A very useful neutral to include in your wardrobe, khaki pants belong right between jeans and dress pants. They can be paired with many different color combinations, and while it may seem simple enough, sometimes the simplest things get over complicated fast. With so many options at your disposal, the overwhelming choices may leave you wondering what color shirts go with khaki pants?
Khaki pants can be worn with neutrals – such as black, white or grey, as well as with bright or muted colors. Khaki can be worn across seasons and may be paired with warm colors like pink or red, or cool colors like blues and greens. Khaki also works with patterned fabrics or fabrics of multiple colors.
In this article, we will go over what exactly khaki is, along with some specific color combinations that complement it well. We will also cover key tips on how to style khaki successfully for all occasions.
What’s the Difference Between Khaki and Beige?
Khaki and beige often get lumped together as one. Though they are somewhat similar, technically, they are two separate colors. This can be confusing since they are within the same family and can be found in different shades. The color khaki, by definition, is pale brown with a slight tinge of yellow, darker than beige yet duller than tan. Beige, on the other hand, is a pale sandy brown, lighter overall and contains less yellow.
What Color Shirt Goes With Khaki Pants?
Khakis are more than just a safe pair of pants to wear to an interview. Like black or grey – they are a valuable and versatile option to keep in your closet. It is widely agreed upon that khakis are neutral in color – though they can also be considered on the warmer side of the spectrum when referring to the color wheel.
Khaki pants can be worn in many different settings and for many different occasions. They can be paired with just about any color, and since they are so neutral themselves, they can handle all sorts of patterns and textures too.
Though a versatile pair of pants – khakis can be casual, dressed up, and business casual – they are not considered formal. While you can wear a pair of khakis to an evening outing in many cases, they should never be worn to formal black tie events. Below are several specific examples of what colors go well with khaki pants.
Neutrals complement neutrals! This is true in almost all cases. Black, white, and grey are all wonderful, no-fail choices when looking for a color to match khaki pants. As with many things in fashion, keeping contrast at the forefront is a good idea. If you have a darker shade of khaki pants, pairing them with a crisp white shirt will look sophisticated and clean.
While a lighter shade of khaki will look great with black or dark charcoal grey top. Combining khaki with black or white can also provide a more formal look – and is a great choice for business casual occasions. Whichever shade you choose, pairing neutrals will give you a simple, muted look that is also thoughtful, and classic look.
Warm tones – particularly pinks and reds – make a great mate for khaki pants. Similar to above, it is important to keep contrast in mind when considering the shade of the shirt you want to pair with the pants. A light pastel pink will look great combined with a slightly darker shade of khaki. While a brighter red – or even dark burgundy – would look better against a lighter pair. Keep in mind which season you are dressing for when selecting the hue to be worn.
Blues and greens can be matched well with many things – khaki pants are no exception. These cool tones are a perfect complement to the slightly warmer hue of khakis. There are countless shades of blue and green to choose from, giving you almost unlimited options. Dark jewel tones would pop when paired with a classy pair of light khaki pants.
While pastel blues and greens can give life to a pair of khakis of a darker shade. Don’t forget about purple! Purple can add an element of interest to an outfit by being included. Lavender, violet, or royal purple – virtually any shade would do well with the right pair of khaki pants.
As an unassuming item of clothing, khaki pants are a great companion for a fun patterned blouse or a bold color block shirt. Many tops that may be too loud otherwise will be perfectly understated when paired with neutral khakis. Sweaters, stripes, and florals can take your khaki ensemble to the next level. While flannel and plaids of many colors – in the right season – provide another classic, more casual combo.
How to Style Khaki
Originally designed for military use – these days, khaki pants come in a range of colors and a ton of different cuts. While often considered underwhelming, khaki pants can fulfill so much more than their classic preppy or office attire reputations may have you first believe. They are just as comfortable as your favorite pair of jeans. They can be dressed up, down, and everywhere in between.
With just the right accessories and a great pair of shoes, khaki pants can give you a look for any occasion, day or night. Below you will find details on four ways to style a pair of khaki pants.
Contrast is key. If you are looking for a visually pleasing outfit, contrast is the number one easy way to create it – and searching for the right shirt to pair with your khaki pants is no different. Since khakis come in many shades, consider their color when picking your top. If the pants are of a lighter hue – generally – a top in a darker shade will create a more visually stunning result than something super similar.
For light-colored khakis, select a top in black or charcoal for a classic, clean look. This will give you the best contrast and an eye-catching outfit. If you want a bit of color while keeping it sophisticated – olive green or navy blue would fit the bill. For something colorful, that’s a bit more casual and fun – dark pink or fuschia would be great warm tones to wear.
