18 May 2010

The Army Khaki

Ft Bliss, TX 1960

High rise and heavy starch

That's the old man on the left with a crusty 1st Sergeant on the right who looks like he took very little bullshit from anyone. Notice the high rise of the pant on the close up? Today, and I have no idea why, most khakis have a very low rise. Almost like a bikini bottom - not that I know what wearing a bikini bottom is like.

The army issue pant was comfortable and when it was not heavily starched the seat hung down in a not so attractive way. Especially if you were carrying a large wallet. That's why they looked so much better with heavy starch. And when I say heavy - I mean so heavy you'd have to cut the leg opening with a knife. Frequent washing improved how the cotton took to starch.

You can almost see my father's gig line where the shirt placket and fly seam of the pant are lined up with the web belt buckle's left edge . I still do this but not with popover shirts.

There were wash and wear khaki uniforms available for purchase at the P.X. but enlisted men were issued (three?) sets of the cotton khaki uniform until they were phased out in 1985 which was about the time I discovered Duck Head khakis. I was just thinking...I enlisted in the army 34 years ago today.


Anonymous said...

I remember my dad in khakis, just like these. He would also wear the older pairs at home with his civilian shirts and black loafers. He lived in them.

When I was really young, I would reach into his pocket for his Wrigley's Juicy Fruit. Not only did the gum's color match the color of his trousers, but also, the chevron-shaped marks on each gum stick seemed to match the pattern of my dad's SFC insignia. This was West Germany, the early '60s. Even many of the VWs of the era were exactly khaki colored. Or a beautiful dove gray.

I clearly thought everything was army issue.


tintin said...

DB- That's the problem growing up on army posts. I don't remember my dad's pants as much as I remember that belt.

BigDaddyMan said...

Have you ever seen anyone wearing the gosh-awful light green shirt or dark green trouser in civilian life? They probably ended up in Third World-bound bundles next to all those "Buffalo Bills - Super Bowl Champions" tee-shirts. Unfortunately that's the only uniform I ever got to wear. I envied the Navy for their uniforms (but we didn't have Naval ROTC at my college and I'm a little afraid of water).

Linda & Doug said...

Interesting to see Ft. Bliss 1960. I took basic there beginning October 1966, then on to armor recon and signal ocs at Ft. Gordon. Still miss those khaki's. Super starched in ocs, to be bullit proof

martylane_2001 said...

Tintin, I always enjoy your Army posts. It was 27 year ago this past April I enlisted. I most remember my Dad's fatigues coming back from the cleaners so heavily starched they were like cardboard. I did the same with my woodland pattern BDUs in the '80s, and still do today with my khakis and even my OCBDs -- gig line and all.