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Monday, April 04, 2016

K Is For Khakis

If there were a sudden and inexplicable Khaki Pants Shortage, I would be unreasonably happy about it. Sharing my joy would be vast multitudes of school-aged boys as well, for Khaki Pants and Collared Shirts (aka Polo Shirts) are the standard school uniform in lots and lots of urban public and parochial schools. I currently own Zero Pairs of Khaki Pants, and I plan to maintain that total for the remainder of my life. If it were up to me, that would be the Current And Future Wardrobe Status of Rick as well.

Why all this Disdain For Khaki Pants? Did I have a Goat Episode, similar to one I described in this post? Did Something Bad once happen to me whilst clad in Khakis?

Nope.

As a matter of fact, I used to wear Khaki--the color--once in a while in skirts and shirts, and I even had a really great pair of Khaki cargo-style pants. It's not an especially great colour on me (some shades can make my olive skin look even more green), but accented with red, it can be a good wardrobe basic.

No, my anathema towards Khaki started when some men began wearing Khaki pants as Formal Wear, and thus began The Great Casualization Of America.

Perhaps it is Different where you live, but here in the Midwest, there is a sort of Anything But Jeans mentality when it comes to Dressing Up. As in, if you are Male, and you are Not Wearing Jeans, you are Dressed Up. (One exception to this rule is Jeans And A Sweater With A Shirt Underneath = Dressed Up.)   Footwear, sadly, does not even figure into this equation. Any sort of shoe can and will be worn.  (I. Know. )  For example, say you are a male of any age at all, and you are attending a 4 PM wedding in a church with a small reception immediately following. What do you wear? Why, your Khakis, of course! Oh, is it an evening wedding and the reception is at a swanky highrise? Well, then...better wear...Khakis! Going out to a play in the Theater District and then for drinks and dinner?

KHAKIS.

KHAKIS. KHAKIS. KHAKIS. KHAKIS. KHAKIS.

Just as I blame John McCain for legitimizing SPalin and begetting the present-day republican party, I blame Dockers for legitimizing Khakis and spawning the Downward Spiral Of Men's Dress. Don't most of us remember their PantsPantsPants commercials, like this one, which shoved Khakis and Khrotches into our Khonsciousness?



Holy Khrap.

Er...Crap.

Sorry.

I feel like it's No Accident that the word Khaki sounds like Piper or Marlowe yakking up a hairball.   That's pretty much how I feel about the pants.

Maybe, in the beginning, they were okay, but like so many things that seemed Perfectly Fine, they got Out Of Control.  Like Kudzu did in the South.  Khaki pants are Fashion Kudzu.  Or, like my Little Problem with Cheetos about ten years ago.  I could not be trusted; I ate almost a whole bag, and Rick had to hide them from me.  The difference there was, I got nauseated and sick from Cheetos and I learned my lesson.  Men are not Learning Their Lesson from Khaki pants, and instead, we are the ones ready to throw up.

Okay.  I think I've more than made my point.  Now go forth and purge Khaki Pants from the closets of all the men you know.


34 comments:

  1. Oh, Nance, you mustn't limit it to Dockers. My husband, recently now my ex, dresses exclusively from LL Bean because he gets clothing cash back from his Bean credit card and Bean is the only place that can furnish him with shirts that fit his long arms. When he reaches a critical mass of benefits, he buys new clothes for free.Next, let's talk about an endless closet of light blue, often chambray, cotton shirts to go with the khakis. And, yes, at private school for my sons on dress-up days it was khakis with the navy blue school blazer the has the patch/crest on it. For years, that was how I knew which days of the week it was. And the younger was an ambassador for the school so always leading kids and parents around on interviews and tours. Pat and booorrring!

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    1. Dana Luther--(I know this is another name for??? and that you've commented here many times)--Oh, no. I certainly do not limit it to Dockers. I just BLAME Dockers for starting the whole Khaki Pants Are Cool trend. LL Bean is also Part Of The Problem, I know. And yes, those Oxford-style shirts in a rainbow of ice cream colours make it a No-Brain-Needed Uniform for many men. Sigh.

      But, come on! Make an effort, Gentlemen! Do you see the date on that commercial? TIME MARCHES ON!

      Delete
  2. There once was a guy who wore Khaki
    And his friends all thought he was whacky,
    But he meant no harm,He was Jake from State Farm,
    And they made him wear pants that were tacky.

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    1. Nancy--Nice job! That's 200 points on the Leaderboard for you! See my sidebar!

      Also, good point. Khakis are part of not only School Uniforms, but the uniforms of businesses as well! Do men really want to look like they are wearing a Uniform (other than Eighties Casual Friday Employee)?

