There’s a calming simplicity to khaki, which is ironic, given its combat associations.
But this easy mid shade of olive green, neither too vibrant nor too dull, is natural-looking, easy on the eye and, what’s more, it works with all skin tones, in a way that many so-called neutral shades – the nudes spectrum from beige through caramel and camel to vanilla – do not. I was in a doctor’s waiting room once and overheard an elderly woman describe a blonde relative, who always dressed in beige, as looking “like a biscuit”. I knew what she meant.
Khaki has, over the years, become an annual contemporary-classic trend for spring in a way similar to nautical, in that it offers relaxed, simple pieces to mix and match in cottons and linens, with the occasional shot of silk, jersey and print thrown into the mix.
The khaki shirt dress is a must, as is the khaki jumpsuit (popular at Coachella), especially a belted style. They look simply, casually chic tied with their own belt, usually in the same fabric, but then also work if you switch that belt to a brown leather sturdy one (add brown bag and boots, too) or with black leather, which gives a sleek edge.
At the other end of the spectrum, florals teamed with khaki is very much a thing. There’s embroidery and embellishment featuring on khaki fabric itself, especially on shirts and jeans, and then there’s the actually pairing of floral print with khaki. An example would be khaki shorts, worn with a floral shirt, perhaps topped off with a khaki bomber or a khaki shirt – surely THE khaki piece of the season – thrown over and worn as a jacket.
Khaki combat trousers are still good, in a J Crew sort of way, but the cool money’s on wide legs, cropped or long, to team with fresh white for a languid, sporty vibe. Khaki and denim, meanwhile, is a classic spring-into-summer combination that will always work.
Head-to-toe dressing is a trend making self-styling a little easier for many of us, so take a vest top, a pair of easy slouchy wide-leg trousers, a shirt and a pair of trainers or heels, all in tones of khaki, and layer at will. It’s guaranteed to look cool, calm, collected and contemporary. Swap the heels and vest for white if you must, but really, khaki rules this summer.
YORKSHIRE FASHION LISTINGS
April 24: Hoopers in Harrogate, from 11.30am, Olsen Workshop; April 28, from 2pm, Swim & Cruise Show.
April 25 and May 2. Casting models for the University of Leeds School of Design catwalk show (June 14), 4pm in Clothworkers Central Building. Female: height above 5ft 8in, sizes 8-12. Male: height above 5ft 10in, chest 38-42, waist 32-34.
To April 22. York Fashion Week – see www.yorkfashionweek.co.uk. Includes April 19, She Loves York fashion show at the Principal hotel and Meet the Designer with Hope’s Nanya McIntosh, also at the Principal; April 20, the Fashion Society of the University of York international fashion show, Carluccio’s; and Unmentionables: A Brief History of Underwear with York Castle Museum’s Dr Faye Prior. Visit www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk for more details.
April 21-22. York Festival of Vintage, York Racecourse. See www.festivalofvintage.co.uk
April 28-May 6. The Fashion Space at Leeds International Festival. Go to the festival website, www.leedsinternationalfestival.com