Khaki shorts are a staple in many men’s summer wardrobes. They offer a classic yet versatile look that can be dressed up or down effortlessly. While there are now more varieties of khaki shorts than ever before, the button front style remains one of the most popular options.
Button front khakis provide a clean, tailored look thanks to their seamless fly design held together by buttons. Unlike shorts with a zipper, button fronts create a smooth flat front without any metal hardware interrupting the silhouette. The button closure also adjusts more subtly to your body compared to shorts with an elastic waistband.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about buying the perfect pair of button front khaki shorts. You’ll learn about the top-rated options to shop for right now, what details to look for, fit and sizing considerations, and how to style button front khakis. With so many factors to weigh, this guide will help you determine the best button front shorts that align with your needs, preferences, and body type.
The Best Button Front Khaki Shorts You Can Buy in 2023
With countless button front khaki shorts to choose from, narrowing down the top options can be tricky. To make your search easier, we’ve highlighted the 5 best button front khaki shorts that are dominating the current market. These top-rated pairs offer excellent quality, fit, comfort, and style at different price points.
Everlane The Organic Cotton Short
The Organic Cotton Short from Everlane offers an affordable, sustainable option made of soft organic cotton with a lived-in look. The relaxed shorts sit at 7″ inseam with room through the hip and thigh. Choose between classic khaki, black, navy, or gray. The elastic back waistband and curved hem create a flattering silhouette. At just $48, these shorts provide great value.
Banana Republic Slim Traveler Short
For a modern slim fit, the Traveler Short from Banana Republic is constructed from wrinkle-resistant Rapid Movement Denim. The 9″ inseam flatters most body types, while the zip fly with double button closure maintains a streamlined look. Enjoy the flexibility of waist tabs that can be worn fitted or loose. Priced at $98.
J.Crew Stretch Dock Short
As a bestseller, the Stretch Dock Short from J.Crew lives up to its reputation with a tailored feel courtesy of the hidden zip fly and adjustable button tabs. Made of a cotton blend with stretch, they move easily while maintaining their crisp structure. The 7″ inseam works on most guys, and with dozens of color choices, you can build a full rotation. $74.50 a pair.
Bonobos Stretch Washed Chino Short
For a slightly dressier option, Bonobos offers their popular Washed Chino Short in a stretch fabric blend with just the right amount ofgive. The curved waistband and slim thighs prevent pooling or billowing fabric. Inseams up to 8″ available. The $68 price reflects the brand’s reputation for premium quality dressy-casual wear.
Lululemon Commission Short
As the shortest option on our list, Lululemon’s Commission Short hits just above the mid-thigh at a 5″ inseam. The lightweight Warpstreme fabric wicks sweat and moves fluidly with built-in stretch. With a wider, lower rise fit, side pockets, and moisture-wicking liner, these shorts perform just as well during activities and workouts as they do for everyday casual summer wear. $68.
Now that you know our top picks, let’s go over all the factors to consider when shopping around for your ideal pair.
How to Choose the Best Button Front Khaki Shorts for Your Needs
Choosing a pair of button front khakis involves assessing several factors related to fit, style, features, and color. It’s important to understand how all of these details contribute to the look, feel, and versatility of the shorts. We’ll break down what to look for in each category.
Consider the Fit and Length
Fit is one of the most critical factors when finding shorts that not only look good but feel great. When trying on button front khakis, focus on these key areas:
Waist – The waistband should fit comfortably snug without gaping open in the back. Make sure it sits at your natural waist.
Seat – Depending on your body type, you may need more or less room through the seat. Athletic builds often size up for a comfortable fit. Avoid a tight fit here.
Thighs – The leg opening around your thighs shouldn’t be constricting but also shouldn’t have excessive fabric. Take your thigh circumference into account.
Length – Inseams typically range from 5-10 inches. Shorter shorts showcase more thigh and leg, while longer inseams provide more coverage.
Overall – The shorts shouldn’t fit too tight or too loose and baggy. Move around to ensure you can walk and bend comfortably.
Choose the Appropriate Rise
Rise refers to where the shorts hit in relation to your waist and hips. Button front khakis come in three main rise types:
High – Hits near your belly button for a more retro look. Can elongate your legs.
Mid – Lands right around your hips, flattering for most body types. A versatile option.
Low – Rests below your hips for increased leg exposure. Works best for slimmer builds.
The rise also affects the fit through the rear and crotch area, so choose what feels most comfortable. Mid and high rises move with your body well.
Select a Fabric with Stretch and Breathability
Button front khakis come in various fabric blends, but key things to look for include:
Stretch – Spun polyester and elastane provide stretch for better mobility. At least 5-10% is ideal.