If khaki is on the darker side of the spectrum, white is always a great choice. A white top – practically any style – can be paired with khaki pants for an effortlessly carefree look. Khakis and a white tank top or t-shirt, paired with a sunhat, would make a great daytime look for a weekend trip to the farmers market. Or choose a loose linen button-down for an evening dining al fresco. As for colors, airy pastels – in just about any color – will provide a calm, understated look that can be worn morning to night.
There are specific rules when it comes to seasonal colors and fashion – thankfully, khakis can be paired with almost all of them. Khaki pants – being such a versatile neutral – can be worn in any season. For springtime, warmer colors will have undertones of yellow. Choose a peachy-pink or coral-colored top to pair with a darker pair of khakis. Pale shades of robin’s egg blue, lavender, or lime green for springy cool tones.
Khaki itself is an ideal color for summer! For an idyllic summer look, when the hot months hit – pair darker khaki pants with your favorite light, airy white top. Brighter colors also appear during summer – a dark, golden yellow will go well with the same pair of khakis.
Choose a bold fuschia pink or deep turquoise green shirt for a lighter shade of khaki. Nautical stripes – with contrasting light and dark – are a classic summer look that would work well with either light or dark khakis.
Reds and browns are perfect for fall – and also perfect for khakis. When the weather turns crisp and cool, choose tones that are neither extremely bright nor overly muted. Medium reds, mustardy yellows, and toffee and russet browns will give you an effortlessly fallen look. A medium grey sweater or darker blue and green-toned flannel shirt will be just the right combo for autumn.
A sweater, button-down, or T-shirt in a deep, dark purple or emerald green would be great choices for the cold winter months. Dark neutrals – such as charcoal grey or chocolatey brown – would pair wonderfully well with light khaki pants. Of course, the most classic combos – black and white, separate or together – can be worn in any season, winter included.
If you choose the right style and accessories – khakis can be dressed up and make heads turn. Neutral-colored tops are considered classy and sophisticated. Lean on the saying, “less is more.” For a night out on the town, choose a strappy black tank – or a lacy white one – paired with a cropped leather jacket and a bold statement necklace or earrings.
The right pair of shoes can also make all the difference. If elegant is what you’re going for, wear a pair of black heels. Or, choose chunky combat boots for an edgier look.
Some cuts can automatically appear more dressed up than others. For a business casual daytime look, a tucked-in button-down – in any of the colors discussed above – will look nice and neat. Cardigans and blazers can be added as well – when seasonally and occasionally appropriate.
Khaki pants can go with many styles of shoes, so choose a shoe to match the occasion – modest heels, flats, boots, and wedges can all be worn for a more dressed-up look.
Khakis are comfy! Breathable cotton – who wouldn’t want to wear them for a quick trip to the store or to run errands on the weekends? To dress down your khaki pants, simply choose a casual style top. Any t-shirt will look great with a pair of khakis – untucked or tucked in.
Wear your favorite old-school band tee, or choose a solid black, white, or colored t-shirt – seasonally appropriate colors, of course. Long-sleeved waffle or henley shirts for fall. Casual sweaters or comfy hoodies and sweatshirts whenever there’s a chill. For hotter weather, cropped tanks and spaghetti straps look great when paired with khakis.
Sneakers are a match made in heaven when it comes to a casual, dressed-down shoe option to pair with khaki pants. All white tennis shoes are classic and cool – but even running and athletic shoes can create a trendy everyday look. Boat shoes and sandals – from strappy to flip-flop to sandals with heels – are a great choice for summer, and provide another, almost limitless, option for casual footwear.
Does Khaki Go with Black?
Not only does khaki go with black, but it also goes with black about any situation! Black is a safe color to choose when looking for a dressed-up look, but it can create a casual look just as easily. If you do happen to have that interview – pairing a professional black shirt with a pair of khakis will make you look thoughtful, clean, and put-together.
If you’re looking for a comfy outfit for an evening stroll by the beach – pair your khakis with a loose black tank. Black can be worn in any season – without fail, just make sure to choose a top in the right style to match.
Khaki pants can be worn with shirts in neutral tones, as well as just about every color of the rainbow. Khakis are a classic option for the workplace during the week, a trendy choice for a night on the town, or a relaxing weekend look while out and about or at home. To say that khakis are versatile is almost an understatement. Now that you know to style khakis for every occasion during any season – if you don’t already own a pair – will khaki pants be your next clothing purchase?!