Despite being a nerdy little kid with a penchant for Gap Kid button-ups and khaki shorts instead of the much cooler, hotter Limited Too, my opinion on khaki was invariably shaped by Shelley Long looking in horror at her beige troop leader uniform in Troop Beverly Hills. She has it redesigned by a Valentino-esque figure, who suggests, as he picks up the outfit, that perhaps it should be burned.
Khaki, in spite of its questionable cool status, is a resolute fabric. Two years ago, I wrote an investigative article trying to figure out what had happened to the once-ubiquitous fabric. There was Gap’s famous Khaki Swing commercial in 1998, and decades before that, a post-WWII surge of interest in the fabric coming from military trousers ending up in surplus stores. Princeton preps discovered early on khaki’s ideal blend of slightly casual and slightly dressed up.
That same idea made it an ideal ’90s fabric for the business-casual age. Before jeans were acceptable workplace attire, khaki occupied that meeting room middle ground. It’s one of the neutral fabrics that doesn’t exactly go with everything, but when styled right, it can even look, dare I say, interesting. An all-black outfit with a khaki coat, for instance, or your very own Troop Beverly Hills-inspired jumpsuit with a silk scarf.
Still viaÂ Troop Beverly Hills
To fully distance yourself from school uniform territory, take a page from Sies Marjan and don a khaki kitten-heel mule. Sander Lak’s canvas wool jacket and trouser also make for statement pieces that are far from dull. Shades of brown, whether they fall on the warmer camel-hued or more divisively green end of the spectrum, make for not just a compelling look but a decadent one. There’s Fendi’s SS18 collection with the label’s beige-brown logo paired with caramel-colored fur—a far cry from your dad’s khaki collection.
Even our beloved Shelley Long ended up in a silk beige outfit, complete with pencil skirt and silk cape. Below, shop the looks that give us khaki wishes and cookie dreams: