“A lot of people have taste, but they’re not daring enough to be creative.” -Bill Cunningham
Chinos, otherwise known as khakis, are known to have military origins. In 1840, the British were known to wear red and white uniforms during battle. It wasn’t long until they realized their outfits were easy targets for enemies. To combat this issue, the British decided to blend in with the terrain, and started to dye their uniforms, to what is now known as the color, khaki. Khaki comes from a Persian root word, Khâk, meaning “soil-colored.” The war strategy of wearing khaki quickly became a standard for armies around the world as it was proved to be an advantage over past color schemes particularly colors like red and white.
Chinos, a khaki cotton pant for men, were named because they were originally manufactured in China. They were primarily only associated with the military, and it wasn’t until the end of World War II that they were “civilianized.” American soldiers continued to wear their chinos as they returned to their life at home and at various universities. The regular blue jeans were not accepted in either high school or college classrooms. Chinos, however, provided an acceptable and comfortable alternative. In this day, the guys paired their khaki chinos with button-up shirts and loafers, creating the original preppy style.
Chinos are still in style today and can be seen not only in khaki, but are also sold and worn in a variety of colors. They have become a comfortable pant that can be worn to dress-up or dress-down any outfit to fit the occasion.