On this Memorial Day, here’s to all the men who never got the chance to attend college on the GI Bill — or live out the rest of their lives. We are grateful for their supreme sacrifice.
As for those who did go from storming the beach in Normandy to storming college classrooms, here’s a passage from G. Bruce Boyer’s chapter on khaki from his 1985 book “Elegance”:
Khakis were, in short, clothes that worked. They were tough, resilient, and durable. They had literally come through the war. Khaki trousers became particularly evident in this country in the fall of 1945, with the college man returning to classes after military service. Cotton drill general-issue trousers were comfortable, inexpensive, adaptable. Most GIs had several pair, and there were always the army-and-navy stores for those in more need of books than fancy clothes. Neutral coloration made khakis ideal mates to brighter tweed jackets and sweaters, and they were easily cared for by young men with more important things on their minds than perfectly pressed trousers. They could be thrown in the wash and hung up anywhere to dry — even out a dorm window — and a few wrinkles only added to their sprezzatura…. The resurgence of the so-called preppy look and an increased interest in the LL Bean type of rugged outdoor gear both in and out of the fashion world have helped to boost the popularity of khaki.