Charles Dana

Honors Member
PART XI— A FEW STORIES FROM THE 1920s

What follows are excerpts from newspaper articles. Evidently khaki trousers in the 1920s were still enough of a novelty to warrant being mentioned when the subjects of the articles were wearing such garments.

(As I compiled the selections below, I was reminded that studying the history of a garment—in this case, khaki trousers—is a good way to learn about broader social history as well, because you also incidentally learn about the context in which the garment was worn.)

******

First, two articles with a Presidential theme, one of them with sad overtones.

March 23, 1923
From the New York Times:

“Titusville, a wee speck of a town to the south [of Daytona, Florida], was thrilled and amused today by the sight of President Harding,...riding through the streets in a new Ford. The President...was on a sightseeing tour....”

He was accompanied by one Secret Service agent.

The Times article explained that President Harding decided to go for a walk while his vacation houseboat was gassing up at a Titusville dock. But the warm weather caused the President to look for a car he could hire so that he could ride the rest of the way.

A car was hailed. “It happened to be a new Ford, driven by a young man wearing khaki trousers and a flannel shirt and no hat.”

President Harding and the Secret Service agent climbed into the back seat and off they went.

August 5, 1923
The New York Times:

[President Harding died unexpectedly in San Francisco on August 2, 1923. Vice President Calvin Coolidge then assumed the Presidency.]

“YOUNG ‘CAL’ COOLIDGE WORKS ON A FARM”

“Upon the tobacco farm of Dickinson & Day at Hatfield, Mass., Calvin Coolidge Jr., 14-year-old son of the President of the United States, is daily sweating away under the heat of the broiling Summer sun as he bundles up tobacco leaves and places them on laths to dry in the sheds. Khaki trousers, worn shoes and a collarless shirt are the clothes worn by the Coolidge heir, who is taciturn and silent, like his father....”

[Tragically, the junior Calvin Coolidge died at age sixteen on July 7,1924. A week previously, the boy had been playing tennis with his older brother. A blister formed on young Cal’s toe, which became infected. The resulting blood poisoning was fatal. (Penicillin treatments—which can cure such an illness today—were not yet available in 1924.)]

Here’s a link to an article about the death of Calvin Coolidge Jr., accompanied by a photo of the boy at work on the tobacco farm. He is wearing the type of shirt and khaki trousers mentioned in the New York Times article.

https://www.coolidgefoundation.org/blog/the-medical-context-of-calvin-jr-s-untimely-death/

******

In the 1920s, taking long, long summertime hikes seems to have been a thing with young women. Of course, they wore khaki attire, which was almost obligatory outing clobber by then.

July 4, 1921
The New York Times:

“2 TEACHERS ON LONG HIKE”

According to the article, the two teachers—from Yonkers, New York—wanted to spend their summer vacation in Utica, 240 miles away. They decided to walk there “just for the good of [their] health and the novelty.”

“The young women were clad in khaki and carried knapsacks. Some who saw them said one of them carried a big revolver in a holster.”

July 19, 1921
The New York Times:

“GIRL HIKERS HOME”

“Two attractive young women stepped off a train at the Grand Central Terminal...and their arrival here marked the completion of a 4,500-mile hike from San Francisco, during which, they said, they found the Western desert wastes far safer for young women than the Bronx or Brooklyn.”

The mother of one of the hikers said that they had “abandoned their khaki-trousers outfit at Syracuse and came home wearing skirts....”

August 12, 1925
From the Bakersfield Californian newspaper:

“With their only luggage on their backs, four girls, dressed in khaki hiking clothes prepared for whatever hardships they may endure, stopped at the El Capitan hotel [in Merced] en route to the Yosemite Valley by the ‘hitch-and-hike’ method of traveling.”

The girls were students at Hunter College in New York City, where their journey had begun. They had “hitched” and “hiked” clear across the United States, stopping to linger in various cities.

