The Difference Between Khakis and Chinos

We’ve all heard “khakis” and “chinos” used interchangeably to describe the same pair of pants. Even if the distinctions are small, there are distinguishing traits that distinguish each pant type. This made us wonder if most people understand the difference between chino and khaki pants. And does it really matter? For all your questions, trust Teeanime!

What Makes Chinos Different From Khakis?

The three significant differences are in the tailoring, which gives the pants their personality, and in the fabric used to make them.

Chinos have a more formal appearance than khakis due to their more recent military uniform origin. The stitching is one of the main differences between the two, and it’s a simple strategy to employ while shopping or matching outfits. The stitching on khakis is apparent, but it is hidden on chinos. This gives chino pants a more polished appearance, making them a little dressier.

The weight of the fabric is the second, less obvious and less accurate rule of thumb for distinguishing between the two.

Chinos are often composed of a lightweight 100% cotton or cotton-blend fabric with a tighter weave, whereas khakis are typically made of a heavyweight 100% cotton twill fabric. You wouldn’t wear chinos to do yard work, although you might in khakis.

Third, chino pants are frequently cut slimmer and closer to the body than khakis, contributing to their dressier appeal. Khakis’ broader cut is undoubtedly more comfortable and adaptable.

Should I Choose Khakis or Chinos?

It all depends. Aside from the obvious distinctions between chinos and khakis, there are a few other characteristics to consider when deciding which type of pants to wear for various settings or situations.

1. Chinos are available in more hues than khakis. Previously only available in a lighter shade of tan than khakis—closer to a cream color—chinos now come in a number of colors. This assortment provides you with extra seasonal style possibilities.

2. Khaki pants feature visible pockets, whereas chino pockets are hidden. Chinos’ concealed pockets add to their dressier appearance, yet both types are available in wrinkle-free patterns.

3. Most chinos have flat fronts, although khakis can have flat or pleated fronts. This is somewhat subjective, but in general, a pleated pant is more traditional. Pleats can also help balance your proportions if you are overweight in the middle or have broad shoulders. A flat front pant silhouette is a more modern pant style that flatters a thinner body type.

4. Both designs look good with a beautiful shirt and blazer. For dressier events, khakis and chinos are both preferable over jeans and are both considered “business casual.” Many people nowadays wear either style to work.

Khakis vs Slacks: Is There a Difference?

We say yes. Old English slaec means lethargic or leisurely, connected to Latin laxus, meaning loose. ‘Slacks’ originally referred to loose objects in general, notably sailing gear (think sails and ropes), but eventually evolved to refer to the loose-fitting men’s apparel. Over time,’slacks’ came to mean fancy pants, not casual pants. Khaki pants are more informal than dressier wool or wool-blend slacks, for example.

Are Chinos Formal?

No, chinos—both pants and shorts—are neither formal nor informal, but rather fall somewhere in the between. While we wouldn’t call them formal, they do dress up well when necessary. Chinos, like khakis, seem more refined when combined with a pristine Oxford pinpoint button-front and a blazer, and both pant styles look good with the right belt.

Can Khakis Be Black?

Yes, while the term “khaki” refers to both the pant design and the traditional “dirt” hue, modern khaki trousers are available in a variety of colors, including black. Chinos are available in a number of hues, but the most important chino colors to consider adding to your collection are creamy beige, navy, and other neutrals.

Are Khakis Out of Style?

No, on the contrary, khaki pants have made a significant resurgence among the fashion-conscious in recent years. The phrase may conjure up thoughts of the stodgy pants your father or grandfather wore, but today’s khakis have a cleaner cut that’s more flattering than their forefathers, in a versatile pant design that stands up to the plate when denim won’t do.

A Brief History of Khakis and Chinos

In the mid-19th century, British officers in northern Colonial India wore khakis. The word khaki comes from the Persian word for dust, which describes the uniform’s color. Khaki apparel has been immortalized in history and popular culture by characters like Indiana Jones.

Chinos originated in the Spanish-American War in the Philippines. China’s lightweight cotton twill uniforms were patterned after prior uniforms. And chino is Spanish slang meaning “China.” In order to save fabric, the pants had tapered legs and no pockets. A more streamlined fit resulted, which has lasted.

In the present day, both styles of pants have become a civilian uniform, a natty alternative to jeans. No matter what you call them, khakis and chinos will always be in style.

Do you prefer chinos or khakis?