How to Dress Up Casual Khakis for the Holidays

Everyone has a pair of khakis--and many of them are going to wear them for Christmas. So how do you keep an individual style, dress up your khakis, and stand out from the crowd?

Defining the Standard Casual Khaki Male “Uniform”

There’s nothing wrong with a casual pair of khakis and a button-down shirt--that’s why you’ll see so many other men wearing this particular combination. The problem is that you want to stand out a little bit and you don’t know how.

If that’s the case, then think of this standard “uniform”--khakis, a button down shirt, matching belt and shoes--to be something of a “base layer” over the holidays. It’s the kind of thing men will wear under a blazer when they’re headed to the office or under a casual sweater if they’re going to spend time at a casual dinner party. Think of it as incomplete.

Making a “Uniform” Your Own

Wearing khakis and a button down is a great start for the holidays. But if you want to ensure that you’re going to uniquely look your best, you’re going to have to think about one or two “twists” to add. For those twists, you have a few basic options: 

  • Adding a unique piece. The “ugly Christmas sweater” is at peak season right now, but even a bold sweater will do the job of marking your individual style.
  • Find a way to add a pattern like plaid. Maybe you’ll stick to a casual pair of khakis like Charleston Khaki Cotton/Tancel flat front and a sweater. But you can add a plaid button-down to sprinkle in a holiday-appropriate pattern and a dash of color.
  • Dress it up. If you’re not happy with the usual combination, you can try and dress it up: a blazer over a sweater vest, a tie for the button-down, and so on. When it comes to holiday festivities, it’s usually better to be slightly over-dressed than it is to feel underdressed.
  • Switch colors. Just because it’s called “khaki” doesn’t mean you have to wear the color Try navy, green, and even red.

Making Khakis More Formal

If you’re wearing your khakis to a formal occasion--say, Christmas mass--then you’ll be expected to look your best. There are generally two ways to dress up the khaki-and-button-down combination: 

  • Add suit elements like a tie or a blazer--or both. If you need to keep warm, you can wear a blazer over a thicker item like a sweater, giving you three layers.
  • Switch out the flat front khakis for Charleston Dress Khakis in Pleated. This “dressier” look matches well with charcoal and navy blazers, especially if you have a colorful button-down to put in between.

As usual, fit is king: if your clothes fit well, you can get away with a lot. But make sure that your clothes demonstrate how seriously you take your personal appearance during the holiday celebrations--even if you stand out from the crowd just a little bit.


December 23, 2015 by Berle Editor
previous / next