******

Something tells me that Harold, despite his khaki trousers, was no early version of a preppie:

January 28, 1923
The New York Times:

Agents of the United States Department of Justice and the United States Secret Service, as well as local police investigators in Louisiana, were on the hunt for one Harold Teegestrom. They believed that his testimony would prove valuable in a case against the Ku Klux Klan members who were accused of killing two men.

As of January 28, 1923, the authorities had been searching for Teegestrom for a month. A tip led them to Shrewsbury, Louisiana. Near that town, a “stranger wearing khaki trousers and walking with a limp and who in every way resembled photographs and the description of Teegestrom” flagged down a car and asked the driver for directions to the nearest northbound road. The article states that the man in khaki told the driver, “‘I want to get to Canada, but I’ve got to walk it.’”

Near Shrewsbury, residents reportedly saw “the stranger leave the highway and go into a thicket.” Authorities searched the vegetation but didn’t find anyone.

******

Khaki garments were popular “outing” attire by the 1920s, but so were corduroy trousers. Tweed, too, was still an option.

October 2, 1927
The Los Angeles Times:

An article about the Yosemite Valley by Lannie Haynes Martin begins as follows:

“If any one else, besides myself, has lived twenty-five years in California and has never seen the Yosemite Valley, let him put on the sack-cloth of repentance, some serviceable tweed, khaki or corduroy, and make a pilgrimage, afoot if he cannot make it otherwise, for the experience would be well worth the tedious, toilsome journey.“

******

Just as it was in the first decade of the 20th Century, khaki clothing was standard hunting attire by the 1920s:

August 1, 1928
The Los Angeles Times:

“DEER SEASON OPENS IN COAST COUNTIES TODAY”

“Thousands of huntsmen, attired in cow-hide boots and khaki, and equipped with the finest products of Messrs. Winchester, Remington and the Chicago hi-jackers [Prohibition was still in effect, with ramifications that, to put it mildly, touched the Windy City], leave the city this morning for the [coastal California] wilds of Ventura and Santa Barbara, where it’s open season on does and Auto Club signs.”

******

NEXT: Khaki in the 1930s
 
Last edited:

Charles Dana

Honors Member
PART XII—KHAKI TROUSER ADVERTISEMENTS FROM THE 1930s

In the 1930s, newspaper advertisements for khaki trousers continued the trend of portraying them mainly as attire for work and for “outings” such as hiking, fishing, hunting, and camping. However, the decade also saw three new developments in the realm of khaki-related advertising:

(a) In a December 1937 ad, a sporting goods store in San Francisco referred to their line of khaki pants as “CHINO-KHAKI TROUSERS.” This is the earliest ad I’ve seen in which a retailer used the word “chino” to refer to the khakis that it was selling in the civilian market. Earlier ads may well have included the word, but if that was the case, I didn’t locate any of them. (Although “chino” appears often in early-1940s advertisements for military-related clothing, the word in relation to civilian cotton twill trousers didn’t gain popularity until the late 1940s.)

(b) In May 1938, Sears, Roebuck and Company stated that their “outing khakis” were also desirable as “knock about wear.” That marked the first instance (that I found) in which a merchant explicitly described khaki trousers in that manner. Serving as “knock about” clothing had been one of the pants’ roles for years, given how ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive they were. Still, khakis had mainly been portrayed as work and outing pants. Sears then turned a de facto use for khakis—knocking about—into an “official” one. (I can’t rule out the possibility that other retailers may have beaten Sears to the punch in referring to khakis as something like “knock about” pants.)

(c) Brooks Brothers, in a June 1938 advertisement in The Daily Princetonian, offered, among other things, warm-weather “Odd Trousers” in khaki-colored “cotton drill” (which is cotton twill, which is what khaki trousers are generally made of).

Until June 1938, khaki cotton drill pants had generally not been promoted as “Odd Trousers”—something to be worn with sport coats—for warm weather. Instead, white flannels or linen would have done the trick.