Softness – Cotton, especially Pima or Egyptian, offers an appealing touch against the skin. Linen is also lightweight.
Breathability – Natural fibers like cotton and linen allow airflow to keep you cool.
Wrinkle-resistance – Synthetics help khakis maintain their crisp look after long wear.
Durability – Sturdy cotton duck or canvas will withstand more wear and abrasion.
Consider the tradeoffs between fabrics to choose what works best for your needs and preferences.
Focus on the Features and Design Details
Let’s examine some of the common features and details to look out for when evaluating pairs of button front khakis:
Pockets – Most have side seam pockets. Back welt pockets add a stylish touch. Consider if cargo pockets suit your needs.
Belt loops – Almost all button fronts come with belt loops to add a leather belt and customize the fit.
Pleats – Pleated fronts provide room through the hips and seat if needed. Go unpleated for a slimmer look.
Cuffs – Cuffed hems are more formal, uncuffed more casual. Cuffs can showcase shoes and highlight your leg shape.
Tab adjusters – Hidden adjustable tabs allow you to modify the waist fit. Elastic back waistbands also help customize the fit.
Buttons – Metal buttons are longest lasting. Coconut or wood buttons provide an eco-friendly touch.
Length – Standard inseams range from 5-10 inches. Consider the length that suits your height and style preferences.
Pick a Versatile Color
While tan and other neutral shades are most versatile year-round, button front khakis now come in almost every color and pattern imaginable. Here are some top options to consider:
- Khaki – Ranging from light tan to darker sand hues. A classic choice.
- Navy – Deep blue color works in all seasons. Pairs well with most colors.
- Olive – Earthy green tone complements most complexions. Very stylish.
- Gray – From light heather to charcoal shades. Sophisticated option.
- White – Crisp white khakis add a summery vibe. Stains easily.
- Pastels – Softer hues like blush pink, mint, or sky blue for spring/summer.
Stick to 1-2 versatile neutrals for the most cost per wear. Then branch out into more fashion colors once you’ve built up your khaki short wardrobe.
Set Your Budget Expectations
Button front khaki shorts range wildly in terms of price and value depending on these factors:
- Materials used – higher quality fabrics cost more
- Brand reputation – premium brands charge more
- Manufacturing – ethically made shorts often cost more
- Details – unique features like leather patch pockets add cost
- Versatility – neutral colors get more wear so offer more value
Here are typical price ranges you can expect:
- Affordable – $20 to $50. Think Target, Gap, Old Navy, etc.
- Mid-range – $50 to $100. J.Crew, Banana Republic, premium mall brands.
- Luxury – $100+. Specialty boutique brands and designers.
Consider cost per wear when investing in quality shorts you’ll wear often. Sales help make higher end pairs more affordable.
Now that you know all the factors that define great button fronts, let’s go over where to find the best selection.
The Best Places to Shop for Button Front Khaki Shorts
Finding a wide selection of stylish button front khaki shorts often requires going beyond your local mall. Here are the best retailers to discover quality shorts online and in store:
- Online-only brands – Everlane, Buck Mason, Untuckit offer direct-to-consumer khakis often at lower prices.
- Specialty retailers – Banana Republic, J.Crew, Bonobos carry a variety of modern, well-fitting khaki shorts.
- Department stores – Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and other high-end stores showcase designer khakis.
- Outdoor brands – Patagonia, Outdoor Voices, and others make technical khakis great for activities.
- Thrift stores – Vintage khakis at Goodwill or vintage shops provide unique, affordable options.
- Local boutiques – Discover small batch and local brands with careful craftsmanship.
Wherever you shop, take advantage of lenient return policies to order multiple sizes and styles to try on at home. Compare fit, quality, and value side by side.
To complete your wardrobe, explore coordinating shirts, shoes, belts and other accessories. Build head to toe outfits that maximize your new khaki shorts.
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions about this popular men’s wear staple:
FAQs About Button Front Khaki Shorts
Q: What colors do button front khaki shorts come in?
While khaki is a light tan color by definition, today you can find button front shorts in almost every color imaginable. Neutral shades like tan, navy, olive, and gray offer the most versatility year-round. Bright colors and pastels give off a summery vibe. Go bold with reds, yellows, and prints. White and black shorts also provide clean, crisp options. Ultimately you can build a collection of button front khakis across the full spectrum of colors. Start with versatile neutrals and expand into trendier shades once those wardrobe basics are covered.
Q: How should button front khaki shorts fit?
