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What happened to Jim Harbaugh's signature khakis?


Not since the days of Bear Bryant's fedora or Jim Tressel's sweater vest has a coach and his clothing choice been as synonymous as Jim Harbaugh and his pleated khaki slacks.

I can't be sure, but it seems to have all started last January, when Jim's wife Sarah came out on a radio station and famously noted that Harbaugh sometimes buys his khakis at Walmart. The two have been like peas and carrots ever since.

Virtually every picture of him during his time in San Francisco has him in those signature khakis, and that's no exaggeration. It seems like if you were had access to his closet it would look like something straight out of a cartoon; khakis on hangers on one side, and black crewneck sweaters on the other...and it's very possible that was all his closet included.

At least that's the way it seemed.


Normally, I wouldn't get into something like this, but when a school goes all in and starts selling khakis on campus, it's a big deal.

Randomly one day, after seeing a few pics of Harbaugh settling in at Michigan, Scott asked me if I had noticed the lack of pictures of Harbaugh wearing his khakis. We both found it as odd, which prompted some further research. After taking some time to look through some recent pictures of him since arriving in Ann Arbor, it became apparent that a key component was missing from his signature look.


Being the curious people that we are, Scott and I asked ourselves; "Why would he just stop wearing something he had become so well known for?" After some further research, I was able to find some rather interesting coincidences.

Back in 2013, Levi's acquired the naming rights to the new field that the 49ers were building in Santa Clara for $220 million for 20 years. Levi's also happens to own one of the most popular brands of khaki pants - Dockers.

After some rather unscientific photo research of the khakis that Harbaugh wore as the head coach of the 49ers, which may have included some serious zooming in, it was discovered that Harbaugh's preferred choice of sideline apparel was the Dockers brand pleated khaki slacks.

Dockers - owned by Levi's. Got the connection now?

It is unclear whether Harbaugh was contractually obligated by the Niners to wear the Dockers brand because it sat under the umbrella of Levi's, or whether it was just his preferred khaki choice. But one thing is apparent; coincidence or not, once Harbaugh left the Bay Area, his fondness for khakis seems to have seriously diminished.

The khaki look may be not occur as often as it seemed to in San Fran, but he did rock the familiar look while speaking at the recent Michigan High School Football Coaches Association, so the look he has become known for (for better or worse) is not completely extinct, just seemingly scaled back quite a bit.

After digging around a bit more, I found this. The way I see it, it's good news for fans of the Dockers brand, Harbaugh, and Michigan because you can now pay homage to all three with a signature line of Game Day Dockers (also available in Texas A&M, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and various other programs and styles)