Does Black Go With Khaki?

by Tarah Damask
A Jean-Paul Gaultier model pairs khaki with black on the runway at Paris Fashion Week in Paris, France.

A Jean-Paul Gaultier model pairs khaki with black on the runway at Paris Fashion Week in Paris, France.

Sure, there are certain colors that you just don't pair with khaki -- a red shirt and khaki pants can quickly make you look like you're donning a sales associate uniform -- but black and khaki can present quite a beautiful look when you wear them right. While a black polo and khakis may push you into unintentional I'm-going-golfing-territory, making careful garment selections can lead to visually interesting color palettes for a chic look.

Accent Color

For a completely foolproof approach to mixing black and khaki, use one color as the main color in your outfit and the other as an accent color. For example, pull on a black sheath dress and black ballet flats, and top your look with a cropped khaki pea-coat-style jacket. In cooler temps, combine a black crew-neck sweater with black straight-leg jeans and chestnut-colored leather booties. Wrap up in a khaki trench coat and you're done.

Third Color's The Charm

Since khaki and black are both neutrals, including a third color that they both coordinate with is a surefire way to make sure they'll work together. If you're looking to infuse your outfit with a bit of color but nothing too bold, go for an accessory in a muted tone, such as blue-gray shoes or a reddish-brown leather handbag. For a more vibrant effect, reach for a saturated accessory like a cobalt blue bag. Start with a black-and-khaki outfit, such as a pair of wide-leg deep-hued khaki pants with a black blouse, and then slide your feet into high-heel strappy sandals in the color of your choice. Alternately, go for black shoes and a colorful clutch.

Pull In Prints

Khaki and black work beautifully together in prints -- take cheetah, for example -- which you can pair with solids of either color. For a bolder choice, reach for a garment in a colorful print and use khaki and black as your grounding neutrals -- try straight-leg satin pants with an all-over jewel-tone print, a khaki blouse and black flats or pumps. To keep things neutral but with a strong pop of interest, add a neutral print. For example, pair a black blouse with slim-leg khakis and black-and-white zebra-print flats or pumps.

Denim Definition

If you're the type of woman who practically lives in denim, that's perfect: Black and khaki come together beautifully with denim. Choose either a black or khaki garment to pair with your jeans, and then incorporate the leftover neutral -- either black or khaki -- in the form of an accessory. For instance, start with a black V-neck sweater with dark blue skinny jeans and black ankle boots; add a khaki canvas bag and your look is polished and cool. Or pull on a khaki-hued blouse -- reach for a silky T-shirt style -- with a pair of light-rinse boyfriend jeans rolled a couple of times at the ankles, and slide your feet into nude suede flats or pumps. Pull in a black accessory or two, such as a black moto-style jacket and black clutch, and you're done and done.

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About the Author

Tarah Damask's writing career began in 2003 and includes experience as a fashion writer/editor for Neiman Marcus, short fiction publications in "North Texas Review," a self-published novel, band biographies, charter school curriculum and articles for various websites. Damask holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of North Texas.

Photo Credits

  • Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images