The Best Men’s Khakis For Travel

Let’s begin with some timeless style advice from Esquire magazine, circa 2007: Unless you’re on safari, limit the number of khaki items in your outfit to one. Better yet, apply this rule even while on safari.

Smart. So, here’s your one khaki item for the summer of 2022: Aviator’s khaki jeans for travelers.

The Los Angeles travel lifestyle brand makes khakis that do all the things you want khakis to do. They’re exceptionally comfortable in warm weather. They’re fashionable on planes and at outdoor gatherings. And because the fabric is a blend of 73% cotton, 14% rayon, 11% polyester and 2% spandex, these khakis stretch, dry quickly, and arrive wrinkle-free even if you’re feeling slightly creased yourself after a long flight somewhere.

My family literally laughs at me because I wear Aviator all the time—when I’m traveling, to fancy events, at the gym, in bed. Shortly after I discovered the company a few years ago, I developed a near-obsessive relationship with my growing collection of Aviator jeans, Aviator polos, Aviator tees, Aviator travel hoodies, even the Aviator hats and masks. This summer, I started wearing Aviator’s Non-Stop Travel Shorts, and I’ll put it out there: My wearing of them has, uh, non stopped. “Where’s your Aviator underwear?” my kid asks. “Your Aviator tuxedo? Your Aviator hazmat suit?”

Excellent questions, don’t you think?

Colby Kane is the designer and former Macy’s art director behind the brand. I told him that the arrival of Aviator khakis inches me one step closer to being in Aviator full-time. I asked him about the particular allure of khakis and what’s ahead for the brand.

What’s special in your mind about khaki?

Colby Kane: I think about khaki the same as I think about denim. It comes in so many different shades and tones. As a designer, I love the nuances of mixing the right balance of colors to create the perfect khaki tone of the season.

True. Khakis symbolize summer the way watermelon and sand between the toes do. What does it say as a fashion statement, whether it’s about state of mind or expression of style?

Colby Kane: It’s a staple, I’d say. It never goes out of style and is timeless. The world has become more casual but when you wear khaki, it can make you feel slightly elevated. At Aviator, we are further elevating the style by offering our khaki in a five-pocket jean silhouette instead of the slit pocket chino style.

Oh, I love those pockets—not just the silhouette but the zippers. Nothing gives me confidence to ward off picketpocketers like going “zip, zip, zip” on my Aviator pockets as I head into a crowded marketplace in some exotic locale. Anything in particular about khaki that makes it great for travel?

Colby Kane: It simply goes with everything. It’s the most versatile natural look you can wear. The lighter color also keeps you a little cooler during summer travel or in the tropics. There’s something cool, too about the history of khakis that suggests that khaki is well-traveled. Dating back to the 19th century, the U.S., British and French military wore khaki. Fast forward to style icons like John F. Kennedy and James Dean who would wear khaki for leisure and on holidays. Remember, Indiana Jones also wore khaki during his explorations. It’s the fabric of adventurers. Our khaki jeans are so popular with our customers that we sell through half the inventory through preorders before we even have them completed!

What’s new for Aviator? I know the early part of the pandemic was challenging. How’s it going now?

Colby Kane: We have grown and have a couple new team members. We continue to make our products here in L.A. to support our local community and reduce our carbon footprint. We are focused on our customers and how to keep our price points at a great value to our customers. We’re really excited about a few new products, starting with the new First Class Lounge Set. It’s a luxurious mix-and-match jogger and hoodie that has elevated style and comfort. Perfect for this new and more casual “golden era” travel lifestyle we are living in.

Count me in. Last question: Any Aviator hazmat suits in the works? Hello? Colby?

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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