Deciding which type of pant is right for you can be hard when there are so many options. Different pants may be better for different situations as well. For example, you may be able to wear khakis to work, but can you wear jeans? Trying to find the perfect pant often leads to more questions, like: should you wear jeans or khakis? What’s the difference between them anyway?
So, what is the difference and are khaki pants considered jeans? Khaki pants are not considered jeans as they are both made of different materials. So, the only similarity the two share is that they are both pants. Jeans are made of strong, durable denim while khakis are made of a lighter-weight material called cotton twill fabric.
So, which pants is the right one for you, jeans or khakis? Keep reading to try to find out!
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What Are Khakis?
Many people know of the color khaki because of the pants, but the pants actually originated from the color. The word khaki comes from India and it means soil-colored or dusty.
Khaki pants were originally made soil-colored so British soldiers could blend in with their surroundings as their uniform used to be entirely khaki-colored in World War 2.
Following the war, khaki pants began to grow in popularity as soldiers coming home from war used to wear their khaki uniform pants casually out or to school. They were seen as rugged, casual pants suited for working men or to wear in daily life.
Levi Strauss & Co even released a pair of khakis to their line in 1955, formally changing khakis from army-wear into daily wear.
The twill and cotton khakis are made to make them strong, durable pants. The stitching tends to be visible on khaki pants which is what separates them from chinos whose stitching is concealed as the two pants look similar.
What Are Jeans?
Jeans are arguably one of the most, if not the most, popular type of pants in the United States. They have actually been around since 1873 when they were patented by the popular jeans company Levi Strauss & Co.
Since their creation, jeans have been changed and adapted to fit many different styles. Cuts and styles of jeans for men today include skinny, slim, regular, relaxed or loose.
The common denominator and what makes pants jeans is the material they’re made of. Jeans are made from denim or dungaree cloth. Jeans are typically blue because the material is dyed blue with indigo dye. In fact, 20 thousand tons of indigo dye is produced yearly just to dye jeans in the United States.
Jeans were originally invented for miners to use while they were working since denim is tough. While they are still worn for manual labor today, jeans tend to be worn more casually now.
Which Pant is Right for You?
So, are jeans or khakis the right pant for you? Jeans and khakis are quite different pants and boast different styles, so there are pros and cons to both. Which pant you choose also depends on when and where you are going to wear them as they are not really interchangeable. For example, khakis may be good to a formal event, but not to a BBQ like jeans would be. To figure out which pant is best for your situation, keep reading to find out the pros and cons to both.
Pros of Wearing Khakis
Though khakis are durable, they are also soft, lightweight and comfortable. This makes them good for daily wear whether casually or for work. Some people have said that khakis are even comfortable enough to wear to bed, though we wouldn’t recommend that.
The good thing about khakis is that they can be worn in a business casual environment or a more informal one. Their versatility means you can dress them up or down depending on where you’re going. Wear them with a dress shirt or button down to work or wear them with a simple t-shirt to wear them to go out.
Khakis are so comfortable and light-weight that they are a good pair of pants to wear through any season. Even in the heat they are still comfortable pants to wear and will make you look more put together than shorts.
Though khakis are traditionally khaki-color to match their name, they now come in many colors like navy, grey or black to make them look even classier and dressy. They can sometimes even pass as suit pants in other colors. You could have multiple colors of khakis to complete your wardrobe.
Khakis are also great formal pants because of their tailoring and finish. Khakis tend to have finer seams than jeans which make them look more presentable. The pockets on khakis are also neatly sewn and hidden away to present a polished look. There are only two pockets on the front and two on the back for khakis, any more than that and the pants would then be considered cargo pants.
Cons of Wearing Khakis
Since khakis are made of a lighter material, they tend to be less durable than jeans. This means they may not be good for manual labor jobs that will put wear and tear on the pants.
Khakis are also seen as more formal pants, so although they are comfortable, wearing them casually may be harder, but not impossible, to pull off than with jeans.
Another con can be caring for your khakis. Since they are more formal pants, they can be hard to wash and iron. Khakis can be machine washed, but should be hung up to air dry afterward. Khakis may also need to be ironed to preserve their formal, polished look.
Lastly, khakis tend to only come in one, straight-legged style. This makes them less versatile style-wise than other pants like jeans. Khakis tend to be mid-rise pants, fitted, with no pleats. While this is a good, classic look, it is hard to be adventurous stylistically when wearing them.
Pros of Wearing Jeans
Since jeans are made of denim, a strong, durable material, they tend to be a tough pants. While this can be a problem for people who want to wear jeans while lounging around, it is great for people doing manual labor.
Jeans are great for manual labor workers like those in construction, miners, waste collectors or gardeners. This is because their tough and durable material can protect workers’ legs from getting scratched.
The durability of jeans is not only good for manual labor, but for the longevity of the pants. Jeans can be worn and washed constantly for years and still be wearable.
Other than for manual labor, jeans tend to be worn casually since office jobs or places that require a business casual dress code do not allow jeans. With so many different types of jeans though, there are plenty of opportunities to wear them outside of work.
Finding a style that suits you may be complicated at first with so many different fits and colors available, but once you find your style, it opens up a world of possibilities.
You can style your jeans with multiple different outfits and owning multiple pairs of jeans is possible in different colors or cuts. Even though jeans are typically worn casually, you can dress them up with a button down shirt and dress shoes for a date night.
Cons of Wearing Jeans
Since jeans are made to be durable and long-lasting, some people’s complaint about wearing them is that they can be stiff. This may make jeans uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.
The upside to this is that jeans may start out stiff, but as you wear them more often and break them in, they will stretch and fit better. Ensuring your jeans are the right fit for you is important as well. Skinny jeans are a good look, but if they’re too tight, they can even cut off circulation.
This leads into another con that some people have with jeans: finding the right size. Jean sizes tend to vary depending on the store and fit. This means that even if you know your jean size at one store, it may differ if you buy the same size at another. Making sure you try on your jeans before you buy them can counteract that though.
So, Jeans or Khaki Pants?
Ultimately, both jeans and khaki pants have pros and cons. Since jeans and khakis are completely different pants, which one you choose is dependent on the situation.
Jeans are a great pant to wear for manual labor or in casual situations, but they are not good for a business casual setting.
Not considered as jeans, Khakis are more versatile in this sense that you can wear them to work, but also dress them down for a less formal occasion.
There are not many situations where khakis and jeans are interchangeable though, so why can’t you own a pair of both?
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