Khaki Shirt

Green khaki jacket, with large pockets and buttons

Khaki has several competing origin stories. The first use was probably in 1848 when British officers made a yellow-brown uniform. This better matched the dusty soil in Afghanistan. The idea may actually be from Indian soldiers in the British Army, but it’s hard for us to know. The name itself comes an Urdu word meaning dust.


The British Army did not change to khaki completely until the 1880s, when advances in weaponry made it essential. These changes included the machine gun, long range weapons and smokeless gunpowder. This meant that staying out of sight was important, so khaki replaced red coats.