The Difference Between Chinos and Khakis Update 06/2022

When shopping for pants, it can be difficult to sort out the various styles available, regardless of whether you’re doing so online or in-store. You may be unsure whether chinos look formal enough for business casual or if khakis are durable enough for a long hike while making your decision. On top of that, what is the difference between chinos and khakis when it comes to pants?

Because chinos are dressed up, khakis aren’t the best choice for everyday wear. Lightweight twill cotton is used to make chinos, which feature a tapered leg. In general, khakis have a robust straight leg and external stitching that makes them suited for tougher usage.

Chinos and khakis are two different kinds of pants, and this article will explain the differences between the two. In addition, you’ll learn about the differences between trousers, slacks, and pants. Finally, you’ll learn how to style each type of pants!

Chinos Vs Khakis

Chinos Vs Khakis: Key Points

They may look similar, but the shape and style of chinos and khakis are vastly different from one another. You may obtain a brief overview of each style of pants by looking at this chart!

ChinosKhakis
Design / CutTapered leg, more fitted appearanceStraight or pleated leg, looser appearance
Fabric Type and WeightThin, lightweight cotton twillHeavy, thicker cotton twill
StitchingInterior seamsExterior stitching common
ColorsMany different colorsKhaki only
UsesFor business casual, formal, or in place of dress pantsFor more casual wear
PricePrice depends on the brand, but many high-end brands sell pricy chinosPrice depends on the brand, but often affordable

What Are Chino Pants?

Ankle-length cotton twill chinos are available in a wide range of colors and styles, with the most common features being a fitting, slightly tapered cut, and many color options. The sleek design of these pants gives them a dressier appearance, making them suitable for both business casual and formal settings when worn with the appropriate shoes and shirts.

Breathable and cozy, cotton twill is a popular fabric choice. The twill weave’s diagonal thread lines are easily recognizable because it’s used in so many popular pairs of pants! Because cotton is so expensive, some producers now add polyester or spandex in the twill weave instead of solely cotton.

Following the end of the Spanish-American War, chinos became a fashion staple. In spite of the overall sadness of the situation, many fashion and fabric breakthroughs emerge throughout wartimes. If you’ve never heard of this conflict, it was fought in the late 1800s between the United States and Spain over control of colonies in the South Pacific.

The light cotton twill uniforms used by American troops stationed in the South Pacific quickly became their go-to choice. So they could move about and stay cool.

Because the cotton twill cloth used to make the pants were manufactured in China, the term “chinos” was coined by American soldiers.

The slender, light-weight trouser style was carried back to the United States by returning soldiers and is still popular today!

Many school and military uniforms still include chinos as a popular pant design. You may also wear them with a great t-shirt for a smart-casual look or as a business-casual staple.

The right shirt, blazer, and shoes can transform these casual jeans into something appropriate for a more professional setting.

Fashion-forward chinos are available from a variety of well-known retailers, including Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew, and Lands End. It would be nearly impossible to discover a menswear brand that doesn’t carry chinos!

Despite their history as a men’s uniforms, chinos are now available in women’s versions from a slew of well-known labels.

What Are Khakis Pants?

The hue of khakis is invariably a light brown, and they are usually made of durable, heavyweight cotton twill. Dresses in this style tend to have a looser or pleated fit, with a variety of pockets and pants cuffs to choose from. Khakis come in a variety of cuts, but the typical look of these pants is one of heavy-duty workman’s pants.

Simply put, “khaki” is the color of a person’s pants. For those who want a more precise description, khaki is an off-white hue of tan that is slightly darker than beige and lighter than brown, but not quite as dark as tan or as light as tan.

Many brands and manufacturers, on the other hand, use “khaki” as a moniker for a more rugged-looking pair of chinos! Khaki pants are actually dust-colored chinos in pants form. However, today, khakis are regarded as a distinct kind of pants in their own right.

In other words, where did this particular kind of pant originate? Because of the British invasion of what is now Pakistan, khaki pants became popular in Western society.

