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Can someone please explain khakis?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by linux_pro, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. linux_pro

    linux_pro Senior member

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    I really hate khakis, with a passion, but I'm curious as to why they are so popular. I think they look super tacky and cheap, regardless of brand, and make the wearer look like an accountant who lives in Smallville and drives a Dodge Caravan to work. Anyway, I was just curious if the board might know why they're so popular, how they became so popular, or any other trivial info on khakis. Am I missing something?
     
  2. marc37

    marc37 Senior member

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    What are khakis????? Can someone post a picture.

    (l have read about these bloody khakis, but l can't even begin to imagine what they look like)
     
  3. Alias

    Alias Senior member

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    Because they're lower-maintenance than suit trousers, maybe? Khakis are made of cotton and can be thrown in the wash. They're inexpensive and easy to find. They're also quite cool in warmer seasons. You can probably find some pictures of khakis on polo.com. Edit: Found one from Google [​IMG]
     
  4. linux_pro

    linux_pro Senior member

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    I am wondering when and how they became so popular. I can understand the maintenance stuff. Going to the drycleaner is a pain in the arse. My girlfriend generally hand-washes my wool trousers and hang-dries them. So far I haven't had any problems. Heh heh.
     
  5. Alias

    Alias Senior member

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    I think Manton would be the one to ask. He knows more about the history of this stuff.

    But I do believe that khakis have been around for quite some time, despite their recent popularity with business casual people. There was some apocryphal story linking the creation of khakis to some British army guy in India, and the British haven't been in India for a long time.
     
  6. marc37

    marc37 Senior member

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    Thanks Alias. l've always wondered what they were. They don't look so bad. They would go well with a navy blazer, light blue shirt and good brown shoes. Khakis are not very common in Australia. l have a pair though.
     
  7. marc37

    marc37 Senior member

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    Look at these pants by polo.com. Hideous. Only a full time dandy could pull those off. [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  8. Alias

    Alias Senior member

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    Or maybe a full-time clown.

    PS. Lunar New Year's means having 3 days off of work and nothing better to do but to post on an Internet forum
     
  9. Stu

    Stu Senior member

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    They are very versatile and are good in a hot climate. Sort of function triumphs over form, if you will. I agree they can be hideous, especially those triple-pleated circus tents that a lot of guys wear. But a pair in flat front from Bill's Khakis can be sharp paired with a royal blue shirt.
     
  10. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    true story - the concept was developed by a field officer in the british army who was sick of his men nat being able to keep their parade clothes neat. they died white cottons with tea.
     
  11. NewYorkBuck

    NewYorkBuck Senior member

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    They became popular when the GIs came back from WWII. Never fell out of style since.
     
  12. chorse123

    chorse123 Senior member

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    They're also -- I would imagine -- inexpensive to produce and sell at a rather healthy margin. It makes sense for a retailer to push them.
     
  13. STYLESTUDENT

    STYLESTUDENT Senior member

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    I bought these because they seemed well-made, but they wrinkled when I just looked at them, so I exchanged them for wool cavalry twills from Bill's (impervious to wear and can be worn to the office). Can't see why anyone would iron pants (or anything else)-rather use jeans on weekends.
     
  14. Drinkwaters

    Drinkwaters Senior member

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    I'm not that sure of the origins of Khakis but I do know that they were a US issue trouser for our military. I'm a bit older than most forum members and when I was in my teens the only place you could get a pair of khakis was the ones your dad or grandfather had or you went to the army navy store a bought a pair of "real" issue trousers there.
    As army/ navy stores became an obsolete so did authentic issue khakis.
    Todays marketplace is so saturated with inferior products and that includes the world of khakis. The Gap, Banana Republic, Abercrombie, Dickies etc. in my opinion are all "Crap". Not worth a dime and have no staying power.
    I'm a big believer in Bills Khakis, Bill Thomas has delivered a product that out shines all of them, true their a bit more expensive but you have my word, worth it. Their selection is broad and can be purchased on-line for those of you who are reluctant to" establish a good relationship" with a store of your liking. When we sell a pair I always recommend either washing and drying them a few times to get all the shrink out or add an inch to the alteration.
    And to those who wish to query me on "establishing relationships" you can pm me and I will explain "Added Value". Sorry to sound so cynical, but us retailers really want your business.
     
  15. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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    If you can buy a pair of flat front, non-iron khakis from Banana Republic on sale for about $25, why bother with anything else? If I mangle them, spill crap on them, or whatever, who cares?

    My theory -- jeans aren't acceptable for work. Khakis are the closest convenient acceptable alternative. Cheap, no need for expensive dry cleaning. Thefore, khakis are popular.
     
  16. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Yes, this in large measure accounts for their popularity as I understand it. They were standard issue for men in the Pacific theater, and those stationed on the West Coast. Also, wool was strictly rationed during the war, so more men's clothes were made from cotton, which was much more readily available.
     
  17. Bradford

    Bradford Senior member

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    Why must you be so judgmental in the way you phrase your questions? Couldn't you just say, "I am not a fan of khaki's, but I am interested to know why they are so popular with many other men?" Why must you make aspersions about accountants, small towns and minivans? Is that really how you judge people, because if so, I feel sorry for you.

    As to why khaki's are so popular, the history cited so far here is very accurate. Additionally, I think you need to look at the marketing machine of Levi Strauss who introduced Dockers in the mid 80's (I believe) as a way to expand beyond jeans and did a tremendous job of influencing our culture into accepting casual Friday's and casual workplace attire.

    Certainly khaki's and a golf shirt have become ubiquitous Friday attire in many offices, however that is no reason to look down upon those people.

    Bradford
     
  18. JohnMS

    JohnMS Senior member

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    I really hate khakis, with a passion, but I'm curious as to why they are so popular.  I think they look super tacky and cheap, regardless of brand, and make the wearer look like an accountant who lives in Smallville and drives a Dodge Caravan to work.  Anyway, I was just curious if the board might know why they're so popular, how they became so popular, or any other trivial info on khakis.  Am I missing something?

    -------------------------------------

    I am an accountant that lives in a town of 15,000 people and drives actually a Honda Odessey.  You must know me.  I don't own a pocket protector though.

    In reality, khakis (more appropriately twill/poplin trousers as khaki is a color) are very easy to maintain and work with a lot of different outfits.  I quite like them but have limited my use of them only because casual Fridays in the office almost everyone is wearing a pair.
     
  19. aarghh

    aarghh Senior member

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    Another little bit of useless information - Khaki derives from the Urdu/Hindustani work for dust (Khak) which in turn comes to us from Persian.

    I believe the British Army officer was stationed in the Punjab, and was trying to find an alternative to the "Thin Red Line" uniforms.
     
  20. Etruscan

    Etruscan Senior member

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    There are better and worse khakis, in my opinion. If well cut from good fabric, they certainly have their place in one's informal (particularly warm-weather) wardrobe. I don't know Bill's Khakis (apart from the ads and their constituency here) but I would certainly be reluctant to pay a premium for such a relatively humble product. (I've yet to pay more than $20 for a pair of jeans in all my 46 years.)

    On a historic or etymological note, the term khaki is of Hindi origin, meaning dust-colored, and came to be associated with the twill uniforms of the British colonials who dominated India politically until independence in 1947.
     

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