Chinos or Jeans
July 12, 2019

When it comes to choosing the right bottom-wear, it is understandable to be confused. What do you pair with t-shirts and shirts? Out of the various options competing for your attention, let’s specifically talk about chinos vs jeans. Do you find yourself caught between the two? If you have ever wondered what to wear with chinos, here’s a handy guide.

From The Beginning

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’- this adage pretty much sums up the creation of chinos and jeans. Chinos are lightweight trousers with their roots in American war zones, created out of a need to camouflage to stay hidden from enemy troops. Having been worn as a part of military uniforms for generations, the returning soldiers of World War II popularised these pants as everyday fashion as they were versatile.

Jeans, on the other hand, were first created by the duo Jacob W. Davis and Levi Strauss to provide sturdier pants for factory workers. Little did they know that they would later become staple fashion items. The thick fabric that withstood hard work then is now a classic fashion piece in everyone’s wardrobe.

So, you see, where one provides excellent adaptability, the other owns the hallmark in durability.

Know The Differences

One of the many ways to effectively resolve the debate of chinos vs jeans would be to become aware of their differences. Here’s how they differ:

  •   Fabric

Chinos are made up of a lightweight cotton twill fabric, making them an excellent pick for daily wear and off-duty looks. Jeans, on the other hand, are made from a thicker material called denim and provide versatility by being suitable for casual and dressy occasions.

  •   Age groups

Chinos are a popular choice among people of all ages and professions due to their relaxed feel, while jeans are more common among teenagers and young adults.

  •   Colours

Chino pants are mostly available in shades of yellow, brown and khaki (with khaki being the original hue). The most widely available jeans colours are shades of blues and blacks, although they are available in other colours today.

  •   Climatic conditions

Their lightweight feature makes chino pants ideal during the spring and summer seasons, while jeans are the go-to winter option owing to their thicker fabric.

  •   Styles

Jeans are available in a wide range of variants such as slim fit, flare, boot cut, ripped, straight leg, and relaxed fit among others. Chinos are available only in their standard trouser form.

What It Takes To Find The Perfect Fit

Which of these will flatter your physique best? Who wins in the chinos vs jeans battle? Here are a few basic guidelines to help you to grab your perfect fit:

  • Chinos

It’s easy to pull off most looks while wearing chinos and you don’t have to be too particular while shopping for them. Just keep in mind to find a balanced fit, as chinos look great when they are comfortably snug–neither too tight nor too loose. If you fail to find your perfect fit, you can even have them tailored to your specific needs.

  • Jeans

A quintessential style that is both laid-back and refined at the same time, jeans come in a variety of styles suitable for different body types. Before you pick a pair of jeans, understand your body type. Skinny fit jeans are best suited for those with a smaller and leaner frame. Slim, super skinny and straight cut jeans will accentuate a slender and tall physique. If you have a more muscular or larger body structure, then avoid skinny jeans and opt for loose and straight fit jeans instead.

Styling Tips

If the choice of chinos vs jeans still trips you up, knowing the occasion you are shopping for can help you decide. Here are a few styling tips:


There is no wrong way to style chino pants. What’s even better is that they pair well with almost everything. However, what you need to keep in mind is the occasion. Since jeans may be seen as casual no matter how you dress it up, chinos can be perfect for a formal occasion.

Chinos paired with a t-shirt is the easiest combination to style, especially for men. Choose any colour of chinos and match them with a contrasting t-shirt. For a laid-back appearance, you can opt for crisp linen shirts paired with slim chinos and beat the heat in style or simply throw over a coat or bomber jacket and be winter ready. If the occasion calls for a more sophisticated look, just finish off with a blazer or add a formal touch to your look with a classic tie. For the old-school or non-conformists, pairing chinos with open-necked shirts is a perfect style. For a classy and timeless look, wear a white shirt with either khaki or classic navy chinos.

One of the best things about chinos is the freedom they offer men when it comes to colour blocking. Available in a variety of hues, you can easily mix and match chinos with contrasting colour shirts and t-shirts for a more personalised fashion statement. 


Jeans provide a variety of styling options depending on their style. Since skinny jeans are mostly available in shades of deep blues and blacks; pairing them up with lighter coloured shirts or t-shirts gives you a balanced look. White and grey jeans can be teamed with a pastel linen shirt for an elegant and chic look. Ripped jeans go best with colour blocked t-shirts or t-shirts with subtle designs.

To sum it up, there is no right or wrong way to go about when it comes to style. Fashion, maybe, but not style. Style is personal and should be open to individual discretion.

The bottom line is, be it chinos or jeans, both, can be worn either formally or casually but in varying degrees. So, the question is not really about which among chinos or jeans is better, but about the context in which each can ideally be worn. Hopefully, this guide has helped you determine the same.

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