As early as the mid-1800s, a few forward-thinking British officers realized that it was pointless to outfit their troops in the conventional, oppressively hot wool of the British army uniform.

They dyed the cotton twill locally with coffee, curry, and tobacco juice to replace the heavy wool pants. Camouflage was improved as a result of this, as the uniforms matched the landscape’s colors.

Actually, the Urdu term for “khaki” is a derivative of the English word “khaki”. It refers to a color that resembles dust or dirt.

The khaki-colored cotton twill uniform pants were adopted by the British army in 1900. When returning soldiers wore these robust, comfy pants, they rapidly became a popular fashion choice!

In today’s fashion world, khakis tend to have a more rugged look than chinos. Heavy cotton twill and pleated fronts are common features of these chinos, which are looser-fitting than the traditional style.

To avoid looking too business casual or formal, khakis are not always the best choice. It’s better to think of them as a pair of jeans that you can wear around town or when hiking, but not to the office. Except for a style known as “khaki chinos,” which you’ll learn about in a moment.)

Whether you’re shopping at Target, Kohl’s, Banana Republic, or the Gap, you can find khaki pants for men and women.

What is the Difference Between Chinos and Khakis?

Chino vs khaki

Khakis, on the other hand, are fashioned with a bulkier silhouette from heavier cotton twill, whilst chinos are cut with a more tapered silhouette from a lighter-weight fabric.

This general trend may vary slightly depending on the brand or manufacturing of an individual pair of chinos or khakis, but this comparison will give you a decent understanding of the common distinctions between the two types of pants..

Design / Cut

If you’re looking for a more casual look, chinos are the best option. A looser, straight leg is common in khakis, which don’t get tighter towards the ankle. The bottom of the trouser leg may also be cuffed on some khakis, making them look even more casual.

In today’s fashion, the tapered cut looks sleeker and more trendy. Styles evolve throughout time. While the thicker khakis are commonly used for chores such as hiking or yard work, chinos look more formal and trendy because of this. Among Carhartt’s product lines is a series of hard-wearing khaki workwear.

Material

Cotton twill is a traditional fabric in both chinos and khakis, though chinos tend to use a lighter, more breathable version while khakis use a heavier one.

Both types of pants nowadays are more likely to use a blended fabric that includes at least some synthetic fabric. Although they lack the elasticity and breathability of cotton, synthetic textiles are far less expensive to make. To ensure that your pants are made of real cotton twill, check the product description before purchase!

Cotton twill is simply cotton fabric made using a twill weave pattern. The thread pattern is repeated diagonally in this weave thanks to an offset thread structure. Twill weaves are also used in gabardine and denim.

Fabric Weight

Cotton twill is just a twill-woven cotton fabric. An offset thread structure is used in this weave to generate thread patterns with repeated diagonal ribs. A twill weave is also popular in gabardine and denim, which are both made of cotton.

Stitching

Unlike jeans, khakis often have outside stitching, whereas chinos are practically never stitched on the outside.

The topstitching on khakis helps the thicker fabric sit flat where it needs to be, resulting in excellent, durable seams.

Additionally, some jeans use topstitching for decoration and protection purposes.

The only stitching seen on the inside of a pair of chinos helps them keep their slim silhouette. Topstitching isn’t necessary for lighter fabrics because they hang appropriately without it.

Colors

In contrast to khakis, chinos come in a wide range of hues. It’s easy to get mixed up when comparing these two designs of pants because they’re both available in khaki hues.

It’s not uncommon to see dark-colored chinos in addition to the popular khaki color.

Uses

Traditional dress pants can be cumbersome, but chinos are a more comfortable and fashionable option. They can be worn in a professional context and can even be considered formal attire in some cases.

Any setting in which jeans would be appropriate calls for khakis. A good sweater with khakis may be acceptable business attire if you’re allowed to wear pants to work! Generally speaking, khakis are better suited to more harsh conditions, whereas chinos are better suited to more formal or business-casual settings.

