"New England is quite as large a lump of earth as my heart can really take in." - Nathaniel Hawthorne

Friday, May 1, 2015

Men's Khakis

 Maine Windjammer - Original Photo from Archives
The one item that is a sine qua non to the classic wardrobe is a pair of khaki pants. This is true for males and females, young and old.

Vendors, knowing "khaki" is often referred to as a color, now use the term "chinos" which are offered in various shades of Khaki. Technically, however, khaki refers to either the style of trousers originally worn by British Troops in India or the color.

But the options today can be confusing.  Buying any kind of pants is always a more personal purchase than a sweater or a shirt. And many of the traditional khaki vendors have drastically cheapened the material used and reduced the consistency of fit when they outsourced to China or other low-wage countries, while constantly tweaking offerings.
Here are some suggestions to consider for those who want classic, timeless khakis, before even trying on a pair:
  1. Plain front;
  2. Straight leg;
  3. Cuffed or uncuffed (with a one to a one and a half inch hem), but not a "jean hem";
  4. Not too dark. Stone is fine for women, Light Khaki, Field Khaki or Khaki are good for all;
  5. On-seam pockets in the front (which need to be deep enough) and two button through pockets in the back (men's and women's);
  6. Avoid cropped versions for women; they seldom look right;
  7. 100% cotton twill  (Cotton canvas can be good for in the field pants,  and poplin for hot weather.);
  8. Stay away from "wrinkle resistant" versions, which wear prematurely at the bottom of the hem;
  9. No cargo pockets.
Sources of men's khakis include:
Unfortunately, at this time, there is no comparable list for women's khakis.

Finally, one might need flannel-lined khakis. They are perfect for New England winters. And again, they are easy to find for men, but quite difficult for women.