This BB ad represents an evolution in the marketing of khakis. It seems to be an early version of the “dress chinos” ads that are prevalent these days. Perhaps it was World War II, perhaps it was a matter of trying to market something before its time, but BB doesn’t seem to have pushed its cotton drill odd trousers too aggressively. The ad didn’t appear in The Daily Princetonian again.

(In the early 1940s, another retailer did advertise dressy cotton trousers to the Princeton kids, but I’m getting ahead of myself.) For the duration of the 1930s, the familiar gabardine, flannel, and cover cloth trousers, rather than dressy khakis, continued to be popular in the Ivy League.

******

Here’s a sampling of 1930s newspaper ads—including the three I mentioned above—related to khaki trousers:

From the New York Times
May 27, 1930

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. said in an ad:

“The Sons of Sportsmen”
“It is not surprising that the sons of men who are our old customers should come here for all their sports clothes and equipment. Our boys’ clothing is made up along the same sturdy lines as the fathers’ both in tailoring and materials....”

Some of the goods available:

Blazers, beach robes, sweat shirts, riding breeches, boots and shoes, jodhpurs, linen knickers, flannel trousers, khaki trousers, camelhair polo coats, etc.

******

San Francisco Chronicle
February 19, 1932

The Ellery Arms Company, a sporting goods store in San Francisco, was having “A Sale of Importance.”

Ellery Arms made a distinction between “sports wear” and “athletes’ apparel.” For fun, I’ll show how they broke it down:

SPORTS WEAR
Riding breeches, golf suits, swimming suits, leather coats, golf sweaters, pullover and sweater sets, white flannel pants, duck pants, khaki pants, golf knickers, khaki breeches, flannel and sports shirts, golf hose, driving gloves, hunting coats, suede coats, Mackinaw coats, robes, hunting vests, and “other items in Sports Wear.”

ATHLETES’ APPAREL
Sweat shirts, gym pants, gym uppers, athletic jerseys, baseball uniforms, swimming trunks, tights, sweat pants, football pants

SHOES
Men’s, women’s, and boys’ “sport shoes,” Munson army shoes, golf oxfords, “Outing Boots of all kinds,” English walking shoes, “Ellery” no-leak boots, ski shoes, snow and ski moccasins, rancher boots, wading boots, leather leggings, elk boots, running shoes, baseball shoes, track shoes, jumping shoes, boxing shoes, spike shoes, cross-country shoes, wrestling shoes, gym shoes, bowling shoes, football shoes, soccer shoes, skate shoes, basketball shoes, acrobat shoes

******

June 10, 1932
Oakland Tribune

A store called “Money-Back Smith” in Oakland was offering these “vacation specials”:

“MEN’S KHAKI CLOTHES FOR SUMMER COMFORT-WEAR”
Men’s khaki outing shirts, $1.25
Men’s khaki hiking breeches, $2.50
Men’s khaki long pants, $1.65
Men’s whipcord breeches, $2.50
Men’s all-wool sleeveless sweaters, $1.95

******

June 17, 1932
The Woodland Daily Democrat (a Northern California newspaper) had this one from Gardiner’s Department Store (“THE STORE THAT SELLS THE BEST FOR LESS”):

“MEN’S KHAKI WORK TROUSERS“
“Levi Strauss and Crown made of heavy khaki cloth, with welted seams, and cuff bottoms.” Regularly $1.50, now $1.39

******

March 26, 1933
Los Angeles Times

A retailer called “The Famous Department Store” in Los Angeles was having a sale on Stronghold brand trousers, intended for rugged work and camping, and on Hendan brand semi-dress trousers. The difference?

Three types of Stronghold trousers were on sale: Overalls; black jeans (but “made like dress pants with side and watch pockets, 2 flapped hip pockets, and cuffs”); and “Khaki Pants” made of the “highest quality olive drab khaki twill tailored the Stronghold way, guaranteed not to rip. Cuffs, the usual pockets. For work, camping, etc.”

