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Style Staples: Unleashing the Potential of Khakis

CEO Tinh Phung
For most guys, jeans are the ultimate go-to pants. They're comfortable, easy to wear, and can be paired with almost anything. But what if I told you that there's another pant option out there that...

Paul Newman standing in school uniform.

For most guys, jeans are the ultimate go-to pants. They're comfortable, easy to wear, and can be paired with almost anything. But what if I told you that there's another pant option out there that is even more versatile and comfortable than denim? Enter, khakis.

Unfortunately, khakis often get a bad rap among men. They may remind you of your old school uniform or the dreaded forced semi-dress code for church. Or perhaps you associate them with office managers and cubicle-dwelling Dilbert types. But it's time to change that perception.

The history of khakis dates back much further than the 90s workplace dress code. Originally designed as the uniform of the fighting man, khakis were meant to be cool, comfortable, and rugged pants that could withstand any adventure. And today, khakis still possess the potential to be both stylish and functional, as long as you choose the right style and wear them with confidence. Let's dive into the world of khakis and discover how to make them a style staple in your wardrobe.

The History of Khakis

Marines are marching with guns.

"Khakis" and "chinos" are both terms used to describe casual trousers made with 100% cotton twill fabric. Technically, "khaki" refers to the color (a light-brown drab), while "chinos" represent a style of pant. However, these terms are often used interchangeably.

The origin of khakis can be traced back to the British and American militaries. In 1848, Sir Henry Lumsden, a British military officer stationed in the North-West Frontier of the British Indian Empire, needed a more suitable uniform for his troops. He experimented with lightweight and durable twill cotton dyed brown to blend with the environment, and thus, khakis were born.

Across the Atlantic, American soldiers started wearing cotton twill trousers during the Spanish-American War. These trousers, known as chinos, were imported from China and adopted by the military for their superior comfort.

Over time, khakis became the official service dress for various military branches. After World War II, they transitioned into civilian wear, becoming a staple in men's fashion due to their timeless style and durability.

Why Khakis Are a Style Staple

Khakis offer several advantages over jeans. They are softer, lighter, and more comfortable, making them perfect for warmer months. Unlike jeans, khakis have a neutral color, set-in pockets, and a smoother fabric, allowing you to elevate your outfit's formality. You can wear khakis for casual activities, a day at the office, or even a date night. Plus, there's no denying their versatility!

Paul Newman sitting on the ground with khakis sweater.

Khakis are all-season wear, but they truly shine in spring and summer. They offer a sharp and put-together alternative to shorts while keeping you cool. Additionally, khakis are relatively affordable without compromising on quality. They are designed to be functional, comfortable, hard-wearing, and good-looking, making them an excellent investment for any wardrobe.

How to Wear Khakis With Style

Paul Newman sitting on the ground with khakis sweater.

When it comes to wearing khakis with style, consider the following tips:

Fit/Style

Opt for a modern style with a flat front and a straight leg or a slight taper. The pants should have a mid-rise fit that sits around your hips and offers a relaxed yet athletic look. Avoid high-waisted, pleated, or baggy khakis.

Pockets

A well-fitted pair of khakis should have four pockets—two in the front and two in the back. Avoid cargo pockets, as they add unnecessary bulk and detract from the streamlined look of khakis.

Wear

Khakis age beautifully, gaining character as they develop wear and tear. Embrace the natural wrinkles and avoid ironing a crease into them. For more professional settings, opt for a well-maintained pair without excessive fraying or wrinkling.

Color

While khakis are available in various colors, the traditional drab brown remains a classic choice. Darker brown hues are sharper and more versatile, suitable for both winter and summer. Navy is another timeless color that pairs well with a sport coat or button-down shirt.

Length/Cuffs/Rolling

Khakis should graze the tops of your shoes or drape 1-2 inches over them, creating a slight crease at the hem. Tailored cuffs can add a more formal touch, but avoid them if you're shorter as they may make your legs appear shorter. A cuffless style is the most versatile.

If your khakis are too long, rolling them up is a trendy option that showcases your socks or shoes while keeping your pants out of dirt and wet surfaces. For a tighter roll, fold the fabric at the seam and roll it up, aiming for a 1 to 1.5-inch cuff. However, self-cuffing works best with slimmer-fit khakis.

Dress them up, dress them down

Khakis can be worn for both formal and casual occasions. For a more formal look, choose a pair made with a fine, lightweight twill fabric and tailored styling. Pair them with soft-shouldered jackets and leather boots or loafers.

For a more casual outfit, opt for thicker, more rugged khakis in a utilitarian style. These pair well with sweaters, t-shirts, and denim or chambray button-downs. Complete the look with leather boots, canvas sneakers, or boat shoes for a summertime vibe.

Ultimately, a well-chosen pair of khakis can work for various scenarios, whether it's a casual outing or a more formal event.

Conclusion

Khakis are not just Casual Friday office pants; they are the epitome of versatility and style. From adventure pants to date night pants, khakis have you covered. Their strong, rugged, and comfortable nature, combined with their sharp and timeless appearance, make them a must-have in any man's wardrobe. So, why not give khakis a try? They might just become your new go-to pants!

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