Dockers Is Turning 30, So We Rounded Up The Biggest Moments in Khaki History

We’ve all had a bad pair of khakis. Pleated, overly baggy, an unfortunate counterpart to an XL blue Oxford and those regrettable square-toed shoes. Yup, the ’90s happened. We’re getting over it.

But the truth is, khakis have come a long way since those early days of the Business Casual Revolution. And the company we have to thank — for all of it — is Dockers. That bastion of American Prep has been churning out taupe trousers for 30 years now. They got us into this mess, and by god, they’ll be damned if they won’t get us out, too.

That’s been the personal mission for Doug Conklyn, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer at Dockers, since he started there in 2010. First, he launched the Alpha Khaki — a skinny fit with added stretch — followed by four similarly elegant cuts (Jean Cut, Broken-in, Clean Khaki and Best Pressed).

His latest project is the 30th Anniversary collection. “It was my own little dream of paying respect to the two things that I really love, which are menswear and khaki,” says Conklyn, “so I thought it would be interest- ing to do everything in a khaki cloth. It’s a pretty exciting time to be thinking about the future of khaki.”


The four-look capsule features head-to-toe khaki outfits, with everything from trousers to cable-knit sweaters to double monk strap shoes. Sure, you could wear all of it to work — but you’ll also want to wear it everywhere else.

To celebrate Dockers’ 30th anniversary, we’ve rounded up some of the best moments in Khaki history, as annontated by Dockers’ Doug Conklyn.

Great Moments in Khakis


Khaki cloth (from the Hindustani khak, meaning “dirt”) is developed as uniforms for the British Corps of Guides in India.

“Few brands are so closely aligned with a colour, but Dockers and khaki, you can’t say one without thinking the other.”



Khaki cloth is used to make uniforms for the U.S. Army in WWII. After the war, the pants are repurposed for everyday wear.


The all-time best khaki wearer? JFK. In a boat. Hands down.


“With changing tastes and styles and the casualization of the world, the khaki, and in particular the Dockers khaki, became that presentable casual option.”


Levi Strauss & Co. launches Dockers, and their take on the khaki quickly becomes the casual workwear uniform of choice.

“We were born out of California, at a time where things were changing in men’s fashion — what the business uniform was, and what it became.”



Office Space skewers the corporate world, including business casual clothing — pleated, billowing khakis and dress pants abound.

“When the brand started, it was a little revolutionary. A guy wearing Dockers to the office was a rebel. But over time it became the very uniform that it sought to break.”


The rerelease of Take Ivy, a photo journal of American collegiate style, signals the return of preppy classics in modern menswear.


Dockers turns 30, releases a ridiculously on-point all-khaki collection.

“It’s a celebration of menswear and respect for the industry and for this thing that we do, which is that we really respect classic, iconic menswear.”