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Khaki and chinos

The Difference between Khakis and Chinos

Khaki and chinos

Many men have a very hard time differentiating between khakis and chinos and there is good reason for this. The two are not one in the same but their differences are not all that great and if you don’t know what it is you are looking for you will be lumped into the group of most men that have no clue as to what the difference is.

The following describes the two very distinct types of trousers:


If you are confused as to what a khaki pant is, just look at an advertisement for the Gap. Most of the guys in those ads are wearing khakis with a loose button down shirt. Although khaki is a color, it also describes the material. Khakis are made of 100 percent cotton and come in a variety of colors including khaki, navy blue, beige, black and other earthy tones. Khakis are more of a casual pant and can be seen on men all across America on casual Friday. The have the unique ability to look somewhat dressy, like for a business luncheon, but also can be worn in an ultra casual environment like when it is boy’s night out.


Chinos are typically made with a blend of cotton and other synthetic fibers that give it a stretchier feel. They can be spotted by the more narrow cut of the legs and the way that they tapper at the bottom. Chinos are considered dressier than jeans and khakis but can also be worn in some casual circumstances. While chinos too can be worn on a casual Friday, they can also be worn any other day of the week as they are more formal.


Besides the cut and material difference of khakis and chinos, there is a difference in what should be worn with both and also in their price:

•    Shirts: When it comes to khakis, really anything goes. They can look good a button down shirt, a short sleeved collared shirt or even a nice form fitted t-shirt. In most instances, the shirts are worn untucked and the pants are almost always worn on a casual occasion. When men wear chinos they tend to wear button downs that are a bit on the dressier side. Sometimes it is appropriate to untuck the shirts, but more times than not, they will be tucked in.
•    Price: Perhaps the biggest difference with khakis and chinos is the price. Khakis can be found at almost any department store and usually have a price range of $20 to $30. Depending on the material of the chinos, a really nice pair could set you back as much as $200. There is of course an exception to every rule, but this rule is pretty standard.

Whichever type of pants you decide to go with remember that both khakis and chinos can be worn on just about any occasion. Each style offers you a way to look great and stylish while being comfortable at the same time so which one you pick is really up to you.


What to Wear with Chinos


Chinos are a type of lightweight trouser that is made from chino cloth in a weave known as twill. Though they are khaki in color most of the time they are in fact a different kind of pants than khakis. They are considered to be a smart casual style of pants and thus can be worn on a more formal basis as opposed to khaki pants, but they can also be worn in a semi-casual manner as well. So what should you wear with your chinos?

Of course what you will wear with your chinos will depend on the occasion and also your gender. Here are some things that both men and women can wear in order to compliment their chinos to the fullest extent:


• Business casual: A lot of women like to wear their chinos in a business casual way. All across American ‘Casual Friday’ is very popular with smaller businesses. While some will opt for jeans and a nice shirt, a lot are also going with chinos and a nice shirt. If your chinos are a khaki color then you can pair it with a white short sleeved collared shirt and tie in the entire outfit with a brown belt and a pair of brown loafer-style flats. This look will have you making a casual statement but without the stereotypical pair of jeans.
• Out and about look: More and more women are being seen wearing a pair of chinos while just going out for a somewhat fancier night on the town. You can get a white pair of chinos for you night out and get any number of fun colored and busy patterned shirts to top it off. If you wear the shirt a bit longer you can tie in the outfit with a skinny belt and a pair of pump style heels.


• Business look: One of the great things about chinos for the guys is that they are dressy enough to wear for a day at the office and still provide a ton of comfort. A great outfit to put together with your khaki chinos is a white button down collared shirt and a fun colored tie such as a vibrant blue. A matching jacket to the chinos should also be worn and you will want to button one button in the front. Finish off the look with some black dress shoes and a black belt and you will be the star of any meeting you attend.
• Sloppy business: This look is catching on and it is really easy to accomplish. Wearing your khaki chinos, simply untuck your favorite collared button down shirt and unbutton the top two buttons. You will want to have a neck tie on but you will loosen it up. Finally, you will wear your jacket over top but you won’t button it. This look is growing in popularity and the best part is if you go to work at the office in your chinos, you simply have to ‘loosen up’ after work and you will be all set to go out for some drinks with the guys.

A good pair of chinos can cost you a bit of money, but these well made pants are worth every penny as they will have you looking your best when at work and at play.