Slacks for boys and young men in the 1950s and 60s were commonly called chinos in America. They were commonly worn in highschools at a time that jeans still were not permitted. The most popular chinos were khaki, but they came in other colors as well. Khaki was so common that the pants were also called khakis. There is a fascinating history behind khaki chinos. Khaki originated as the name of a color. Chino became the name of a fabric. Today the term khaki and chino are synonymous with a cotton casual pant, although chino is less commonly used today. They are not asopular with boys and teenagers as they once were.
British and other European armies are knoted for fighting wars in brightly colored uniforms. Every American schoolboy knows how the bright scarlet tunics of the Red Coats made idea targets for the Minutemen of Concord and Lexington. But this was not how European wars were fought. There was no attempt at concealment. This practice continued through the Napoleonic Wars into the 19th century. As with many clothing terms, khaki emerged from India and the British Raj. Sir Harry Lumsden in 1846 commanded a British army unit in the Punjab. The uniform at the time included resplendent white trousers worn with red tunics. He began wearing pajama bottoms, primarily to find a more comfortable alternative to the regulaton trousers in the tropical Punjab heat. The pajamas were of a lighter material and less tightly fitted. To desguise them somewhat, he decided to color them with a dye that would blend in with the local terrain. He decided to use mazari, a native plant. As a result they were called khakis from the Hindu (Urdu) word for "dust". Lumsden soon realized that his new uniform has another advantage than just comfort. His new khaki uniform trousers pants were more suitable in battle than the very conspicuous white pants and red tunic. There were real advantages to being able to blend in with the terine. The British Army introduced khaki uniforms to British colonial troops in India in 1848. It would be many years before khaki became standard issue in the British army. The British used khaki uniformd for the Kaffir War in South Africa during 1851. After the Sudan Wars and Afghan Campaign of 1878, the British Arny adopted khaki in 1884 as the official uniform. Khaki-color dye was patented in 1884. After the British, several other countries adopted khaki for their armies. The American Army adopted khaki and it was used in the Spanish-American War during 1898.
The first chinos were U.S. Army military issue pants. They were called chinos because they were made in China. The Spanish term for Chinese is Chino. One might ask why America used a Spanish term. One of the results of the Spanish-American War was the American acquisition of the Philippine Islands. As a Spanih colony, Spanish was widely spoken in the Philippines and after the American administration began, many Spanish terms entered the American lexicon. The British khakis duplicated in China and sold at low-cost to American soldiers in the Philippines. Military chinos have no pleats and wwere tapered at the leg bottom, primariy to conserve fabric. Chinos were used by the military through World War II.
When soldiers returned to civilian life they continued to wear their military chinos especially to college and became an important partof the preppy look with button-down shirts and penny-loafers. Brooks bros started carrying chinos in 1942. Chinos began to vbe commonly worn by teenagers in highschools. Slacks for boys and young men in the 1950s and 60s werethus commonly called chinos in America. They were commonly worn in highschools at a time that jeans still were not permitted. The most popular chinos were khaki, but they came in other colors as well. Khaki was so common that the pants were also called khakis. There is a fascinating history behind khaki chinos.
Chinos ar commonly seen as cotton twill fabric. They are not always a twill, but have to be a firm weave. Chinos are often khaki color, but there are also made in other countries. Today the term khaki and chino are synonymous with a cotton casual pant, although chino is less commonly used today. They are not asopular with boys and teenagers as they once were.
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