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This is an in-depth men’s fit guide on how chinos should fit. Chinos and khakis are incredibly versatile and unlike jeans, chinos can be worn in business casual settings.
For more casual settings they can also just as easily be worn in place of jeans. Therefore, chinos truly are an all-round men’s pant which can be dressed up or down easily. Since chinos and khakis are dressier than a typical pair of jeans, you want the fit to be slightly different, similar to a pair of dress pants.
How Should Chino Pants Fit at the Waist?
Just like you shouldn’t need a belt to wear your jeans so too should your chinos and khakis fit around your waist; snug but not tight. Unlike jeans however, chinos and khakis should sit higher on your waist around your hip bone or about 1-2 inches below your belly button. The reason for this is that chinos and khakis are a dressier pair of pants which you will routinely wear with more formal items such as a dress shirt, blazer and sport coat.
In order for the chinos and khakis to look good with dressier items, they need to sit higher on your waist as compared to jeans since wearing low-rise pants makes your outfit overly casual.
Note: I’ve personally found that a rise of 10’ – 11’ works for most men in the 5’8 to 6’2 range. However, if you are shorter than 5’8 then perhaps a 9’ rise would look better. But I would avoid chinos and khakis that have a rise lower than 9’ since they will sit too low on your waist and will look unprofessional.
How Chinos Should Fit the Hip and Thigh Region
Unlike with jeans which some men routinely wear too close to the body, your chinos and khakis should lightly hug your hips and thigh region without ever being skin tight. Remember, you will be wearing these pants in more formal settings, and there is nothing worse than wearing skin tight clothing in front of co-workers.
The pants should also not be so loose that they look sloppy. Aim for a slim-straight look that is both stylish and modern. The pants should fall straight from the waist and hips down to your shoes. They should not be skin tight and should gently follow the shape of your legs. If they are skin tight they will not only look unprofessional but you will also get unsightly creasing across the leg area. The pants should also not be so loose that your legs are lost in them. Rather, the chinos should have a slim-straight silhouette.
How Long Should Chinos Be?
A common mistake most men make is buying pants that are too long and then not getting them hemmed. This results in unsightly fabric around the shoe area. This not only ruins the entire look of the outfit but also makes you look unprofessional. Then on the other hand you have men wearing their pants cut a bit too short. This look is fine for more casual pants where you would wear them with loafers for a summer inspired look.
However, if you plan on wearing your chinos and khakis to work, then they should fall right above your shoes. They should touch the top of your shoes but should not bunch.
Should Chinos Be Tapered?
Another aspect to consider is the taper of the chinos and pants around your shoes. You don’t want bell bottoms nor do you want a leg opening so narrow that taking off your chinos around the ankle becomes a task itself. The leg of the chinos and khakis should taper gently around your ankle whereby it looks modern and professional.
Personally, I’ve found a 7-8 inch leg opening suits most men in the 5’8 to 6’2 range. If you’re shorter than 5’8 and have slimmer ankles, then you can opt for a 6 inch leg opening. However, I would not go below 6 inches regardless of your height because then you get into skinny jeans territory.
Looking for good quality affordable chinos? Check out our Review of Banana Republic Chinos.
How to Wear Chinos
Chinos are incredibly versatile, even more so than jeans. This is because chinos can be worn confidently in casual and business casual settings. For casual outfits, you can simply replace your jeans with chinos and wear pretty much everything else that you would normally wear with jeans such as boots, sneakers and dress shoes.
For business casual looks, chinos can replace dress pants and you can pair them with dress shirts, blazers and dress shoes. Check out ‘How to Style Chinos’ casually and for business casual looks.
I hope you’ve enjoyed and most importantly found helpful this guide on how chinos should fit. You might now be wondering about the fit for khaki pants and whether it is different than for chinos. But here’s the thing; khaki pants are just chinos in the khaki color. As such, the fit criteria is exactly the same (i.e., your chinos and khakis should fit identically).
Some recommended khaki pants
Everlane: The Midweight Slim Chino
Banana Republic: Chinos and Khaki Pants
Levi’s: Men’s Khaki Pants
Dockers: Khaki Pants For Men