The overalls were on sale for 79¢; the jeans and khaki pants, 98¢.

The Hendan “semi-dress” trousers that were on sale were the “Sophomore Blue,” at $1.00 a pair (normally $6.00). “College men, especially sophomores, know all about these pants....Not only worn by college men, but unsurpassed for semi-dress and work. Heavy blue wool mixed fabric.” [The ad isn’t specific about the other components of the mixture.]

******

June 8, 1934
Spokane Daily Chronicle

Sears, Roebuck and Co.

WORK PANTS
Men’s khaki twill trousers of medium weight. Sizes 30-44. “Well tailored.” $1.00

KHAKI SLACKS
Boys’ play slacks with roomy pockets. Good for vacation wear. $1.00

******

July 26, 1935
The Oakland Tribune presented an ad for a store that was selling:

“Men’s Smart Outing Apparel”
Men’s khaki hiking pants, $2.15 and $2.65

...and men’s whipcord hiking and riding breeches, $2.65 and $3.65

Also all-wool “slacks” for $3.45

******

San Francisco Examiner
June 21, 1936

Weinstein Co. wanted the readers to know that they were offering:

Men’s pants, $1.69 to $2.45
Pre-shrunk in khaki, white duck, moleskin, and whipcord. Also wool knickers.

Men’s work shirts, 79¢ or two for $1.00
Pre-shrunk in khaki, blue, or gray
“Heavy quality shirts”

******

August 16, 1935
Reno Evening Gazette

National Dollar Stores—

MEN’S PANTS in all sizes
“Khaki pants—pants in Sanforized white duck, striped cottonmade, and hard-finished materials.” $1.29

BREECHES
“Whipcord khaki, reinforced at knee and seat. Well made. All sizes.” $1.79

******

December 15, 1937
San Francisco Examiner

Spiro’s sporting goods store:

Spiro’s, which billed itself as “the finest sporting goods store in the west,” was having a fire sale. Literally. “RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, with our counters and stockrooms fairly bulging with gorgeous gift merchandise, we experienced the stunning loss that only fire, smoke and water can bring....Fortunately, our main floor and our famous Ski Lodge remained intact; the damage having been confined to the basement section devoted to reserve stock....” Insurance settlements, which Spiro’s said were “fair and generous,” enabled the store to offer merchandise at “ridiculous prices.” Example:

“CHINO-KHAKI TROUSERS, $2.95 [regularly $4.45]”

******

May 26, 1938
Bakersfield Californian Newspaper

Sears, Roebuck and Co.

“Outing Khaki”
“Genuine Khaki drill. Just the trouser men will like for outings and knock about wear...They are Sanforized.” $1.49

******

June 1, 1938
The Daily Princetonian

From a Brooks Brothers advertisement:
“‘BROOKS WHITES’ are sensible warm weather clothes made of a great variety of materials, such as Seersucker, Linen Crash, Linen, Cotton-and-Mohair, etc....Odd Trousers may also be had in a variety of materials, including cotton drill in white, khaki or brown ($4.25 a pair); also Cotton Gabardine Tennis Shorts in either White or Tan ($4.50).”

[In March 1939, J. Press also advertised, in The Daily Princetonian, a variety of resort clothes. Among them were “mercerized twills” of unspecified colors. These would seem to be the well-off cousins of khakis and could also be regarded as an early father of “dress chinos.”]

******

NEXT: Stories from the 1930s
 
Last edited:

drpeter

Senior Member
Excellent as always, Charles.

Your mention of the various uses of khaki pants brought to mind one of the practices I knew about back in my old country. In the Indian Army as well as the Indian Police, khaki uniforms (trousers and shirts/jackets) were common. In the colder months in the north, especially, officers would wear a dress uniform jacket ( four pockets, four button closure, epaulets, flashes, ribbons and insignia) in the usual way, along with a white shirt and plain dark tie. And khaki trousers, of course. This meant that in the evening one could exchange the uniform jacket for a dark blue blazer, keep the rest of the uniform on, and be quite presentable at the officers club or the regimental mess hall for drinks and dinner. Yet another example of the versatility of khakis.
 