      Delete
  3. Tip toeing quietly out of the room.....

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    1. Silliyak--GET BACK HERE! LOL.

      Delete
  4. "Just as I blame John McCain for legitimizing SPalin and begetting the present-day republican party, I blame Dockers for legitimizing Khakis and spawning the Downward Spiral Of Men's Dress."

    Amen, sister! You nailed it right here. I'm not anti-khaki, but do feel like there are times when dress pants would be an appropriate choice for the males wandering around this earth. Like at the afternoon wedding scenario you mentioned. Or at calling hours at a funeral home. Or when going out to a fancy brunch on Easter, for instance. [Although I'll admit that khakis with a dress shirt + navy blazer can make a good alternative if finances prohibit buying something fancier. I'm not heartless on this issue.]

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    1. Ally Bean--I used to be Just Like You on the Khakis Issue. I wanted to let them have their Khakis as long as they wore them appropriately. But, like flip-flops, PEOPLE CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO WEAR THEM APPROPRIATELY. So, they have to be taken completely away, like my Cheetos have now been (along with Circus Peanuts and sour gummy candies). So now I am a Khakis Nazi: NO KHAKIS FOR YOU! The women of the world will thank me.

      AND THE MEN HAD BETTER NOT DEFAULT TO JEANS.

      Delete
    2. Darn it woman, I can't wear cut offs year 'round even though I DO live in Ca.

      Delete
    3. Sillyak--How long has it been since you were IN A STORE? There are lots of clothing options besides KHAKIS and CUTOFF PANTS. Goodness. Stop fussing and buck up! ;-)

      Delete
  5. How about on me? More forgiving of grass stains in summer than white. I am, however, proud to,report that JG has Given Them Up. That he seems to be defaulting to dress pants that I Have to press is neither here nor there as I had to press the Khakis too.

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    1. Mary G--I understand the Judicious Use Of Khakis to a certain extent, but I doubt that Most Men can be trusted to limit their use of Khakis to said Use.

      My problem is that Khakis began taking over. Men abused them and wore them in lieu of all formal wear. That made me hate Khakis forever. On everyone.

      You do whatever you need to and just don't tell me about it. Personally, I wear shorts all summer when the occasion does not call for a light summer dress or cool summer-weight pants (of which there are loads of non-white, non-khaki options). I, however, am not doing strenuous outdoorsy labour like you are. If something has to be done that I cannot wear something described above, I tell Rick to get the boys to help or hire someone.

      Delete
  6. Nance: I just want to clear up the Leaderboard Points. Are they a little like my Frequent Flier miles that American Airlines gives me? Oh, I hope so because I would like to visit Singapore. Can you tell me how many thousand points I would need to go there?
    If I had a goal number, I would spend every waking moment thinking up comments or Bon Mots even for you to reward..

    Your faithful reader,

    Nancy




    ReplyDelete
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    1. Dear Nancy--Oh, they are absolutely Not Like That At All, in that they are Completely Meaningless when it comes to any Real Value. They are rewarded capriciously based entirely upon my Mood At The Time, and upon how much I like your Comment at the time, usually gauged by how much it made me laugh. Certainly I will be awarding points also based upon the Depth Of Intellect of a Comment as well, and Insight, and Stuff Like That, too.

      Good Luck in Singapore. Tough crowd.

      Delete
  7. Well, I look forward to my utter and complete lack of Points!

    My husband has never really boarded the khaki train. He does not mind wearing a suit or dress pants when appropriate. But, he has recently started wearing a specific kind of pant that I think you would find even more horrifying. He is in law enforcement, and they have what they call "tactical" pants made by a company called 511. They are somewhat like cargo pants, but they have even MORE pockets and things, if you can believe it. He swears they are the most comfortable pants he owns and will try to wear them whenever he thinks he can get away with it. Luckily here in SoCal, full pants are not often needed.

    I used to wear khakis all the time until I got too fat and started leaning toward darker fabrics. I am a preppie at heart.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Gina--Bless your heart. It is not really a Contest, those Points. Just Silliness.

      You, as a Keeper Of The Aesthetics, must Put The Kibosh On your husband wearing his 511 Pockety Pants for anything other than work. Firstly, they are Work Pants. Secondly, they do sound truly horrifying and incredibly ugly. Thirdly, comfort--that Anti-Fashion Siren Song--cannot be the boss of the closet. If it were, then we (me, included!) would all be walking around 24/7 in our jammies. Look at the people who are, and take your cue from them.

      Be Firm! Rarely will he need to Be Tactical off the job, and work needs to stay At Work.