The ideal fit for button front khakis is similar to well-fitting pants. Look for a comfortable amount of room through the hips and thighs without excess fabric bunching or pulling. The shorts shouldn’t be painted on or overly tight. At the same time, you don’t want them to appear sloppy, oversized, and baggy. The legs should fall just above the knee depending on your height and inseam preference. Size down or up as needed based on your individual waist measurement and body type. Details like adjustable waist tabs also help you customize the fit. Move freely and sit comfortably to ensure you have the right size. Proper fit is key to maximizing both the look and comfort of button fronts.
Q: How long should button front khaki shorts be?
For most men, inseams between 7-9 inches provide the most flattering length for button front khakis. This keeps the shorts just above your knees which complements most body shapes. Tall men over 6’0″ can size up to a 10 inch inseam before the shorts look too short. Shorter guys under 5’8″ should aim for 5-7 inch inseams to avoid a wide, stubby cut. Pleated fronts work better with longer inseams, while flat fronts pair well with shorter lengths. Also consider your personal style – some men prefer the retro feel of shorter 1970s style 5″ inseams, while others opt for a more modern mid-thigh silhouette. Try out a few different lengths to determine your ideal khaki short inseam.
Q: What tops can I wear with button front khaki shorts?
The beauty of button front khakis lies in their versatility – they pair effortlessly with almost any casual top for men. Go classic with a cotton crew neck t-shirt or polo shirt. Lean preppy with an Oxford cloth button-down. Stay cozy with a cotton crewneck sweater or Breton stripe long sleeve tee. Go bold with a graphic tee or muscle tank. From casual henleys to linen guayabera shirts and breezy short sleeve button-downs, you have countless stylish options. For a refined look, tuck your shirt in cleanly, adding a simple leather belt. Pop the collar of a polo over a v-neck sweater. Keep the shorts as the focal point with simple, muted tops in cotton, linen, jersey, or lightweight wool. Then have fun mixing and matching different shirt and shoe combinations to create fresh outfits.
Q: Can I wear button front shorts to work?
It depends on your specific office dress code. More traditional formal business environments likely require full length pants year round. But today many offices have adopted business casual or smart casual dress codes, especially in warmer months. Well-fitting khaki shorts can certainly work for summer Fridays or more laidback team activities. Just keep the shorts tailored and mature – avoid giant cargo pockets or loud colors/patterns. Pair with leather loafers, a linen-cotton blend button-down, and leather belt for an understated yet dapper business casual summer outfit. Ask your manager about guidelines for shorts before showing up to an important client meeting. But for everyday office wear, clean khakis absolutely have a place in today’s relaxed workplaces.
Q: How can I dress up button front khaki shorts?
It’s easy to elevate your standard khaki shorts into more dressed-up outfits fit for date night or upscale summer events. Start with a dark, slim fit pair of khakis in black, navy, or gray. Go for a shorter inseam to highlight more leg. Pair them with suede loafers, boat shoes, or canvas sneakers with a minimalist design. Tuck in a linen or cotton button-down left unbuttoned at the top. Add a woven or printed belt. Layer on a textured blazer or finished sweater. Accessorize further with aviator sunglasses, a canvas watch, and leather bracelets for a refined yet laidback look. Going sockless in the warmer months also dresses up your whole vibe. Finally, keep the shorts free of wrinkles, dirt, and stains to maintain a polished appearance. Follow these tips to seamlessly wear your khakis for both dressed down and dressed up occasions.
Q: What shoes look best with button front khaki shorts?
Standard khaki shorts look great with a wide range of footwear. For casual looks, white minimal sneakers immediately pair well. So do canvas slip-ons, espadrilles, and sandals. Mid-top leather sneakers in neutral hues also complement the khaki color. Go more formal with leather loafers, monk straps, or suede desert boots. And boat shoes remain a quintessential pairing thanks to their preppy New England heritage. Other options like flip flops, Birkenstocks, and leather sandals work for ultra laidback summer hangouts. Just avoid overtly flashy, chunky, or loud sneakers that might clash. Aim for shoes in the same color family or neutral shades that blend right in. Make sure to show off your footwear by choosing shorts with a proper above-the-knee length. Keeping your socks minimal or skipping them entirely helps build complete summer khaki outfits.
Button front khaki shorts provide the best of both worlds – tailored polish meets carefree comfort. Hopefully this guide has equipped you to find your next perfect pair. Keep fit, rise, fabric, features, colors, and budget in mind as you sort through the many options. Try out a few styles to determine your ideal silhouette and length. Build out versatile outfit combinations that take you from summer BBQs to beach vacations effortlessly. And enjoy finally finding that one pair of khakis that feels like it was custom made for you.