Chinos on the Beach

PALOS VERDES, CA – 1952/1953

Chinos came to the beach by way of British soldiers in India in the 1840s – who stained their white pants “khaki” – the Indian word for dust = to make themselves less of a target in the dusty desert. Khakis became standard military issue for British soldiers and because they were made in Spain and shipped to India by way of China, the packing crates had “chino” stamped on them – the Spanish word for “China” or “Chinese.” The Spanish wore khakis/Chinos in the Philippines in the Spanish/American war of the late 1800s, and Americans soon made them standard military issue. Soldiers wore Chinos in the Pacific theater during World War II, because the cotton pants were durable and comfortable. 

Photo by Mae Clark, courtesy of Ed Clark.