Pinstripe Khaki?

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2014-05-13 – Out shopping with my son Nat this afternoon, I chanced upon a pair of Docker pants that are branded Signature Khaki. That wouldn’t be a problem normally, but these are not normal times. These “khaki” pants were charcoal gray pinstripe.

I said to Nat, “I thought khaki was a tan color. Is it now a cut of pants?” He normally knows about this kind of thing. But, as I said, these are not normal times. He knew nothing of it. Merriam-Webster confirmed my idea. Khaki has two meanings. One is a tannish color: the color of dust. The other is a fabric of the same color often used for military uniforms.

To me, khaki and charcoal gray pinstripe are almost opposites. The troops and the suits.

Until the 1960s these groups were totally distinct. Then it became fashionable for the richer set to wear blue jeans. Now you can get designer jeans that working people could never afford. I suppose now the charcoal gray pinstripe is starting to trickle down.

Clothing is a sign of class, but since we don’t have class in America . . .

Many years ago, I crashed a meeting of the World English Speaking Union. These were the richest of the rich. I have no idea what the organization was, and I am so uninterested that I won’t even Google them. My friends and I attended their meeting to get some free food.

We got tickets as members of the press. That all was true. We were editors of one of the student newspapers at the University of Chicago. But we had no intention of writing a story about the organization or the event, just as I am uninterested today. We took cameras, without film, and went around snapping them at people to create the illusion that we were taking pictures for the newspaper.

The food was good.

One of the events of that weekend was labeled a black-tie event. As students of the sixties, we had no such apparel. I bought a cheap black bow tie and wore it with a blue and red double-knit sport coat. We all thought it was funny to do the black-tie thing that way.

Trouble was, the billionaires at the event did pretty much the same thing. There were a few tuxedos, but mostly there were some ratty suit coats with a black tie.

Nat ended up buying some black khakis, if you can say that. He and his chef friends will be staffing a booth at the NRA convention this weekend and he needed some black pants.

By the way, NRA stands for the National Restaurant Association.

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