Difference Between Chinos and Khakis

Main Difference – Chinos vs Khakis

Chinos and Khakis are two distinct styles of pants though many people presume them to be the same. Both Chinos and Khakis are comfortable fashion pants that started off as men’s fashion though they are now worn by men and women alike. Chinos have a relatively seamless and dressier look and are worn in semi-formal settings whereas Khakis are more casual, with their loose fit and multiple pockets. This is the main difference between Chinos and Khakis.

What are Khakis

Khakis first came into being in the mid 19th century, during the British imperialism in India. The word ‘khaki’ actually refers to the yellowish-brown color; it is derived from the Hindi word for dust. Khakis became very popular during the 1950s where long-lasting, stylish pants were in much demand. Since then, khakis has remained an essential item in men’s wardrobes.

Although original khakis were yellowish brown in color, today khaki pants are available in a variety of colors such as black, navy, beige, brown and other earth tones. Khakis are made from 100% heavyweight cotton and needs to be ironed properly. However, some khakis are now treated with a special chemical to make them wrinkle resistant. Khakis can have few or multiple pockets, and they also come in pleated and flat-front styles.

Khakis are a casual style and are a good alternative for denim. They are sturdy, reliable and comfortable. They can be worn for manual labor, office, light dinners, and small daytime events as well. Polo shirts, T-shirts, and button down shirts go well with khakis.Difference Between Chinos and Khakis

What are Chinos

Chinos also originated in the 20th century, in China. It is said that this style was modeled after the British Khakis, but some changes had to be made due to the necessity of conserving cloth. So chinos were created with flat fronts and few pockets, instead of pleated khakis with many pockets. Another difference between khakis and chinos is that chinos were made from 100% lightweight cotton and they rarely need ironing. The stitching is not visible; it is usually concealed, unlike in khakis.

Chinos come in many colors. Nowadays designers use bold and colors like red, cobalt blue and lime green. Chinos are stylish and dressier pants, and therefore not appropriate for hard labor. They are ideal for professional work and formal events. They can be worn with casual shirt and jacket combination, button-down shirts and sweaters.Main Difference - Chinos vs Khakis

Difference Between Chinos and Khakis 


Chinos are made from 100% lightweight cotton.

Khakis are made from 100% heavyweight cotton.


Chinos have few pockets, and they are hidden.

Khakis have multiple pockets.


The stitching is concealed in Chinos.

The stitching is visible in Khakis.


Chinos come in a wide variety of colors including red, blue and green.

Khakis come in neutral and earth colors.


Chinos come in flat-front style.

Khakis come in pleated and flat-front styles.


Chinos rarely need to be ironed.

Khakis need to be ironed properly.


Chinos are dressier and stylish pants.

Khakis are casual pants and are alternative for jeans.Difference Between Chinos and Khakis - infographic

Image Courtesy:

“Man in Khakis” by Kamyar Adl (CC BY 2.0 ) via Flickr

“Chino pants” by Kuha455405 – Own work (本人撮影).  (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons

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