What Color Socks with Khaki Pants?

Khaki pants have long been a core item in men’s attire. They match well with a variety of shirts, shoes and socks and are ideal for casual office wear and travel attire. In this article we’ll answer a question that we get frequently asked: “What color socks do I wear with khaki pants?

Origin of Khaki Pants

The word khaki is derived from the Urdu and Persian words for dust, a word that perfectly describes the color. Khaki-colored pants were first introduced by the British Indian Army in the mid-nineteenth century and then became commonplace with militaries around the globe during the first and second World Wars.

Khaki Uniform with British Indian ArmyKhaki-colored uniforms in the British Indian Army. Photo: Medium.

 

Khaki pants were introduced to American consumers by Levi Strauss in 1905, which marketed them as appropriate wear for office workers. Following World War II, khakis saw a surge in popularity and are still a staple in menswear today.

What Color Socks to Wear with Khakis

The longstanding rule of menswear is to match your socks with your pants. For many darker colors, this monochromatic look can be very powerful but with other colors, such as khaki, this isn’t the case. Matching khaki colors in an outfit is a bit like an all-brown ensemble; too much of it can create a very unflattering look.

Khaki Socks

Of course there are khaki socks that can be worn with khaki pants. The trick with matching your khaki pants is that there are so many shades of khaki pants, from almost white to a dark tan. As pointed out above, creating a monochromatic khaki look is not necessarily desirable.

Dark Khaki Socks with Khaki Pants and Brown ShoesOur khaki wool socks paired with khaki pants. Photo: After the Suit

 

Wearing khaki socks that are a slightly darker shade than your khaki pants, as shown above, will look tasteful. The yarns used to knit our khaki socks are dyed to be a neutral shade of khaki that will go well with virtually any shade of khaki pants.

Brown Socks

Brown socks go well with khaki pants, but they absolutely must be paired with brown shoes. Brown socks will serve as a great transition from khaki-colored pants to brown shoes for a classic look. We recommend breaking up the tan and brown colors with a primary color (red, yellow and blue) or pastel-colored shirt.

Khaki Pants with Brown Socks

Brown socks with khaki pants and olive bit loafers.

Olive Socks

In addition to brown and khaki, most earthy tones will coordinate well with tan trousers. One of our favorite looks is pairing olive socks with khaki pants, as shown below. This look is particularly sharp with mid to lighter-colored khaki pants. Be sure to complete the ensemble with a pair of brown shoes.

Khaki Pants with Olive SocksOlive socks with khaki pants and brown penny loafers.

Navy Socks

Depending upon the color of your shirt, navy socks can pair well with khakis. For example, navy socks with khakis and a black shirt would not be a good choice. In that instance you should opt for black socks. 

If instead you wear an orange, yellow, red or blue shirt, navy socks would be perfectly appropriate. If you opt for navy patterned socks, consider coordinating the color of your shirt with the colors in the sock pattern. With navy socks and khaki pants, we again recommend completing the look with brown shoes and a brown belt.

Black Socks

Can you wear black socks with khakis? We believe you can, but you must wear black shoes and a dark shirt. For example, a black knit shirt paired with khaki pants, black socks and black shoes would be appropriate.

Colorful Sock Options

For a more colorful ensemble, think a little outside of the box when choosing your sock color. Rust orange socks look great with khakis and a somewhat counter-intuitive option is deep purple. Rich purple socks won’t be garish and will blend with khaki pants while not appearing clownish.

Colorful Dress Socks
Don't be afraid to wear colorful socks with khaki pants.

 

Another colorful option is to sport a pastel colored shirt with your khaki pants. In these situations, simply coordinate the color of your shirt and the color of your socks. This will help to keep your look from being too dusty in nature. If you really want to show off a splash of color in your socks, slightly roll the cuffs of your khaki pants.

What Color Socks with Brown Shoes and Khakis?

Our friends at Bespoke Unit, a gentleman’s lifestyle blog, wrote a great article on styling shoes with khaki pants. As they astutely point out, khaki pants with brown shoes is a classic combination. These earthy tones go very well together but bear in mind that your shoes and belt should match - brown shoes necessitate a brown belt.

Khaki Socks with Khaki Pants and Suede ShoesKhaki pants with khaki socks and brown suede shoes. Photo: After the Suit

 

With brown shoes and khakis, the best sock colors to coordinate with are earthy tones such as brown, khaki and olive. 

Khakis with Black Shoes

You most frequently see brown shoes paired with khaki pants but, when coordinated with the right ensemble, black shoes will work as well. To pair khaki pants with black shoes, your best option will be dark socks such as black. In these instances, be sure to also wear a dark shirt and black belt that matches with your shoes.

Black Shoes with Khaki Pants
Black shoes with khaki pants. Photo: GQ

 

Menswear can be more imaginative than simply matching your socks and pants. As you can see, there are plenty of colors of socks that you can tastefully blend with khaki pants. We hope that this article has been helpful.

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