When shopping for men’s pants, chinos are an essential style every guy should own. Versatile, cool and trendy, chino pants can be dressed with casual, smart casual, and semi-formal outfits for a stylish look. Not only are chino outfits perfect for casual looks as well as formal fashion, these trousers work with all types of clothes. Professionals can dress up formal chinos with a blazer, dress or button up shirt, and boots for a classy style. Meanwhile, guys can choose to wear casual chinos with a t-shirt and sneakers for a fashionable street style that will look good all around town. The challenge is finding the perfect pair of chinos that fit well and then figuring out what to wear with them. For inspiration and outfit ideas, here’s our guide on how to wear chinos with style!
What Are Chinos?
Chinos are a style of trouser originally designed for European military uniforms using a lightweight and comfortable fabric. Chino pants have since become popular with civilians but maintain their original 100% cotton or cotton blend construction.
This style of semi-formal pants can be dressed up or down, perfect for taking straight from the office to happy hour. Chino pants styles come in an endless variety of fits and colors, making chinos an essential for every man’s wardrobe.
How To Wear Chinos
The fit is of the utmost importance when choosing a pair of chinos to incorporate into a modern wardrobe. Straight-fit chinos lend a classic, clean-cut look to more formal settings, while tailored chinos can achieve a flattering silhouette and versatile style. Chinos can be worn with almost any shoe.
Chino style pants also pair well with low-cut sneakers, leather loafers, or desert boots. Try adding a rolled up cuff with sneakers during warmer months and leaving them full length to rest on top of your boots in winter.
How Should Chinos Fit
In general, chinos are mid-rise and should fit comfortably around the waist, although low-rise chinos are available. Like dress pants, these trousers can be hemmed to a standard length with one break, or they can be cropped short for a sharp finish above the ankle.
Slim fit and skinny chinos will typically hug the thighs and create a more defined silhouette. Tight chinos can be less comfortable depending on your build but are less formal and easy to experiment with. Straight fit chino pants are made for men with larger builds or those who prefer a more classic fit. Regular chinos provide more room in the thigh and a smaller leg opening, but they can be harder to dress down.
The influence of street style is encouraging more men to embrace softer tailoring, especially with pants, so there are plenty of options for casual comfortable chinos.
What To Wear With Chinos
Chino pants can be paired with an Oxford cloth button-down and an unstructured blazer for a nod to New England prep fashion, or a clean T-shirt and fresh sneakers for a casual night out. A linen or chambray shirt paired with tailored chinos and loafers will give you a relaxed look for warm spring days. These pants can be dressed up significantly; try pairing well-fitting chinos with your favorite navy blazer and a white spread collar shirt for the next wedding you attend. Look to personalize your style with finishing details like a classic leather belt or standout shoes.
Best Chino Colors
Chino trousers can be bought in any color and wash, giving you the creative license to add color to any outfit. Less common colors like yellows and greens can make you stand out while old favorites can be used to maintain an understated elegance. Let’s take a look at the best chino pants colors.
Much like blazers, navy is the most versatile chino color. Navy chinos can be worn with nearly any combination of tops and shoes. Extremely versatile and trendy, navy chinos can be incorporated into almost any dress code, but is particularly well-suited for semi-formal to formal occasions where you want a business or smart casual outfit.
Paired with basic pieces, red chinos offer a standout style on their own, delivering a twist on classic looks. Look to stick to more standard colors like navy, white and gray, while experimenting with red chino pants.
Crisp and cool, white chinos can be worn in the summer months with subdued blues and reds for a comfortable look. Great for sunny days where you want to be fresh and stylish, white chino pants work with a variety of men’s styles to create a trendy outfit.
Nearly as versatile as navy, tan chinos can be paired with nearly any color combination. Also known as light beige or khaki chinos, try this color with earth tones for a more neutral look or add loud colors to make a statement. Popular and universally flattering, tan chino pants should be a part of every guy’s wardrobe.
Though they can be intimidating, try pink chinos in more faded looks for a handsome casual look. Chinos that trend closer to faded reds are a staple of classic New England style, but many modern chinos are offered in pastel pinks that pair well with a crisp white shirt and sneakers.
Stone chinos walk the line between tan and white. Where tan is more earth-toned and white can be intimidating, stone chinos offer a middle ground. They work well with pastels or bright colors in any season.
Casual Chinos vs Formal Chinos
There are small differences between casual and formal chinos that can make one better for your outfit in certain settings. For starters, chinos should not be compared to dress pants or trousers; at best, chinos are appropriate for semi-formal dress codes since this pant style fits between casual and formal.
Formal chinos are chinos that are tailored slightly differently than their more casual cousins. Dressy chino trousers tend to have sharper details, like a crease or a professionally tailored cuff. These classy chinos lend themselves well to dressing up with a blazer and dress shoes and can be worn for most occasions nowadays. Try substituting this style of chino and a blazer for your suit at your next formal event.
Casual chinos have softer details. Typically, casual chino pants do not carry a crease or pleats and tend to be cut slimmer. Casual chino outfits can be dressed up as well, but not quite to the level of formal chinos. Try casual chinos and a loose blazer for a semi-fancy night out on the town.
Chinos vs Dress Pants
Where chinos are typically made of cotton or a cotton blend, dress pants tend to be made from wool or wool blend. Also known as slacks, dress pants can be sold as part of a suit or as standalone pieces. Dress pants tend to drape when worn, whereas chino pants tend to be more form-fitting. Dress pants are made from a finer weave and tend to be softer than chinos. Dress pants are confined to more formal occasions, like job interviews or formal dinners. Depending on how the pants are tailored, chinos can be worn at any time, from office meetings to running errands.
Chinos vs Jeans
Jeans are made from denim, whereas chinos are made from chino cloth. Though both fabrics are made of cotton, the main difference between chinos and jeans is how the material is woven, giving each a different finish and durability.
Chinos tend to be lighter than jeans with a finer twill-style weave pattern. Traditionally, jeans are dyed with indigo, but denim jeans come in almost the same variety of colors as chinos and the two can be difficult to tell apart.
The difference that is easiest to spot is the way the pockets are constructed. Jeans tend to have pockets built into the pant parallel with the waistband closer to the front of the pant, while chinos tend to have pockets designed to lie perpendicular to the waistband, closer to the outer seam of the pant.
Jeans are less formal than chinos, but only slightly. Chinos can be swapped for jeans in many casual looks to change up your look, and jeans can be worn in place of chinos for many outfits. Mix up your everyday style by swapping in a pair of navy chinos for your jeans while you’re meeting up with friends. Try a semi-formal look with dark washed jeans, boots, a blazer, and a knit tie. However, you can achieve a formal dressy look by wearing formal chinos with finer details instead of jeans.