American soldiers wore khaki uniforms during World War II. Men’s khaki trousers became fashionable after the war, as homecoming GI’s decided to continue wearing the soft, comfortable pants in their civilian capacities. Khaki trousers soon became the province of hipsters like Jack Kerouac and Miles Davis. They were taken to new heights by Ralph Lauren, who helped popularize them among college professors and preppy men.
The very best khakis are made by Bills Khakis. My friend Ralph Bennett, a reporter for Reader’s Digest, once called the store’s trousers “khakis of the gods.” They come in various twills and, with care, can last a lifetime. They should be paired with a ribbon belt like those offered at Brooks Brothers, Paul Stuart and J.McLaughlin, and highly polished old Bass Weejun penny-loafers.
The longer khakis are owned and the more they are washed, the softer and more comfortable they become.
But be careful: Because khakis are all cotton, they have a tendency to shrink and, candidly, the “Thomas Browne” look on 55-year-old men looks ridiculous. So make sure your cherished khakis aren’t too short.
Roger Stone is a well-known Republican political consultant and is a veteran of eight national Republican presidential campaigns. He’s also the men’s fashion correspondent for The Daily Caller and editor of Stonezone.com.