Charles Dana

Honors Member
Excellent as always, Charles.

Your mention of the various uses of khaki pants brought to mind one of the practices I knew about back in my old country. In the Indian Army as well as the Indian Police, khaki uniforms (trousers and shirts/jackets) were common. In the colder months in the north, especially, officers would wear a dress uniform jacket ( four pockets, four button closure, epaulets, flashes, ribbons and insignia) in the usual way, along with a white shirt and plain dark tie. And khaki trousers, of course. This meant that in the evening one could exchange the uniform jacket for a dark blue blazer, keep the rest of the uniform on, and be quite presentable at the officers club or the regimental mess hall for drinks and dinner. Yet another example of the versatility of khakis.
Thank you for the compliment, and for the first-hand insights regarding the sartorial legerdemain of the army and police officers in India. The details you related are just the kinds of stories I enjoy so much. I’d say the things you witnessed also show the versatility of the navy blue blazer.
 

drpeter

Senior Member
Thank you for the compliment, and for the first-hand insights regarding the sartorial legerdemain of the army and police officers in India. The details you related are just the kinds of stories I enjoy so much. I’d say the things you witnessed also show the versatility of the navy blue blazer.
Agreed! I personally feel the navy blue blazer is perhaps the single most versatile garment in my wardrobe. It goes well with practically every other piece of clothing I own. So it's not surprising that I have close to ten of them, in various kinds of cloth -- from hopsack and worsted to cashmere and flannel. I like the gold buttons, but I am also very fond of the darker pewter, or perhaps antique silver, buttons. I do have blazers in other colours like dark maroon, dark green and grey, but they are nowhere near as versatile as the navy blue blazer.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
PART XII—KHAKI TROUSER ADVERTISEMENTS FROM THE 1930s

In the 1930s, newspaper advertisements for khaki trousers continued the trend of portraying them mainly as attire for work and for “outings” such as hiking, fishing, hunting, and camping. However, the decade also saw three new developments in the realm of khaki-related advertising:

(a) In a December 1937 ad, a sporting goods store in San Francisco referred to their line of khaki pants as “CHINO-KHAKI TROUSERS.” This is the earliest ad I’ve seen in which a retailer used the word “chino” to refer to the khakis that it was selling in the civilian market. Earlier ads may well have included the word, but if that was the case, I didn’t locate any of them. (Although “chino” appears often in early-1940s advertisements for military-related clothing, the word in relation to civilian cotton twill trousers didn’t gain popularity until the late 1940s.)

(b) In May 1938, Sears, Roebuck and Company stated that their “outing khakis” were also desirable as “knock about wear.” That marked the first instance (that I found) in which a merchant explicitly described khaki trousers in that manner. Serving as “knock about” clothing had been one of the pants’ roles for years, given how ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive they were. Still, khakis had mainly been portrayed as work and outing pants. Sears then turned a de facto use for khakis—knocking about—into an “official” one. (I can’t rule out the possibility that other retailers may have beaten Sears to the punch in referring to khakis as something like “knock about” pants.)

(c) Brooks Brothers, in a June 1938 advertisement in The Daily Princetonian, offered, among other things, warm-weather “Odd Trousers” in khaki-colored “cotton drill” (which is cotton twill, which is what khaki trousers are generally made of).

Until June 1938, khaki cotton drill pants had generally not been promoted as “Odd Trousers”—something to be worn with sport coats—for warm weather. Instead, white flannels or linen would have done the trick.

This BB ad represents an evolution in the marketing of khakis. It seems to be an early version of the “dress chinos” ads that are prevalent these days. Perhaps it was World War II, perhaps it was a matter of trying to market something before its time, but BB doesn’t seem to have pushed its cotton drill odd trousers too aggressively. The ad didn’t appear in The Daily Princetonian again.