      I went through my Preppie Phase during the early 80s and left it for a Boho Phase. Now I am a sort of mix of the two. Kind of a Lands End meets Stevie Nicks. Hard to imagine, but it works. (Personal Style, you know. As we get older, that's what we develop.)

      Delete
  8. Time for me to chime in as a North American in Great Britain, where the khaki is not much in evidence on men or women. In fact, pretty much everyone in the UK seems to dress pretty nicely without ever having to resort to khaki. I do see the occasional odd pair, of khakis, but not many. School uniforms here are black or navy or tartan trousers - no khaki in evidence. The businessmen I see are typically wearing dressy trousers or suits - Uni students are in jeans or athletic wear or nice trousers - no khaki. MrL - who is surprisingly natty at heart, (although he does have a huge stash of concert t-shirts) is perfectly happy here, wearing Euro-styled suits (they are cut fairly tight and narrow-ish), sorta pointy shoes (not the ubiquitous tassel loafer that American men wear with their dress up khakis and navy blazers), and French cuffs on all his shirts (these are the kinds that do not have buttons but instead close only with cufflinks.They are a bitch to iron.) He even has this clever little dress shirt folder device that he uses to keep his shirts from wrinkling in his carrier bag (he cycles to work and showers and changes there - God forbid there should be wrinkles.) He says you can always spot the Americans immediately at his work because they are the ones in the Dockers/Dress shirt/loafer ensemble. Although he has happily adopted Euro/English dress styles at work, in his off hours, he reverts immediately to Technical Clothing - stuff you buy at REI and use for scaling summits and hiking through Yosemite. All of it is wicking and microfiber and water-repellent and has armpit vents and is imbued with sunscreen and mosquito repellent (like he needs that in the UK, but I guess it's better to be safe than sorry.) Sort of like Gina's husband's 'tactical' wear.

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    1. MsCaroline--Thank you for a different perspective, which is always nice. You do bring up another Sore Spot In Fashion for me, however, which is the ubiquity of Athletic Wear being worn all over the place even when one is not performing Feats Of Athleticism or on one's way to or from said Feats. There is even a name for this niche of clothing: AthLeisure wear. Ugh. So I am forced to see people wearing yoga pants, jogging pants, and all manner of spandex stuff out in public at drugstores, grocery stores, retail places, and other Public Venues looking as if they are ready to burst into cardio activity and spray me with sweat at any given moment, their bulges barely contained by rubberized fabric. That stuff is a Big No for me.

      Why is it so hard to Dress Nicely And Appropriately for people? I don't get it. Certainly there are still mirrors being sold.

      (Kudos to MrL for his alarming fitness! How do you stand it?)

      Delete
    2. I can stand it because he is never, ever, ever, holier-than-though, and is unfailingly encouraging of all my undertakings -even though I am nowhere near as fit as he is (and never will be, despite years of trying.) I have never heard of 'AthLeisure' wear - I always assume that anyone I see in athletic wear is either on their way to or from the gym. Honesty compels me to admit that, if I didn't look hideous in workout clothes, I would probably wear them out, too. As it is, I try not to meet anyone's eyes when I am wearing cycling tights (necessary for the padded butt when you are riding a long distance) and change out of them as soon as possible. I can barely stand to look at myself in them - stands to reason others would feel even more strongly. ; )

      Delete
  9. I am amazed that so many people care about whether or not people wear Khakis, especially whether or not they are wearing them appropriately. When we were looking at our community as a potential building site, we were pleased to hear that "with few exceptions, Khakis from LL Bean are as dressed up as you need to be." What would be a deal breaker for you was a deal maker for us. Generally speaking, for us comfort IS the boss of the closet. Within reason, of course.

    I could easily join the rant if it were yoga pants, stretchy skintight pants, or (gulp) pajama pants that I see every time I go to the store. But Khakis?

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    1. NCmountainwoman--I had no idea that a residential community anywhere in the US had a Dress Code. I suppose I could imagine it, say, in Celebration, FLA, that Disney-built residential hamlet where I swear all the people are Cast Members, dress in pastels, perma-press fabrics, and have regular tooth-whitening visits as part of their Association Fees.

      Comfort is the Boss Of My Closet, to be sure. I don't wear anything that doesn't fit me properly or that I do not feel confident in, whether I go out or stay at home. I simply do not understand how anyone can feel Comfortable wearing something so informal and therefore Inappropriate to a formal and dressy event. Or wear the same thing, over and over, regardless of the occasion.

      We all have Our Thing. This just isn't Yours.

