Chinos vs Khakis: What’s the Difference?

It’s a common assumption that chinos and khakis refer to the same style of pants. While they certainly share some similarities, there are key differences between the two that shouldn’t go unnoticed. So if you’re searching for a new pair of pants, keep reading to learn the differences between chinos and khakis, and which one comes out on top as the winner.

Similarities

Before we reveal the differences between chinos and khakis, let’s first talk about their similarities. Based on the appearance of these two garments alone, you’ll notice they are strikingly similar in terms of design. Chinos and khakis are both flat-suited pants that can be worn by men and women. They are also manufactured using a variety of different materials and fabrics, some of which includes cotton, twill, and even synthetic fabrics like polyester for a “stretchier” feel.

Stitching

If you look closely, you’ll notice there are subtle differences between chinos and khakis. For starters, khakis tend to leave the stitching exposed and visible, whereas chinos conceal the stitching. For this reason, many people prefer chinos over their khaki counterpart for formal occasions and events. With the stitching hidden from plain sight, they offer a more formal, dressy appearance that’s not found in khakis.

Weight

Another notable difference between these two garments is the weight of the fabric. As previously stated, chinos and khakis are both manufactured in a variety of different materials, including cotton and twill. But the weight of the fabrics used in their construction varies depending on the type of pants. Chino pants, for instance, are typically made with a lighter fabric, whereas khakis are made with a thicker, heavier fabric. Even if the fabric is the same, it’s usually heavier in khakis as opposed to chinos.

Should I Choose Chinos and Khakis?

Now for the million-dollar question: should I wear chinos or khakis? Both styles of pants have their own strengths and weaknesses, some of which we’ve discussed above. If you are attending a formal event, however, it’s best to stick with chinos. Chinos are made with higher quality fabric and materials, as well as greater attention to detail in regards to craftsmanship. But if you are looking for a basic pair of pants for casual wear, then khakis should suffice.

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