29 March 2010

March 29th, 2010 § 19 comments

29 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Ruffled cardigan: Ann Taylor
  • Pale purple cami: Target
  • Khaki skirt: thrifted, The Limited
  • Wedges: thrifted
  • Cork bangle: don’t recall

End Notes:

I seem to be recently obsessed with soft neutrals. I mean, gray has been my favorite neutral for some time now, but I’m fine tuning this fascination even further as a new devotee of what I shall call “putty” (like this ruffled cardigan) and “smoke” (like the flowing top or color block skirt with purple undertones I wore recently). In my mind, both of these shades of gray have great potential as spring neutrals — they’re storm clouds, bare bark, fuzzy new leaf buds, and wet river rocks — as long as they’re paired judiciously.

I don’t know if I’ve paired gray and khaki together before. It’s not a natural neutral combination for me, and yet I think that this could be the key to enabling my participation in this season’s khaki trend.

Actually, can we talk about khaki for a moment here? It’s everywhere this season, in both safari and preppy incarnations. I still have vivid memories of those Gap ads in 1998 with the swing dancers wearing white tops and khaki pants. None of my friends in Hawaii wore khaki, but I remember buying a pair of khaki pants for a trip to visit mainland colleges as it somehow seemed essential to my social success. I don’t think I ended up wearing them very much, though, once I began undergrad.Then again, I wasn’t the most popular kid at college. Can I blame that on my inability to wear khaki pants seriously?

My point is, this is the first major trend repetition that I have self-consciously participated in and it’s kind of making me feel old and it’s reviving old uncertainties about the viability of khaki in my wardrobe. Except now, instead of worrying that I’ll look like a preppy high schooler I’ll worry that I look like a stereotypical suburban soccer mom. Am I the only one with such formative memories of khaki?

Anyway, while I continue to debate the merits of the new slimmer fitting, ubiquitously cuffed, repeatedly cargo-pocketed khaki pant of spring 2010, I’m counting on the classic shape of this thrifted pencil skirt to keep my neuroses at bay. It’s a tall order, but I think the gray cardigan will help.

29 March 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

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§ 19 Responses to 29 March 2010"

  1. Jenny says:

    I too am loving mute neutrals (mutrals?) for spring. That cardigan is lovely.

  2. You’re too funny. I do love that Ann Taylor cardigan. Just makes any outfit extra fun.

  3. Clare says:

    I’m with you in terms of feeling a bit apprehensive about the return of khaki. It was always one of those fabrics that I just couldn’t wear WELL. I wore it, but it never seemed right at the time, and I’m a bit worried that the same will happen this time around.

    On the other hand, I ADORE this outfit! The soft gray is just perfect, and the whole look is so springy.

  4. Sally says:

    Those ads are classic.

    And if you’re anything like me, E, you are considerably more style savvy now than you were during the undergrad years. I bet you can make khaki work for you this time around! This gorgeous ensemble is certainly a great start.

  5. I’ve always been fond of military looks, particularly antique ones. Khaki, with its Victorian military origins, is right up my alley – and I’m pleased as punch with this spring’s combo of sharp tailoring and cargo pockets.

    I love the way you’ve mixed the structured skirt with the soft top combo. The khaki, wide belt, and bangle bracelet scream “safari,” but the cardigan and cami are from a completely different style vocabulary and balance out the look beautifully!

  6. Jane W. says:

    I think you’d have to try really, really hard to look like a soccer mom! That outfit is so elegant and chic.

  7. Linda says:

    E., you look good, but I don’t really think khaki is your color. But you’re right – with the grey (especially by the face) it is OK.

  8. Mariel says:

    i need that cardigan! so pretty! :)

  9. GingerR says:

    I like outdoorsy things and khaki feels that way to me so I like it. I’m not keen on the fact that usually it’s cotton and has to be ironed, but …..

    Cammo-prints and cargo pockets are always a personal choice. You really have to look at where you intend to wear the item and how you feel about your lower half and big pockets before commiting to those variations in this genere.

    I like your color combination. These early spring days usually aren’t quite warm enough to go full-blown Southern florals, so a peek of color enveloped in the ending days of late winter always seems appropriate.

  10. I love that cardigan, and it definitely helps the skirt fit your style.

    Wait, khaki is inherently preppy? That explains why it looks bad with a lot of my clothes. In high school it fit my school’s dress code, so we paired it with t shirts and plaid and lots of random things. Recently I’ve ditched it for dark brown or gray. Maybe I could go for a preppy look, but cargo pockets and I will never get along.

  11. Melissa says:

    I will admit to being scarred by the khaki of our undergraduate years. Even the more feminine styles of that time felt/looked distinctly unisex looking back. (I’m remembering some of my outfits quite vividly)

    I’m not quite sure how I’m feeling about the trend; certainly not excited and ready to embrace with open arms. I do own one pair of dress trousers that are sort of reminiscent of a khaki color and they are my least favorite pair of pants even though they are quite flattering. I actually did pair them recently with a grey cardi (first time in combining those neutrals); I think it gave off a relaxed/casual vibe.

  12. Kathleen says:

    Love the colors! I’ll be copying you tomorrow morning with remixed items of the same colors and mix of structured and soft pieces. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Diana says:

    You make soft neutrals look absolutely stunning. I love that ruffled cardigan.

    I have to admit, while I like how Khaki looks on others, it always makes me feel washed out whenever I wear it.

  14. Charlie says:

    that looks lovely! very stylish and classy. I never wear anything khaki either, don´t know why but now that you mentioned it I just realised I never do.

  15. Kristen says:

    I hate khaki pants with a passion–glad to know it’s not just me! Like most pants, they never fit me correctly and look sloppy. I could never figure out why sloppy-looking khaki pants (or worse yet, khaki capris!) are somehow more acceptable than my sleek, dark denim pencil skirt at outdoor work events. However, I’ve been looking for a khaki-colored skirt for spring to round out my wardrobe. Thanks for an idea on how to wear it!

  16. Hazel says:

    Love this look! How do you keep the belt in place? I always have trouble with the belt hiking up when I sit, especially if the skirt doesn’t have belt-loops or if the belt is too thick for the loops. Tips?

  17. A says:

    1998!! How is it that those adds were 12 YEARS ago? Ack! I’m a big grey fan – it keeps me away from black (described as ‘too harsh’ for my skin tone by a helpful salesperson). Khaki is great on others, but I have trouble wearing it (feeling too preppy and/or too stain-prone) – perhaps it is time to give it a try :)

  18. [...] may recall my previous vacillations over the place of khaki in my wardrobe past and present, but after reading that NY Times piece yesterday I decided to give this skirt another try. I may [...]

  19. [...] and it can be skittish. In the meantime, tell me if and how you wear khaki. I seem to run into this issue frequently in springs [...]

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