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Khaki Suit Ideas
Summer is upon us and as temperatures go up, the heavy cloth suits of winter and spring lose their front row favor in any true gentleman’s closet. Khaki suits are the essential choice for summer, but that doesn’t mean you’re left with one-dimensional style options for the season.
Khaki suits can be dressed up or dressed down. They pair well with monochrome accents or you can make a splash with pastel colors. Here’s an example from Docker for starters (See Amazon).
Here are 7 khaki suit ideas just in time for the summer solstice.
1. Khaki and White T with sneakers
When you think of khaki summer looks, this is most likely the image that comes to mind. It requires little fuss and can be worn to many different types of functions. You can choose any number of fabrics or styles for your trousers. Cotton, linen and cotton blends, pleated or flat front – just about anything goes.
You can wear any ol’ white T shirt, as well. However, the crispier the T-shirt the better. A pack of new white T-shirts costs under $10 and you can quickly pop your shirt in the dryer or iron it to get rid of the fold creases. The same rule applies to the sneakers. Clean is better than dirty. White sneakers with a brown sole are sublime.
For the jacket, color tones and fabrics should closely match your trousers if bought separately. This is a casual look so don’t opt for a formal cut. Check out this deconstructed khaki jacket from YND (see Amazon). You can toss this over your shoulder when the heat sets in or drape it over your arm to show off the guns.
2. Khaki with Blue Shirt and Golden Accents
This khaki suit look is all about creating contrast. The bold blue of a button-up shirt really pops against the subtle warm tones of your khaki trousers and jacket.
Due to the high contrast, you should make sure that your jacket and trousers are a single outfit, not put together piece by piece. Less formal cuts like the single-breasted jacket and flat front trousers are a great canvas.
You can wear a light blue or dark blue shirt, just try to avoid wearing a pattern that’s too busy. Flat blue works best. This style is meant to cast a look of simple sophistication. Just check out this image for a good example.
For golden accents, you can really let your personality shine through. Gold-rimmed sunglasses, a gold watch, or exposed gold cuff links work well. Use one or the other though. Don’t overdo it with the gold. You don’t want to look garish.
You want to create complementary points of contrast. A touch of yellow doesn’t hurt, also. A nice handkerchief or blue socks with gold or yellow accents can be eye-catching if you’re feeling cute.
3. Traditional Khaki Suit with White Collar Shirt and Tie
The traditional khaki suit is extremely functional and versatile. This is a classic look that works well in summer formals like a wedding or graduation or it can serve for work or even on an important dinner date. You can piece it together with garments you have in your wardrobe or wear a bespoke two-piece suit.
Check out this formal khaki suit and white-collar shirt combination that will make any groomsman the master of ceremonies.
Khaki suits can also make an appearance in a professional setting. It’s not always appropriate though. Just ask Barack Obama.
He was blasted for wearing a khaki suit to a press conference during his tenure as POTUS. So, be sure that your office’s dress code isn’t opposed to a khaki suit before you wear one. This is ideal for someone who wears suits constantly to work and might be looking to add a bit of variety to their wardrobe.
The khaki suit with white collar and tie is a must have outfit for any gentleman’s closet. Daniel Craig wore the hell out of this look in the movie Spectre (2015). He lit up the screen with a Brunello Cucinelli deconstructed khaki blazer and matching trousers (See Amazon for idea). This blazer is rather unique because it’s made of a fabric blend. It has wool, linen and silk to provide the best of all worlds. It’s breathable. It drapes well and carries color like an autumn jacket.
Here is a clip of Bond wearing this signature look.
4. Khaki Three Piece Suit
This formal khaki suit is the full package. It shouldn’t be worn lightly. This should be a single outfit, not tacked together from garments that you have in your closet. The jacket, vest, and trousers should all have the same textiles and complementary cuts. The only exception is with the vest. You can wear something darker or incorporate a different pattern if you like.
Unlike other khaki suits that are mostly worn during the summer season, a khaki three-piece suit can be worn year-round. Just be careful when you wear this look during the summer because the textiles and cuts that make this look so iconic are also apt to be heavy and have additional padding. You could be a hit walking out of the boy’s club on an autumn evening or look a hot, sweaty mess wearing this look to a mid-day summer social. So, take heed to the weather.
