What's the Difference Between Khakis & Chinos

What's the Difference Between Khakis & Chinos

November 11, 2016

What's the Difference Between Khakis & Chinos

Do you call them chinos Or khakis?

These two terms for everyone’s favorite casual pant have become interchangeable. But it wasn’t always this way.

The term chino derives from a fabric type made in China and prized by the U.S. military because it met a few important uniform requirements. It was sturdy, comfortable, cool and able to camouflage in sandy locales. In the no-nonsense way the military has of producing textiles, American mills began churning out bolts of cotton twill to make the pants that would eventually come to be known as chinos. Of course today, we’re not limited just to cotton, the same fabric weave is now made in blends of linen, rayon, synthetics and even stretch.

Khaki also has its roots in the military creating a rich history for men’s clothing. The word came into English from the Indian subcontinent via the British army and it described a particular shade of yellow-tan. The color was adopted into uniforms for U.S. soldiers. Sometime over the 20th century, as the conscripted look was co-opted by civilian fashion, both khaki and chino came to refer to the casual dress pant we know today.

History lesson aside, what matters now isn’t what you call them but how you wear them. First off, a guy can never have too many. Some of us wear them seven days a week. And why shouldn’t we? They bridge the gap between dressy and casual, looking perfectly at ease in the office or on the weekend. Flat-front styles are by far the most popular choice, with most of us leaving the pleated front to another generation. More on that later.

The best news is that the chino is now available in a wide range of colors. Yes, there have always been the navy, beige and olive staples—and you can’t go wrong with the classics—but lately designers have been pushing the boundaries, giving us a whole new reason to get excited about pants. Maroon, periwinkle blue and golden yellow are currently enjoying a moment, to name just a few. Just remember that all’s fair in love and chinos (or khakis) as long as few simple rules are followed.

1. The pant should not be tight to your leg but also shouldn’t billow. That means keep it comfortably close but with enough room to move freely.

2. Mind the break. A break is a crease at the base of the pant leg where it comes in contact with the shoe. You generally want one break in the pant leg. Unless you’re going without socks, in which case there should be no break. There should also be no sockless look unless it’s summertime or you’re on a yacht. Ideally both.

3. Pleated or Flat Front?...Want to look trimmer...always go flat front. A flat front has the advantage of making us all look a little more trim and toned....otherwise Pleated will do the trick.

4. Finally, when you find the fit you love, the one that makes you look and feel great, count yourself lucky and stock up. ENRO makes the Best Performing Khakis In The World with an expandable waist and in 100% Non-Iron Cotton. We have specialize in men’s clothing for over 100 years!