They’re “dress slacks,” yet you can use them even when dressing business casual.
They’re comfortable, yet they won’t look out of place matching with them with a suit jacket.
They’re technically named after a color, but that single color is so versatile that we’ve named an entire range of pants after it.
Whatever you call them, men’s khaki pants are one of those essential wardrobe items that no self-respecting, gainfully-employed gentleman should ever be without. And yet fewer and fewer men seem to have the notion about how to best pull off khakis in both casual and business environments alike. In this guide, we’ll show you how.
Khakis as Dress Pants for Men
First things first: you’ve got to be able to wear khakis to work.
One key here is to understand the difference between pleated khakis and flat front khakis.
Pleated khakis feature additional lines, or wrinkles, that stem from the beltline of the trousers. It usually has a more “formal” look to it. Flat front khakis are more versatile, their physical description living up to their name, and fit just as well in suits as they do more casual situations.
You can start with a casual pair of lightly colored khakis. Our Charleston Khakis in Cotton/Tencel and a Flat Front pair well with polos on casual Fridays and equally well with charcoal-colored sport coats on the more formal days of the week. You could consider a pleated pair of khakis for those important business meetings where you want it to be clear that you should be taken seriously.
Khakis as Casual Dress Slacks
One of the great advantages to owning a pair of khakis is their versatility. Using a classic “khaki” color with a flat front, as you see in the Charleston Washed Khaki, essentially allows you to wear just about any color you like for a shirt or coat. Navy blue works very well with casual dress slacks, but so does white, red, green—you name a color off of the wheel, and chances are that it won’t clash with the color “khaki.”
Pairing khakis with a casual top, then, comes down to the style of top you wear. T-shirts are generally a little too casual for khakis, pairing better with shorts and denim. Polo shirts work well with khakis, to the point that many retail outlets make khakis and polos their employee uniform. All manner of button-down shirts, such as an oxford cloth button down shirt, will work equally well when paired with khakis.
What about pairing these khakis with shoes? Your options are nearly unlimited there, but stay away from too casual: sandals and sneakers are out of the running here. Desert boots, wingtips, and any other “work-appropriate” shoes will fit in nicely.
Men’s khaki pants are something of a “cheat sheet” that brings you out of a casual college-style wardrobe and into the professional world. You might think of khakis as the office-friendly version of jeans, able to pair with anything else you’d bring in to work, and you’ll find it’s not too hard to understand men’s khakis once and for all.