Price

Prices for chinos and khakis can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer. There are many high-end companies that produce chinos, which means that they normally cost more than the khakis sold at Walmart or Target. The reason for this is that chinos are generally more expensive than khakis.

If you’re going to wear khakis, you’re going to have to shell out for the best ones, which can be more expensive than your average pair of dress pants.

Are Khakis and Chinos the Same?

Khakis vs chinos

Khakis and chinos, as you may have guessed, come in a variety of styles. While chinos tend to be a little more dressy and fashionable, their straight-leg cut and tough fabric make khakis a more practical choice for the workday.

While “khakis” and “chinos” are distinct, some manufacturers use the terminology interchangeably, so it’s always a good idea to check the product description thoroughly to ensure you get the correct trousers!

When looking for a pair of chinos, keep in mind that a lighter fabric and a lack of exterior stitching are two things to keep in mind. A pair of khakis can be identified by its wide leg and stitching on the outside.

Are Khakis or Chinos More Formal?

Chinos have a more formal appearance than khakis, as a general rule. These pants have a sleeker, more formal style thanks to their tapered cut, and the lightweight fabric they’re made of also lends them a more refined appearance.

With their durable fabric and outside stitching, khakis can appear more casual than businesslike. To avoid conflicts with business-casual workplace dress codes, it’s best to stick to chinos while attending more formal occasions.

That being stated, what you wear with your pants has a significant impact on the formality of your ensemble. It’s possible to look businesslike and relaxed at the same time if you choose the right outfit. With khakis, you may dress them up a lot if you wear heeled shoes or loafers with them!

Khaki Chinos

The term “khaki” can apply to a specific shade of brown as well as the two distinct types of pants that they’ve replaced. In this situation, “khaki chinos” or khaki-colored chinos are available.

Chinos in khaki color remain a popular choice. Many dark-colored suits can be worn with the light, somewhat yellow tan, making it an ideal choice for business attire. However, you’ll still hear people refer to these trousers as “chinos” most of the time.

Conversely, khaki pants will always be khaki in color.

Chinos vs Jeans

Men’s and women’s chinos and jeans are popular choices, but that’s about where the similarities end. Denim, a form of cotton that weaves blue threads over white threads, is used to make jeans, whereas cotton twill is used to make chinos. In addition, although jeans tend to have a more casual appearance, chinos tend to look more dressy.

Jeans are the most popular type of pants in the United States, and this holds true for people of all ages and genders. Many people have a pair of chinos in their wardrobe, but practically everyone has at least a few pairs of jeans.

The thicker fabric used in even stretch jeans, on the other hand, makes them seem cumbersome in hot weather. To keep you cool and dry even in the heat of summer, chino pants are made from a thin cotton twill.

Chinos vs Dress Pants vs Trousers vs Slacks

Chinos are a type of dress pants or trousers, however they are not slacks in the truest sense of the word. Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of fashion terminology and how different businesses interpret the same concepts. Then again, several firms advertise their chinos as dress pants.

Dress pants with a fitted appearance, belt loops, and a button fly are known as “trousers,” and are typically referred to as such. Men’s and women’s clothing can both be described in this way. This category includes chinos, however only twill-made chinos can be referred clothing as chinos.

When it comes to dress pants, slacks, on the other hand, tend to be a little looser. As a result, even though khaki slacks are available, chinos aren’t generally considered a type of slacks.

How Do You Wear Chinos?

Difference between chino and khaki

Chic chinos look great on both men and women, as long as they’re worn properly.

When it comes to men:

  • There should be no bunching around the hips when you wear chinos.
  • When it’s cold outside, you can wear chinos with boots or formal shoes without cuffing them. Toes should be visible through the hem.
  • Cuffing the hem of a summer dress is a fashionable way to accessorize. With this cuffed look, try wearing low-top sneakers or loafers!
  • In general, chinos feature a tapered leg and a tighter fit than most other pants. If you have a more athletic build, you can find businesses that sell clothing with a cut that gives you more leeway in key places like the thighs.
  • Wear a good t-shirt with your chinos for a laid-back style. A button-down shirt is a great choice for a more formal setting. Tucking your button-down into a dark-colored blazer is a great look for the office or other formal settings.

