Everything You Need to Know about How to Wear Chinos

What are chinos? Are chinos different than khakis?

First, let’s start with some terminology. “Khakis” aren’t pants. Khaki is a color.

When someone says khakis, what they’re really talking about are chinos. A simple casual, cotton pant that exists in the middle ground between jeans and dress pants.

Think of chinos or chino pants (we’ll use them interchangeably here) as the oxford shirt of pants—versatile enough to be dressed up or dressed down, and always in style.

For example?

Khaki chinos are chino pants that come in a tan (khaki) color. Burgundy chinos are chino pants that come in a burgundy color. And so on.

Chinos are dresser than five-pocket twill pants, which look pretty much exactly like jeans except for the material. But! They’re not as dressy as dress pants, which usually have a tab waistband closure and are made of wool, or some other fancier material.

How chino pants should fit

Remember those wide-legged chinos that literally all of us (guys and girls alike) wore growing up? The ones that made us feel like the fourth member of Blink 182 and fit like your favorite pair of JNCO jeans?

Yeah, we’re not wearing those anymore.

Cut and fabric are key to versatility when it comes to chinos. Look for a chino with a medium rise, not too high or too low. Flat front is a must (aka, no pleats!!), and make sure the seat of the pants fit close but not too tight.

And about your backside? A close-fitting seat is the cure for “dad diaper butt.” Brands have been built to address this scourge on men’s style; don’t be a victim of it yourself. Us ladies want to see your cute butt as much as you like to look at ours, so a shapeless, sloppy backside is a definite Don’t.

Make sure the leg is tailored close to the body, and the length falls somewhere between the top of the shoe and the top of the heel. Stay away from chinos that are too washed and distressed as this makes it harder to dress them up.


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