out bags or buried in their caches. (Most people don’t even have bug-out bags or caches to begin with.) And even those who do, well, their supply will eventually wear out.

So what do you wear when last season’s Forever 21 trends can’t endure doomsday conditions?

There’s no need to be tattered or cold or ugly. Just pull on your survivalist panties and get creative. Here are some ideas to inspire your ingenuity:

Newspaper shirt

Dig through any trash bin leftover from society’s more functional days, and you’ll probably find a few newspapers and magazines. You can easily transform these into an outfit. (More easily than you can a Kindle, at least.)

Burlap sack shift

It may not be the most comfortable option, but burlap covers your unmentionables and protects you from wind and sun burns. You can find burlap sacks of the bedazzlable and potato varieties at craft stores and abandoned farms. Or just rip a decorative coffee bag off the wall at your local hipster hangout.

Barrel dress

As long as you’re illegally distilling moonshine, you might as well dress like it.

What you’ll need:

• Barrel, large enough to fit you

• Thick straps/suspenders

• Hammer and nails (to attach the straps)

• Gumption

Just because the world has ended doesn’t mean you can’t still coordinate your family’s wardrobe. If you have a small child or three, you can adapt five gallon buckets into matching outfits.

And, bonus, if you need a quick escape from menacing villains, just curl up inside your barrel, lean sideways and roll down a hill. The bad guys will never catch you.

Pallet poncho

If Pinterest has taught us anything, it’s the versatility of wooden pallets. Raid the nearest Costco or Home Depot and you’re sure to find a bunch of these, which you can reconstruct to make a poncho — a little roof for your body, really — to deflect the elements.

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Tin foil headgear

Nefarious government, sentient robots, invading aliens — who knows what is trying to read your mind. While this is certainly a wise idea even now, evil will be running (and mind-reading) rampant post-doomsday, making this a necessity for the preservation of thought privacy. So stock up on the tin foil, as it’s the only material known to possess anti-telepathy properties.

Computer monitor helmet

Those zombies still after your brains? Fire and brimstone raining from on high? Giant mosquitoes attacking your fine features? You need a helmet.

Hollow out an old desktop monitor, tear out the screen, and stick it on your head. You can add a plastic (with breathing holes) or mesh screen, or an old gas mask, to help shield you from air contaminates.

Futuristic and functional. What’s not to love?

If you don’t have an old computer around, though, you can substitute a pasta strainer, flower pot or sauce pan.

Tire shoes

We’ve been over this before.

Kitchen armor

The continental supply of bullet-proof vests and medieval armor will disappear quickly. What’s a heroic everyman to wear to defend himself from the fiery darts of his opposition? Green bean cans, obviously.

Just cut off the tops and bottoms of some tin cans and paint cans of various sizes, string them together with fishing wire, and wear them over your arms and legs. Add metal serving plates for breastplates, shields, etc., and voila! You have an improvised suit of armor.

Animal furs

Don’t worry, when the world ends, PETA will be  nothing more than an obsolete character of our defunct civilization. No one will throw blood at you, and you’ll be warm and cozy and camouflaged in the wild.

And you’ll be following in a long line of cavemen, trappers, mid-19th century European aristocrats and dalmatian-hating Disney villains.

Fig leaves

If you’re still wary of killing cute little innocent grizzlies for your winter wardrobe or fearful of angry protesters throwing red paint at your furry fashion, you can go really old school by making clothes from some fig leaves. Or olive branches. Or palms. Whatever symbolic plant part you prefer.


The apocalypse is every nudist’s dream. You were born with your own waterproof birthday suit, after all. Parade around like the emperor in his new clothes, and laugh when people point out that you’re naked. With all the anarchy going on, a little indecent exposure will really just help lighten the mood. Right?

Next week: Shoot.

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