For women, the following information is relevant:

  • Your chinos should be a good fit, but not too tight that they cling to your thighs or cause other problems.
  • Wearing chinos allows you to put together an array of sophisticated business casual and semi-formal ensembles. Wear your favorite pair of chinos with a turtleneck and heels. Adding a blazer, fashionable coat, or silk blouse will also help you put together a good ensemble.
  • Wear your chinos with a silky t-shirt or a plaid flannel shirt for a more laid-back vibe.
  • Keep in mind that the length of your pant leg will be determined by the type of shoes you choose to wear. Chinos with a tapered leg look fantastic with high heels!

How Do You Wear Khakis?

Difference between khakis and chinos

Men and women alike can wear khakis instead of jeans for a variety of activities. Take a look at these khakis-related style hints!

When it comes to men:

  • In general, khakis have a looser fit, which allows for a greater range of motion. As a result, they are a lot more casual and comfortable. Be careful, though, that you don’t end up looking ugly in a pair that is too loose!
  • Striped t-shirts, sweaters, polos, and even sweatshirts look great with khakis. In addition, a denim button-down can be worn with khakis, although jeans cannot!
  • Camping, trekking, and yard labor are all terrific uses for these more durable pants! In the street, the stronger twill fabric will stand up to wear and tear better.
  • Any combination involving khaki pants and a good leather belt is certain to look great.

For women, the following information is relevant:

  • Compared to chinos, khaki pants have a more relaxed, metropolitan feel about them. Wearing khaki pants and heeled boots with a leather jacket will instantly transform your outfit into something more street-style.
  • Wearing pastel-colored t-shirts with these pants can give you a more informal vibe.
  • Of course, you can also go super casual with a sweatshirt and sneakers!

Of course, you can also go super casual with a sweatshirt and sneakers!

Slim-fit Wrinkle-Resistant Flat-Front Chino Pant

Sweatpants and sneakers are also acceptable casual attire.

A button fly and side pockets are included in the pants. These pants are wrinkle- and odor-resistant thanks to their 60-40 cotton/polyester composition.

These pants are versatile enough to be worn to the office or a backyard barbecue! There is nothing restrictive about the tapered, casual legs.

Women’s Cropped Girlfriend Chino

These women’s mid-rise chinos have a button fly and a relaxed fit through the hips. You may dress these pants down with sneakers or up with flats. T

Cropped cotton twill pants are made with 97 percent cotton and 3 percent spandex for a soft and comfortable fit.

There are four basic colors to choose from. For the office, try a brightly colored blouse or a pastel top with these neutrals!

Carhartt Women’s Slim-Fit Crawford Double Front Pant

Find a pair of tough, yet fashionable, khakis here. Take a look at this Carhatt pair of ladies’ khakis. These pants have ornamental stitching on the outside, pockets, and a button-up fastening.

Cotton twill, like most women’s pants, incorporates a small amount of spandex for a better fit.

Also, thanks to the mid-rise waist and straight-cut legs, you’ll have plenty of mobility.

Carhartt Men’s Rugged Flex Rigby Dungaree Pant

Carhartt khakis are the only way to go if you want sturdy, long-lasting pants!

Straight-cut men’s pants with reinforced pockets are ideal for a demanding workday, thanks to their reinforced seams and outside stitching.

Comfortable at the waist, the straight legs should break at your shoe or boot tops with these pants.

Conclusion

Men’s and women’s khakis and chinos are two of the most popular and comfortable styles of pants. There is a noticeable difference in the fit and appearance of the two types of pants. Chinos tend to be leaner and appear more formal, while khakis tend to be looser and have a more relaxed fit. Cotton twill fabric is commonly seen in both styles of pants.

Khakis and chinos were originally worn by soldiers and became popular in the early twentieth century. Chinos and khakis are two of the most popular business-casual office attire options today.

What’s your go-to outfit when it comes to chinos? What about a pair of khakis with them? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

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