A Style Perk of the Calgary Stampede: No Khakis

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G Schmidt, Location - 1700 Block of 2nd Avenue NW


Another Stampede is upon this great city and among the country bumpkin’ décor, I’ve noticed something. There’s a presence missing in the downtown-working crowd. I’m ready to put out a red-hallelujah-alert. As the parade came through our fine streets last Friday I asked myself: where have all the khaki’s gone? Sweet justice! The offenders have left the city.

There are a few items that one should never wear. A Confederate flag t-shirt and Croc brand shoes, for example. Khakis, while less offensive than the former faux pas, are trickier to pull off than leather pants after a full day in the desert heat. Of course there are a few gents that can pull it off. But I promise you it’s a slight few.

I see these pants all over Downtown Calgary most of the year. They are offensive to me for a couple of reasons. Khaki’s rarely fit the person wearing them and is usually accompanied with an oil-and-gas-blue button down shirt rolled up at the sleeves. Am I right, corporate Calgary? If I’m really being honest, the shirt is also likely the wrong size or at the very least, more wrinkled than a Miami senior’s skin after 50 years of sun exposure.

Many have pleats at the waist that tend to scream, “I’m going to make his waist look squeezed and his legs thicker than mature trees.”  Why try and look like a squished out potato sack? For fair skinned fellows the light colour does not compliment the skin tone. It tends to wash out the face and make the wearer appear beige too. If your skin is darker in hue, maybe you’re one of the few that can make it work.

If fit or colour isn’t enough to turn your off maybe the vibe they give off will resonate. Listen up, in Calgary they look lazy, tired and sad.

We Calgarians ski, not sail. We go to cabins, not the cottage. And we go to the backcountry, not the country club. We simply have not had the time to get them "right." Things could look different if we lived somewhere different. Let’s not wish for things we can’t have.

But come July, those ill-fitting khaki pants are traded in for dark denim. Well fitting, clean denim. Maybe it’s the hue of the dark blue that flatters more. Maybe it’s the likely splurge many make to update their Stampede gear that increases the chances of a flattering fit (thanks retail sales staff). Or maybe it’s the Saskatchewan in me that gravitates towards the denim. Whatever the reason I’ll salute anything that gets men out of that paper bag sack-like pants. Thank you Calgary Stampede.

But I know, next week after the rain washes away the Budweiser and dirt, those tent like pants will be back, more bloated and miserable than ever. Until then, enjoy this temporary victory.

Thoughts? Shall we start a petition or Kickstarter program?