(In the early 1940s, another retailer did advertise dressy cotton trousers to the Princeton kids, but I’m getting ahead of myself.) For the duration of the 1930s, the familiar gabardine, flannel, and cover cloth trousers, rather than dressy khakis, continued to be popular in the Ivy League.

******

Here’s a sampling of 1930s newspaper ads—including the three I mentioned above—related to khaki trousers:

From the New York Times
May 27, 1930

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. said in an ad:

“The Sons of Sportsmen”
“It is not surprising that the sons of men who are our old customers should come here for all their sports clothes and equipment. Our boys’ clothing is made up along the same sturdy lines as the fathers’ both in tailoring and materials....”

Some of the goods available:

Blazers, beach robes, sweat shirts, riding breeches, boots and shoes, jodhpurs, linen knickers, flannel trousers, khaki trousers, camelhair polo coats, etc.

******

San Francisco Chronicle
February 19, 1932

The Ellery Arms Company, a sporting goods store in San Francisco, was having “A Sale of Importance.”

Ellery Arms made a distinction between “sports wear” and “athletes’ apparel.” For fun, I’ll show how they broke it down:

SPORTS WEAR
Riding breeches, golf suits, swimming suits, leather coats, golf sweaters, pullover and sweater sets, white flannel pants, duck pants, khaki pants, golf knickers, khaki breeches, flannel and sports shirts, golf hose, driving gloves, hunting coats, suede coats, Mackinaw coats, robes, hunting vests, and “other items in Sports Wear.”

ATHLETES’ APPAREL
Sweat shirts, gym pants, gym uppers, athletic jerseys, baseball uniforms, swimming trunks, tights, sweat pants, football pants

SHOES
Men’s, women’s, and boys’ “sport shoes,” Munson army shoes, golf oxfords, “Outing Boots of all kinds,” English walking shoes, “Ellery” no-leak boots, ski shoes, snow and ski moccasins, rancher boots, wading boots, leather leggings, elk boots, running shoes, baseball shoes, track shoes, jumping shoes, boxing shoes, spike shoes, cross-country shoes, wrestling shoes, gym shoes, bowling shoes, football shoes, soccer shoes, skate shoes, basketball shoes, acrobat shoes

******

June 10, 1932
Oakland Tribune

A store called “Money-Back Smith” in Oakland was offering these “vacation specials”:

“MEN’S KHAKI CLOTHES FOR SUMMER COMFORT-WEAR”
Men’s khaki outing shirts, $1.25
Men’s khaki hiking breeches, $2.50
Men’s khaki long pants, $1.65
Men’s whipcord breeches, $2.50
Men’s all-wool sleeveless sweaters, $1.95

******

June 17, 1932
The Woodland Daily Democrat (a Northern California newspaper) had this one from Gardiner’s Department Store (“THE STORE THAT SELLS THE BEST FOR LESS”):

“MEN’S KHAKI WORK TROUSERS“
“Levi Strauss and Crown made of heavy khaki cloth, with welted seams, and cuff bottoms.” Regularly $1.50, now $1.39

******

March 26, 1933
Los Angeles Times

A retailer called “The Famous Department Store” in Los Angeles was having a sale on Stronghold brand trousers, intended for rugged work and camping, and on Hendan brand semi-dress trousers. The difference?

Three types of Stronghold trousers were on sale: Overalls; black jeans (but “made like dress pants with side and watch pockets, 2 flapped hip pockets, and cuffs”); and “Khaki Pants” made of the “highest quality olive drab khaki twill tailored the Stronghold way, guaranteed not to rip. Cuffs, the usual pockets. For work, camping, etc.”

The overalls were on sale for 79¢; the jeans and khaki pants, 98¢.

The Hendan “semi-dress” trousers that were on sale were the “Sophomore Blue,” at $1.00 a pair (normally $6.00). “College men, especially sophomores, know all about these pants....Not only worn by college men, but unsurpassed for semi-dress and work. Heavy blue wool mixed fabric.” [The ad isn’t specific about the other components of the mixture.]

