Check out these chinos

Check out these chinos

Q. You always talk about chinos which I’ve never particularly worn (just business clothes, Levis, and shorts for me).  Obviously I have more opportunity right now for casual clothes but why would anyone bother with chinos; aren’t they just bro clothing and less durable jeans?

A. While you should never wear something you aren’t comfortable in, I love the look of chinos and – given a chance – you might also. They show a man cares about his look but is still casual and confident. They are the essence of two key looks: Business casual, and casual looking good. The recent column you read mentioned that the three main types of trousers are dress, chinos, and jeans; you’re 2/3 of the way there!

One of the biggest differences between the three pants categories is color. Dress trousers come in quiet, neutral colors. No well-dressed man would wear red or green dress trousers or jeans. But, when it comes to picking colors for chinos, you need not feel limited. They come in such timeless favorites as khaki, navy, olive, and white, as well as several shades of red from bright to burgundy. You may think that red chinos sound very bright, flamboyant, or perhaps what you called “Bro,” but burgundy chinos with a nice blue button-down shirt is nearly the same look, but less relaxed, as blue jeans with a red shirt.

Because chinos can work with casual, smart casual, and business casual outfits, they have a big advantage over jeans. Remarkably versatile, chinos are easier to dress up or down.


Chinos pair perfectly with a tucked-in lightweight dress shirt or with an untucked knit polo shirt. For a dressier take, add a blazer or a sports jacket. Or, a sweater can fill that area where you want something between a sports jacket and the more casual shirtsleeves with no jacket. Color choices should make sense. Standard khaki chinos always look great with a blue chambray or a crisp white shirt, but a red polo is also a nice combination.


Chinos have belt loops that take either a leather or a woven cotton belt. While you might wear a dressy belt or an unusual skin or western belt with them, the higher end, such as an alligator belt, is probably best reserved for your office or dress trousers.


You can wear almost any type of shoes with chinos from dressy lace-ups to sneakers. The casual nature means you do not need a high shine on the leather (although that always looks good) and the step-above-jeans means I would not suggest your rattiest sneakers. Despite what you may see in fashion magazine, what I may see on runways, and what some of those bros may be wearing, little socks and certainly no skin should appear between your chino cuffs and your footwear (in other words, do wear socks and wear them long enough).

Fabric, and the slimness of the fit

When choosing the material and cut of your chinos, keep the appropriate dress code in mind. In some traditional office settings, too skinny could be inappropriate for the workplace. Even though “business casual” as a dress code seems to be getting more casual every year, that doesn’t directly mean too tight, more lenient, or, heaven forbid, sloppy is now acceptable.

In our current times, many are staying in and shopping online more; and that also makes well-cut chinos a good choice, especially for a first time purchase.

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