Chinos and khakis have a bad reputation in men’s style.
A lot of guys believe they are a terrible choice and really only something office drones or lame politicians wear.
And as much as I love chinos and khakis I can’t that I necessarily disagree. Most guys have no idea how to wear chinos or khakis well.
This is generally what I see:
Yeah, pretty terrible.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Chinos and khakis do not have to be plain and boring. It’s all about finding the right fit and pairing them with stylish pieces.
Not sure how to do it?
Good. In this article I’ll show you three examples of how you can wear chinos with style for any occasion during the winter season.
What’s the difference between chinos and khakis?
Before we get into the outfits I think it’s worthwhile to quickly cover off the difference between chinos and khakis.
The main difference between chinos and khakis is the weight of the fabric. Chinos are made from a light weight cotton fabric while khakis are generally made from a heavier weight cotton. Chinos are also cut a bit more slimmer than khakis and do not have any visible seams. This makes chinos the perfect candidate to dress up or down and the reason why I’ve chosen them in the examples below.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering what kind of chinos I’ve chosen for the outfits below they are the J.Crew stretch chinos in 770 fit. These are fantastic chinos for guys with muscular legs.
Okay, now on to the outfits!
In this first outfit I’ve combined the stretch chinos with a lightweight Italian cashmere crew neck sweater by J.Crew, a white v-neck t-shirt underneath, and a pair white Adidas Stan Smiths:
This look is simple and clean and perfect for casual weekends when you’re out running errands or just hanging out with some friends at your favourite coffee shop.
The reason why I’ve incorporated the v-neck t-shirt underneath the sweater is for comfort purposes. Although cashmere is incredibly soft I still find it a bit uncomfortable to wear against bare skin. Feel free to leave this out if the cashmere is no factor for you.
Also, you’ll note that I’ve included a pair of casual sneakers in this outfit. Why not winter boots? You could easily do winter boots with this outfit but for some of us that live in milder climates it’s nice to throw on the sneakers every now and again in the winter time, especially when there’s no snow on the ground.
In this second look I’ve stepped it up a little bit and paired the stretch chinos with a nice white button up shirt from Batch Shirts, a beautiful cotton-cashmere cardigan from J.Crew and a pair of Ted Baker Camroon chelsea boots:
This is a great look at the office or anywhere where you need to look presentable by not “suit and tie presentable.”
Of course, you could always swap out the chelsea boots for a pair of winter boots like Iron Rangers and if you’re not a big fan of cardigan sweaters you could always swap that out for a classy v-neck sweater or donegal wool crew neck sweater.
And just like with the last outfit the best way to round this one out would be with a pea coat, scarf, and some gloves.
In this final look I’ve ratcheted the level of formality all the way by pairing the stretch chinos with the same classic white button up shirt from Batch Shirts as in the previous look, a herringbone blazer in English tweed by J.Crew, and the best double monks of all time: Allen Edmonds Mora 2.0:
This is a great look for those of you who don’t think that chinos can be worn with a blazer. Perfect for the office, on dates, or anywhere else where you need to make the right impression.
Do you need a tie?
I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Some other modifications can be made to this outfit as well. If you’re not a fan of the double monks you can go with a quality pair of brogues instead. Find the white shirt boring? No problem. Switch it for a gingham or bengal stripe shirt instead etc. I think you get the idea.
In terms of outerwear I recommend going with a proper top coat or trench coat depending on the weather. Of course, if it’s not too cold out you could easily turn the blazer into a piece of outerwear with the addition of a scarf and a pair of gloves.
Chinos and khakis do not have to be boring. As you can see, with a few key pieces and the right footwear they can look stylish for practically any occasion.
Just remember: choose chinos over khakis if you want to dress them up and focus on fit!
Here’s to looking sharp!