******

June 8, 1934
Spokane Daily Chronicle

Sears, Roebuck and Co.

WORK PANTS
Men’s khaki twill trousers of medium weight. Sizes 30-44. “Well tailored.” $1.00

KHAKI SLACKS
Boys’ play slacks with roomy pockets. Good for vacation wear. $1.00

******

July 26, 1935
The Oakland Tribune presented an ad for a store that was selling:

“Men’s Smart Outing Apparel”
Men’s khaki hiking pants, $2.15 and $2.65

...and men’s whipcord hiking and riding breeches, $2.65 and $3.65

Also all-wool “slacks” for $3.45

******

San Francisco Examiner
June 21, 1936

Weinstein Co. wanted the readers to know that they were offering:

Men’s pants, $1.69 to $2.45
Pre-shrunk in khaki, white duck, moleskin, and whipcord. Also wool knickers.

Men’s work shirts, 79¢ or two for $1.00
Pre-shrunk in khaki, blue, or gray
“Heavy quality shirts”

******

August 16, 1935
Reno Evening Gazette

National Dollar Stores—

MEN’S PANTS in all sizes
“Khaki pants—pants in Sanforized white duck, striped cottonmade, and hard-finished materials.” $1.29

BREECHES
“Whipcord khaki, reinforced at knee and seat. Well made. All sizes.” $1.79

******

December 15, 1937
San Francisco Examiner

Spiro’s sporting goods store:

Spiro’s, which billed itself as “the finest sporting goods store in the west,” was having a fire sale. Literally. “RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, with our counters and stockrooms fairly bulging with gorgeous gift merchandise, we experienced the stunning loss that only fire, smoke and water can bring....Fortunately, our main floor and our famous Ski Lodge remained intact; the damage having been confined to the basement section devoted to reserve stock....” Insurance settlements, which Spiro’s said were “fair and generous,” enabled the store to offer merchandise at “ridiculous prices.” Example:

“CHINO-KHAKI TROUSERS, $2.95 [regularly $4.45]”

******

May 26, 1938
Bakersfield Californian Newspaper

Sears, Roebuck and Co.

“Outing Khaki”
“Genuine Khaki drill. Just the trouser men will like for outings and knock about wear...They are Sanforized.” $1.49

******

June 1, 1938
The Daily Princetonian

From a Brooks Brothers advertisement:
“‘BROOKS WHITES’ are sensible warm weather clothes made of a great variety of materials, such as Seersucker, Linen Crash, Linen, Cotton-and-Mohair, etc....Odd Trousers may also be had in a variety of materials, including cotton drill in white, khaki or brown ($4.25 a pair); also Cotton Gabardine Tennis Shorts in either White or Tan ($4.50).”

[In March 1939, J. Press also advertised, in The Daily Princetonian, a variety of resort clothes. Among them were “mercerized twills” of unspecified colors. These would seem to be the well-off cousins of khakis and could also be regarded as an early father of “dress chinos.”]

******

NEXT: Stories from the 1930s
Really, really good stuff as always.

You seem to have captured some key moments in this post - (maybe) the first use of chino for civilian advertising, BB promoting khakis as "odd trousers" (to be paired with sport coats) and Sears advertising them as "knock about" pants.

As we know, today, the terms chinos and khakis are used interchangeably, they are often paired with sport coats and often used as "knock about" pants, so it is very cool to see the first, or very early, ads promoting them this way.

Great research work.
 
Last edited:
Your email address will not be publicly visible. We will only use it to contact you to confirm your post.

IMPORTANT: BEFORE POSTING PLEASE CHECK THE DATE OF THE LAST POST OF THIS THREAD. IF IT'S VERY OLD, PLEASE CONSIDER REGISTERING FIRST, AND STARTING A NEW THREAD ABOUT THIS TOPIC.