top of page

Your guide to: Khakis and Chinos

A gentlemanly man does not always dress in a suit. He doesn’t always wear dress shirts and pleated pants because they might be inappropriate for casual activities. A gentleman is frequently spotted strolling across the city in a pair of chinos or khakis.

What are Khakis and Chinos?

What distinguishes the two, then? In a nutshell, khaki pants are cotton twill pants in the colour khaki. The phrases “khaki” and “chinos” are frequently used interchangeably since chinos are a little dressier than khakis and come in the colours navy, blue, and stone.

For the smart-casual dress rules at many workplaces, khakis are a timeless wardrobe need. They can be a sort of casual swag for the guy who won’t wear jeans, even for the most elegant men. In light of this, this book is all about chinos—their features, colours, and of course, their background.


Khaki pants have its roots in India, just like many other items of menswear, including Jodhpurs, Seersucker, Madras, and Jodhpur boots. Khaki pants were first seen in usage in 1848, when the Corps of Guides in India wore them as a part of their mandatory uniform. All regimental units stationed in India quickly adopted khakis as their active and summer dress uniform as word spread about the comfort and style of the pants. Compared to the uniforms that were previously worn, they were originally made of tightly twilled linen or cotton and were perfect for the environment.

British soldiers begin to notice the comfort of khakis.

Due to their rising popularity, khaki uniforms were eventually adopted by both the foreign services and the Indian police forces. Indian soldiers went to Ethiopia in 1867 and 1868 as part of the Abyssinian campaign, led by General Sir Robert Napier, to free British prisoners and coerce King Theodore into changing his ways. These cosy khaki clothes were first seen by British Army men on this operation.

The Dust: where Khakis got their name

Until then, white clothing worn by British troops in those regions quickly became stained; in contrast, khaki slacks remained looking clean for a significantly longer period of time. The term Khaki is explained by the Hindi word, which roughly translates to “dust-coloured.”

The British adopted Khaki pants as the standard for colonial campaign attire during the Second Boer War (1899–1902) and the Mahdist War (1884–1899) due to its comfort and aesthetic appeal.

Khakis meaning British Troops

Due to their distinctive attire, the British soldiers became known as “Khakis” during the Second Boer War. The term “khaki election,” which is now used to characterise any election called to capitalise on support for the government after winning a battle or war, was coined by historians following their victory.

Modern Era

By the 1960s, khaki pants received a new look that described a dressier and possibly more elegant style. These durable and useful dress pants were gracing every college classroom as freshers started to wear them to class. They were now known as “Chinos” also. Their dads were wearing chino trousers with a blue blazer at the country club and even the office, while the students wore them to class with a school sweater. Chinos and khakis are undoubtedly some of the most fashionable and useful pants worn by men (and women) today as a result of the trend’s continuation.

Khakis Should Be Worn Casually

Despite the fact that many fashion experts and clothing manufacturers disagree over whether the two types of pants may be worn interchangeably, there are usually small variations between the two that can make or break an ensemble.

Khakis are often fairly durable pants that provide defence against wrinkling and occasionally the elements. They come in a wide range of designs and colours, including the traditional yellow-brown, grey, brown, and even green, black, or cream. They come in flat-front and pleated forms for casual wearers, and are often manufactured from a cotton twill or linen.

The Success of Khaki Pants in the Workplace

Since the middle of the 1990s, the khaki pant has grown to be associated with IT and retail settings, making it ideal for manual labour positions or individuals who work in informal office situations. Khaki pants are a common choice of uniforms for brick and mortar retailers like Best Buy and Target.

Additionally, a lot of engineers and tradespeople who work in offices have opted for these durable pants because they complement most dress codes better than denim jeans or cargo pants. They not only provide an acceptable transition when a technician is visiting a prestigious law firm followed by a cell phone store, but also enable the visiting technician to be easily recognised as a visitor in most office buildings.

Leisure wear

Khaki pants might prove to be a very useful option for the weekend and at home for individuals who need a more professional level of clothing for the office. They provide a comparable amount of casualness, but are more sophisticated than denim jeans or shorts and go well with a button-down or polo shirt.

They can withstand wetness in some situations and even wrinkling. They are ideal for wearing to a laid-back social gathering during the day or to a pub for drinks with friends because they don’t need to be dry-cleaned. They go great with a polo shirt or a collared casual shirt, and you may wear them with a blazer or for a casual dinner at the country club.


The chino pant, so named because it was born in China, is a more refined variation of the khaki, typically with fewer (or no) pockets and less weather resistance. Pleated or flat-front chinos are appropriate for both casual and casual-dress attire because they are typically more tapered.

While we never advise wearing “thin pants,” chinos do offer a much more streamlined appearance and can be purchased with a more fitted or “skinny” appearance if the consumer wants to achieve that look.

Chinos provide the wearer with superior heat protection because they are often made of a lighter fabric than khaki pants. They can be worn with polo shirts and Oxford fabric button-down shirts as well as classic navy blazers and ties. They tend to be dressier.

Chinos are now available in a wide range of hues, from timeless neutrals to vivid, edgy styles. Even if they come in dressier forms, these pants are still fairly casual and ought to only be worn in acceptable settings. In other words, avoid wearing them to meetings. However, they are perfectly acceptable for more formal outdoor or daytime events when worn with the appropriate jacket, shirt, and tie. They are frequently treated to be wrinkle-resistant, just like khaki pants. They shouldn’t be used for strenuous activities, though, as they are not nearly as tough.

Characteristics of Chinos

  1. Cotton twill fabric or Gabardine

  2. Belt loops – Chinos are not worn with suspenders

  3. Side pockets as well as jetted back seat pockets with optional change pocket in front. Flapped back pocket possible

  4. Cuff / turn-ups look good and provide a better look because the added weight makes the pant legs hang better

  5. Zip Fly, although some prefer an old-fashioned button fly

  6. Flat Front looks good on slimmer men whereas gentlemen with bigger legs look better in pleated chinos

  7. Traditional chinos have a higher 11-12″ rise that reaches the natural waist and a slim 17″ leg-opening with about 2″ of short. Of course, if you have bigger thighs the thin look will look bad on you.

In Conclusion

Spring, summer, and fall fashion must-haves include chinos and khaki pants. Everything from a polo shirt and boat shoes or espadrilles to oxfords and a jacket looks great with them. Hence, every man should have room for them in his closet.

4 views0 comments
bottom of page