How To Wear Chinos: All You Need To Make Khakis Work

How To Wear Chinos: All You Need To Make Khakis Work

With so many different chinos out there knowing how to wear chinos can be very confusing. And we agree with you unlike denim which tends to fall on the causal side of the spectrum chinos can go either way. Additionally, recently offices have adopted a smart casual dress code making chinos the perfect garment to use, making it vital to understand how to wear chinos.


Thus, no nonsense let’s get straight into the guide on how to wear chinos.


Difference between casual and formal pants

It can be difficult to recognize the difference between causal and formal chinos. And we don’t blame you as the difference is minimal. 


Casual chinos: typically look similar to your denim jeans in your wardrobe. With the standard back and side pockets as well as tacked stress points, standard hem and flat felled seams. 


Formal chinos: typically look like your favourite fancy dress pants. The only difference is the chinos are made from twill cotton instead of wool or silk. When buying formal chinos keep a look out for back pockets with button enclosures, centre creases and cuffs. 


Difference between khakis and chinos

Maybe you’ve seen khakis and chinos interchanged before. Nonetheless, the correct term is chino. Chinos apply to the actual pants. 

Khaki is just a type of chinos but they’re the most popular type which may be why the two terms can get confusing. 


To sum up, khakis are chinos, but chinos aren’t always khakis.  


How to wear chinos formally and causally 

How to wear chinos casually:

Putting on your chinos causally is very similar to your jeans.

You can pair them with a T-shirt, polo shirt or even a plaid sports shirt. Additionally, for a cool look, you can match them with a navy chambray shirt and fresh kicks (sneakers.)


How to wear chinos formally:

If you’re someone who wants to wear chinos to the office or meeting due to the smart casual dress code but you’re not sure what to wear them with and if they’ll fit the dress code then don’t worry as that’s what this is about. 


Essentially you should treat your chinos like dress trousers. What does that mean? Pair them with a dress shirt, tie, coat (or jacket), and loafers (or leather shoes.) 


If you feel like that may be too dressy for your office dress code, you can start dressing down elements. 


  1. Drop the tie.
  2. Swap the dress shirt for an Oxford cotton button-down (OCBD.)
  3. Replace the loafers with minimalist sneakers.
  4. Wear a casual jacket instead of a coat. 

How to wear chinos formally looks easier now that we know how to dress them up and down. 

Winter vs Summer chinos

You may wonder does it matter what chinos you wear throughout the different seasons and the short answer is yes as different types of chinos are made from different fabrics and colours. Some suit winter and some suit summertime. 


Nonetheless, there are still some regular chinos that can work throughout the year. But there are lighter and heavier versions of chinos which are made specifically for the different seasons. And we can guarantee you’ll be more comfortable wearing the seasonally-appropriate chinos. 


How can we differentiate between summer and wintertime chinos?

We have to pay attention to the fabric, colour, fit and weight and so below you’ll find how to wear chinos according to the seasons. 


The colour

There are a few key colours that are extremely versatile throughout the year meaning they can be used for many outfits. These colours are - olive, caramel, navy, black, khaki and beige. 

During summertime ensure you wear light & pastel shades as well as interesting colour shades and patterns in between. 


Light and vibrant shades such as (sky blue, green, red, white and pink) are perfect for tropical weather. To sum up, these shades work play perfectly with summer and spring. 

Source: Google

In contrast, wear darker and deeper shades during colder weather. As these colours will also keep you warmer. Think about the colours in nature as the season changes to winter, leaves essentially become darker and turn brown making darker colours perfect for that time of year. We suggest wearing colours like emerald, burgundy, bright navy, mustard and purple during the autumn and winter seasons.  

Source: Google

Weight of fabric

When shopping you may have noticed categories of clothes such as ‘summer weight’ or ‘lightweight.’ Typically these types of garments weigh around 5 or 6 ounces. 


Standard fabrics usually sit at 7-9 ounces making the ‘lightweight’ garments perfect for summer. 

Furthermore clothes heavier than 10 ounces play greatly during wintertime.  

Source: Google


The fitting 

Formal chinos share similarities with the fit of your dress pants.

Essentially, when finding your well-fitted trousers ensure they have a clean line from waist to leg opening. If it ends up being too long or tight the fitting will be compromised. 

We recommend the same for your formal trousers except for a few differences such as little or no break at the hem and the formal chinos can be a little looser. 

To sum up, ensure the lines are clean and iron your formal trousers when wearing them again. 

Source: Google

Casual chinos as we have mentioned before resemble denim but also share similar fitting styles. The only difference is a slightly lower rise when wearing slim-cut chinos. 


Shoes to wear with chinos

The shoes you wear with chinos will largely change depending on the occasion (formal or casual.) Thus, beneath you’ll see how to wear chinos with shoes.

For casual chinos: we recommend wearing minimalistic shoes such as solid block leather shoes, slides or canvas shoes. 

Source: Google

Furthermore, try playing with contrast as they can benefit your style. When wearing khakis try pairing them with white shoes. Other great colour options are brown and navy. When going for contrast you can even try different shades of the same colour. 


When wearing a formal outfit: the perfect shoes would be black leather shoes or oxfords. Furthermore, another great option is loafers when it is hotter out. (However, keep in mind loafers may not be best suited for every formal occasion.)

Source: Google

This was our guide on how to wear chinos. We hope you found it helpful and informative. Share pictures of you using these tips on social media and we’ll be sure to reach out. If you want to buy more chinos you can find some of the best on branded10 right now!



Q: What should I wear with chinos

A: Causally: Pair them with a T-shirt, polo shirt or even a plaid sports shirt. Additionally, for a cool look, you can match them with a navy chambray shirt and fresh kicks (sneakers.)

Formally: Pair them with a dress shirt, tie, coat (or jacket), and loafers (or leather shoes.) 


Q: When should chinos be worn?

A: Chinos come in numerous different types meaning they can be worn casually and formally.


Q: Are Chinos still in fashion 2022?

A: Chinos can be used in formal and casual settings making them a great addition to your closet. 

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