It may not be number one on your list of casual staples, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be investing in at least one piece of khaki for your wardrobe.
The sandy tone looks great against a range of skin tones and oozes an effortless ‘relaxed’ style.
So let’s take a quick look at how a pair of khaki slacks or a sandy-toned shirt will enhance your smart-casual wardrobe without leaving you disappointed.
What is Khaki, anyway?!
Khaki is the Indian word for ‘dust’; it usually refers to any type of clothing with that iconic sandy-toned colour, constructed of coarse home-spun cotton. Khaki is versatile enough to be spun into whole range of garments; everything from shirts to socks can be made with this tone and fabric.
The garment most commonly associated with khaki is chinos; these were formally appropriated by the US Navy in the 1940s for off-duty officers to wear; thus, the reign of smart-casual khaki began.
What are the rules for khaki?
Firstly, you should limit the number of khaki items you’re wearing to one. If you start dressing from head to toe in this desert-toned pigment then you’ll look as if you’re on safari!
Secondly, avoid ironing in any creases into your khaki garments unless you want to look unnaturally formal and twenty years older than you actually are! Don’t fold up your cuffs and hem-lines either – if you want cooler clothing go short-sleeved instead.
What should I be looking for?
Khaki clothing, by nature of its origins and weave, invokes a slouchier fit than finer fabrics. Don’t be alarmed if you can’t easily find skinny-chinos and slim fit khaki shirts – there’s nothing wrong with a looser style: it’s just one of the advantages of the crumpled cotton.
Larger men should take particular care not to get too carried away with khaki; you may find that the lighter shade gives you a ‘bloated’ look. If you find this to be the case, grab a slightly darker dye for your cargo pants instead.
Finally, remember that due to its tone, khaki readily matches up with a brown ‘belt and shoes’ combo; just ensure that you’re getting an even contrast in tone – otherwise you’ll be a walking billboard of bland!