      Delete
    2. No, we do not have a dress code. The comment was meant to assure us that folks were casual around here. The only dress code is for the golf course or dinner at the clubhouse.

      Delete
  10. I suspect the popularity of Dockers and Khakis is twofold. 1. They take no brain power, and a lot of men don't want to think about what they are going to wear. 2. They are unattractive, so no one is likely to think the wearer is gay. So many American men are terrified of being thought to be gay, which is really limiting in terms of style/color/fabric. European men are either all gay/bi, or they don't care much what everyone thinks, because their style is much more interesting.

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    1. J@jj.com--I think you are probably right about number one, and I am still laughing so hard about all of number two that I cannot yet respond to it.

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    2. Hahahaha! I really do think you've hit on something there!

      Delete
  11. Ah, you've described Dr. M's entire wardrobe! Well, you have to admit that khakis are part of his uniform as a history professor. But he does know how to dress appropriately for more formal occasions - he has several nice suits for weddings* and funerals. We rarely go on the type of date that requires more than casual wear.

    *He's officiating at a wedding this summer that has a Lord of the Rings theme. I think he's wearing a cloak & a wizard hat. I do not lie. :)

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    1. Bug--It is heartening to know that The Professor does not wear Khakis to formal occasions and owns suits for such things as require them. That is entirely my point, as is well illustrated by your example of The Lord of the Rings wedding, at which Khakis will still likely be present, worn by guests who do not feel comfortable wearing Hobbity/Orcan/Wizardy garb, but will then default to THEIR Uniform In All Cases, and there we all are, back to my Original Gripe.

      Which Is: Khakis have become Ubiquitous as Everything Wear, even at Formal Occasions; therefore, they must be removed entirely because having Given Them An Inch, They Have Taken Several Miles.

      Delete
  12. Just want to run a recent purchase by you, striped bib overalls? (for a train themed parade, but if approved I COULD wear it more often ;) )

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    1. Sillyak--I used to have a pair of those! I wore them once in a while to school...in 1976 when overalls first started becoming popular for teenaged girls.

      That was 40 years ago, so....

      Delete
  13. I wore khakis in junior high and high school because it was "cool". Cargos, flat front, you name it. If wearing khakis every day made you cool, I was Miles Davis. Then...college. And nobody wore them. Except for, you know...to work. It was, and seems still to be, the uniform of retailers everywhere and its the worst. I worked so much retail and had so many goddamned pairs of those things. I don't think I'll ever wear a pair again. I did have to wear a really dressy pair (IT IS TO LAUGH) of khakis for a wedding that I was co-best man in. And we all looked really good, but like...kahkis, yeah?

    It isn't like I'm the pinnacle of male fashion in my jeans and solid color v-neck tees every day, but I at least had the good sense to leave those behind at the same time I left behind a career path that included a name tag and lanyard.

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    1. Jared--Khakis are Easy, and that's not exactly a crime, but because they are easy--like jeans--they have become Ubiquitous. And because they have become Ubiquitous, they have become Accepted. They remind me of jeans at church (and I am speaking solely now of Catholic Church because that is/was my experience). It is now completely acceptable for everyone, including the altar boys and girls, to wear jeans and flipflops to church, or shorts and teeshirts and flipflops. I'm sure the reasoning is, "Who cares? At least they are there. I'm sure God is happy about their attendance, and their fashion is immaterial." I, for one, was incredibly annoyed when, at my niece's wedding, the altar girl, wearing frayed jeans and filthy yellow rubber flipflops carried the crucifix down the center aisle ahead of the priest, then sat on the altar, her feet and desiccated pantlegs on display for the entire ceremony/mass. I mean, at what point does anyone get dressed up anymore? What is the line at which people say, "Okay, now THAT is worthy of more than Just Jeans or Khakis?" I don't think there is one anymore.

      You may have adopted a sort of Everyday Uniform, but I also know that you get Dressed Up for dressy functions in an actual Suit and Tie and Real Shoes. And Dark Dress Socks, not white athletic socks, or dark tube socks (like a certain professional baseball player we both know did at a wedding).

      SIGH. I wore a dress and tights twice in the past 7 days. (I went to the grocery store on one of the days and nowhere on the other.) And I wear makeup and do my hair every day. I do it for me, true, but it's not hard. Geeze.

      Delete
  14. Correct. I do like to exercise my fly whenever I get the chance. Even most of the time with brown shoes or jeans, I still wear socks other than white. I didn't choose the thug life it chose me. And sometimes, thugs have to dress up, too.

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    1. Jared--Word. 250 Commenter points awarded. Welcome to the Leader Board.

      Delete
  15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBKzxNKf_cs

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Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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