The Brook Taverner Journal

Khaki Pants with Black Shoes: 3 Winning Combinations and Tips

Khaki Pants with Black Shoes: 3 Winning Combinations and Tips


Since last century, khaki pants have been paired with different shades of brown shoes because they belong to the same colour palette. Nowadays, even though a radical classic gentleman would say rules are rules, some forward-thinking fashionistas also believe in the possibility of achieving astounding looks by combining khakis with black shoes.

In this article, we will share with you 3 different outfit combinations that will make you rock your khaki pants. We also give you tips that will help you understand the “terms and conditions” to nail this trend.

But first, we’ll tackle the big question that arises when confronted with the khakis vs chinos controversy.


What Is The Difference Between Khakis and Chinos?


It’s a thin and blurry line the one that separates the concept of khakis from chinos. If one has to point out what the big difference between these styles of trousers is, it would be safe to say it’s only really about the colour.

They are both casual types of menswear, made of cotton twill fabric and ideal for creating that old-school rugged look some gentleman embrace more and more.

When you hear the words “khaki pants” what comes to your mind are, most likely, actually khaki-coloured chinos –these come in different shades of warm brown, from light sand to dark toasted.

So nowadays, even though both terms have come interchangeable for some, you wouldn’t really go to a store and ask for “blue khaki pants”. Right?

So again, let’s agree and say khakis are a specific colour of chinos.


The History of Khakis and Chinos


The birth of khakis can be traced back to the mid-1800', when Sir Henry Lumsden,—a commander in the British Indian Empire—unhappy with the troop's uniforms that were not suited for hot weather, decided to create a new type of uniform. One that would provide more freedom of movement, function as camouflage and be both lightweight and cooler.

Soon enough, these brownish-coloured comfortable but sturdy pants became a staple part of the uniform all across the British forces.

Meanwhile, American soldiers fighting wars overseas under the hot weather were still wearing heavy wool uniforms, only suited for cold weather. They began to adopt cotton twill fabric trousers for the same reason as the British, but on the other side of the world.

Cotton twill fabric main characteristic is that the way the weft yarns are wrapped in a diagonal pattern makes the fabric heavier and more resistant to wear.

After the war in the Philippines, the American soldiers brought this type of trousers back to the United States and later on started importing them from China. They would call these pants “chinos” as this means “Chinese” in Spanish.

All along the years and after the wars, this toasted-colour “chinos” became a staple piece in every man’s wardrobe, especially for casual occasions.

As we mentioned before, even though these are usually combined with brown shoes, a new trend is arising. Thus we will fill you in and show you how to nail the “khaki pants, black shoes” attire.


Outfit Nr 1 – The Posh Gentleman 


This look is ideal for semi-formal occasions with no fix rules. The goal is that by using plain textures, dark khakis and only two different colours; you’ll get a very neat, elegant and sober look.


To Achieve This Look, You’ll Need: 


  • A black formal shirt. 
  • Mid to dark coloured khakis with no pleats.
  • A pair of semi-brogue black Oxfords –or another type of formal shoe. We chose semi-brogues to add a little bit of texture to the overall look. Always keep in mind the shoes are the accent of your whole outfit.
  • Black leather formal belt. The leather strap should be thin and soft with a small and flat frame style buckle.
  • If you decide to add a tie, keep in mind the “2 colours only” rule of this look. Find a silk tie that matches the tone of your khaki pants. Not exactly though, try a little bit of a lighter shade.


Outfit Nr 2: The Slender Gentleman


This attire is ideal for a spring daytime outdoors venue. The goal of this outfit is to achieve paramount casual elegance portraying light colours in a clean looking, yet stylish, ensemble.


To Achieve This Look, You’ll Need: 


  • A light sand coloured formal shirt.
  • A matching tone of pleated chinos.
  • A black semi-formal belt.
  • A pair of Cheney Blacks penny loafer shoes with rubber sole. For this outfit, we recommend loafers as they are more casual and less structured. Just like this outfit.
  • A double-breasted tailored fit charcoal knitted jacket. When invited to an outdoor venue you should always have a good jacket at hand. This jacket will balance the colours in this outfit and add some texture while keeping it simple.
  • You can always finish the look with a handkerchief, matching the tone of the khaki pants, in the left upper pocket of the jacket.


Outfit Nr 3: The Italian Gentleman


If there’s something that characterizes the style of the Italian gentleman, is the power to harness combinations others wouldn’t think of. A free creative dynamic that, surprisingly, most of the times ends up getting the winning ticket.

The goal of this look is to push the boundaries a bit more in terms of colours and textures. We propose to introduce navy elements that will make this attire perfect for a summer sunset at the Riviera.


To Achieve This Look, You’ll Need: 


  • A navy blue and white—or sand—colour combination formal shirt. Alternatively, if you are feeling playful get something with a less structured, yet elegant vibe. You can choose one that suits your taste, the idea is to achieve a look with textures, so the shirt should reflect that.
  • A tailored fit navy jacket. The fit in this look is key, as you want to look modern, slender and trendy.
  • Khaki pants in a light or mid-tone, preferably tailor fit.
  • A formal black leather belt.
  • Black leather, whole cut semi-formal shoes.
  • Choose a tie that would match the texture of your jacket.


Tips for Combining Black Shoes and Kakhi Pants


Even though our suggested looks have more of an “outside the box”, semi-formal style, you should know that there are different styles of khakis that can give your outfit different twists.


  • For a rugged look for everyday casual wear, consider that some wrinkles or signs of wear can actually give your look that rugged twist. In this case, black tassel loafers with side lacing or Chelsea boots will also do the trick.
  • Bear in mind that as the whole "khaki with black shoes" trend is not the most usual, your belt always—always—needs to match your shoes. Otherwise, you can end up in the “Top 10 biggest fashion mistakes list”.
  • From straight-cut khaki pants with a low rise to slim cut cropped khakis, there’s a style for everyone. Find the cut that suits your body type and personal style.
  • Add the final touches. You can always align your outfit with matching sunnies, scarfs or even handkerchiefs if you are wearing a jacket.
  • Khaki pants go very well with knitwear, so if you are wearing black shoes, make sure your sweater is also properly combined.