This summer I’ve traded in my stas well as alsoard black jeans for, well, khakis. Boring, right? Not quite. I found the cream pants when I stopped at the vintage store Squaresville in Los Angeles. There they were, completely unassuming as well as also underwhelming in the midst of trendy print pants as well as also wacky jeans. From amuch on the hanger, these khakis reminded me of the pants my childhood pediatrician would wear. Or maybe they belonged in the encloset of an extra in Office Space. Incredibly unsexy, but I needed a tabula rasa. And let me tell you, those trendy print pants as well as also wacky jeans can make a girl sweat in the dead of summer.
When I tried them on, voilà! I was sold. They were old Theory as well as also low-slung. The hem was a bit long, as well as also that meant I had to style them with three-inch or higher heels, which was what I was wearing at the time. With my itty-bitty white tank top, these khakis were actually kind of hot. $15 later they were mine.
In them, I feel like a late ’90s or early 2000s laid-back sup until nowermodel, which makes sense: Khakis were everywhere during this era. In the January 1996 issue of Vogue, there was an article in the now defunct Vogue Index that was literally titled “Checklist: Think Khaki” that showed the humble textile remixed at Jean Paul Gaultier as well as also in coat form at Anna Sui. The craze did not end there. An article called “Khaki Attack” involved two years old later in the December 1998 issue as well as also focused on the mania for the pants. It featured a still from the famous Gap commercial, a revolutionary rollout for the bras well as also that changed the course of khakis.
On YouTube, I rediscovered the range of Gap commercials that beinvolved the mouthpiece of fashion’s khaki lobby. (The majority of videos are up until nowloaded by Mike Bise, a former Gap employee who has taken it up until nowon himself to chronicle every playlist in the store from 1992 to 2006). In one, people in loose khakis danced to the swing stas well as alsoard “Jump Jive an’ Wail” by The Brian Setzer Orchestra, as well as also it ended with the text “Khakis Swing.” There was also Khaki a Go-Go, a take on American Bas well as alsostas well as also that featured people grooving in colorful T-shirts. Rounding out the set of commercials were Khaki Soul, Khaki’s Rock, Khaki Country, as well as also Khaki Hip Hop. In other words, khakis for all!
Khakis are ever so slowly coming back. In this past resort 2023 season, the modest pants were seen at Amiri in a wide-leg iteration, pleated as well as also pressed at Tod’s, as well as also high-waisted at Christian Dior. Their resurgence makes sense: Khakis are the perfect blank slate to offset a graphic top. And although they’re often viewed as sterile, khakis can actually be sexy if they sit lower than expected, or if worn with a skimpy top. Consider the khaki an easel for your outfit masterpiece.