When pulling together your accent pieces, go with dark colors. Drape a dark scarf around your neck. Wear dark, polished shoes and matching tie. This style adds gravity to the wearer, so you don’t want to lighten up the look by wearing bright accent pieces or neglecting accessories altogether.
Check out the khaki three piece look in this image below.
5. Khaki Rockabilly Style
If you’re looking for a khaki suit look that doesn’t take itself too seriously, then you’re gonna love this rockabilly style. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to pull it together either. You can wear comfortable sneakers or loafers. You can wear suspenders, a hat or a belt. Really, anything goes.
For trousers, you should wear slightly fitted, slim cut, cotton pants with a rolled-up cuff. You can also wear linen with a pleated front. Up top, just about any style of button-up shirt works with this look. Feel free to get creative with your shirt style. You can wear patterns or a flat color; it’s up to you.
This is an everyman’s look, so don’t throw a lot of money at it. Just choose a budget-friendly cotton button up shirt that flatters your upper body proportions. It can also be a bit loose, as was the style of the period. Banana Republic and J. Crew have simple cotton blazers that work well, but you can look at thrift stores and vintage shops to pick out a jacket that’s more authentic.
The only caveat to the khaki rockabilly style is that it only works if you accessorize well. You could miss the mark completely if you wear an ultra-modern watch or high-end shoes.
This is a fun khaki suit look that hearkens back to a simpler time. So, it isn’t necessarily appropriate for a strictly formal occasion. Just have fun with it and you’re sure to put smiles on peoples’ faces when they see you looking like this:
6. Khaki Double-breasted Suit and Layers
Here’s another heavy khaki suit style that won’t earn cool points in the summer, but scores big in other ways. The color says informal, but the style, textiles and cut are all business. It fell out of favor for a while, but Hollywood celebrities, big fashion labels, and style icons have brought it back into the forelight.
The double-breasted khaki suit is worn in a very specific way. It has classic proportions and shouldn’t be worn as a so-called skinny suit. The trousers are usually wool or lined and pleated in the front. If not pleated, then you should maintain a sharp crease down the center line of your leg.
The jacket tends to be longer than other styles and is typified by the generous use of buttons. You can fasten these buttons in several ways to create a center of gravity for the suit. Leaving a double-breasted suit unbuttoned just doesn’t highlight the suit’s best features.
One of the best things about this khaki suit style is that it drapes and layers remarkably well. You can create visually appealing lines and contours with an overcoat and scarf. Plus, the way that the lapel flows into the center of the suit makes this style singularly elegant.
Here is the khaki double-breasted suit worn correctly:
7. Khaki with a Colorful Sweater or Polo
Khaki suits are the ideal canvas for a splash of contrasting color. Bright sweaters, jumpers and polo shirts bring the season into focus when worn with a cotton khaki suit. Just check out this bright orange sweater worn over a white shirt.
You might want to stick with flat colors to be safe or at least choose patterns that aren’t overly busy. A floral print polo like this one from CooFandy (Amazon) could spark a conversation and turn heads if worn bravely. Yet, something more abstract like geometric patterns might seem out of place. The color and style of the shirt truly depends on your complexion and what colors work in your favor.
This style is most forgiving of wrinkling. Cotton suits are lighter and tend to crease and wrinkle more than others. Don’t fight the wrinkles so much with this style because your brightly colored top will draw attention away from the odd wrinkle at your elbow and knees.
Note on Accessories
Khaki suits are completed by accessories. A burgundy cashmere scarf can be the icing on the cake for a three-piece khaki suit, but too much flare can spoil the batter. If you’re looking for ideas for accent pieces, then check out this image below.
This guy is wearing just about every accessory possible. You might not want to wear the hat, the rings, bracelets, suspenders, glasses, and watch all at the same time. Just sprinkle them on sparingly and you’ll be a hit at the next summer social.
Now you’re all set for a summer romp around the city with friends or a drive down the coast with your significant other. Your options are nearly endless when a khaki suit is brought into play. Be sure to follow Men’s Variety on Instagram and share this style guide with your best mates.