Jeff84

Senior Member
For most of my adult life in the civilian world, I've worn jeans, a suit or Dockers khakis for work. I haven't worn Dockers aside from maybe with a shirt and tie. While trying to update my wardrobe, I've purchased a few sport coats, but want to expand the jeans/ sport coat combo.
My question is, when wearing a sport coat, dress shirt or sport shirt with either loafers or bluchers, would it look better to wear chinos (with or without a crease) or Dockers khakis with a crease? Also, do any of you wear creased chinos ONLY when a tie is incorporated, or would flat front chinos and a tie be appropriate?

Right now I have Haggar flat front chinos and a pair of Dockers creased khakis. Thank you for your insight.
 

SG_67

Connoisseur
I don't claim to be an expert on either Dockers or Haggar brands, however there is a difference between chinos and cotton gabardine slacks. As for the term khaki, that's actually a color and so either chinos or cotton gabardines can be called khaki based on the color.

I can't tell you about the technical differences, in terms of fabric weave, between chinos and cotton gabardine, but cotton gabardine tends to drape better and hold a crease better. I'd better those with a sport coat/blazer as opposed to chinos. Chinos are more casual.
 

Charles Dana

Honors Member
. My question is, when wearing a sport coat, dress shirt or sport shirt with either loafers or bluchers, would it look better to wear chinos (with or without a crease) or Dockers khakis with a crease?
What looks better to you? That's what matters. There is no one objective answer.

It appears as though you have taken the entire universe of cotton trousers and have divided it into exactly three categories:

a. Jeans
b. Dockers khakis
c. Everything else

But there's nothing unique or special about Dockers khakis. They don't warrant a special room all by themselves in the pantheon of cotton trousers. It's just one brand of khakis. That's all.

And what one company refers to as "khakis," another refers to as "chinos." To people who really study this stuff, there are some distinctions between chinos and khakis. In general, chinos are made of lighter-weight fabric than khakis. And while it's true that "khaki" is a tan/beige/dusty-ish color, "khakis" is sometimes loosely used in reference to relatively sturdy, casual cotton trousers (but not jeans) regardless of color.

Unless you write catalogue copy for clothing retailers, the difference between "chinos" and "khakis" is, in your everyday life, a distinction without a difference. So don't worry about it.

Also, do any of you wear creased chinos ONLY when a tie is incorporated, or would flat front chinos and a tie be appropriate ?
I guess you meant to say "un-creased flat-front chinos."

I think that when a tie enters the picture, then a sport coat must follow. (It's perfectly fine if the sport coat is removed at some point, but you should start off by wearing one.) And while I can't speak for other people, I strongly prefer creased trousers--usually wool, sometimes the cotton gabardines that SG 67 mentioned--with a jacket and tie.

However, since a sport coat is inherently casual, and chinos/khakis are even more casual, it's not a big deal if you wear creaseless chinos or khakis with them, even if you are wearing a necktie. I prefer a crease--I think it looks better--but no crease is OK in my view.
 
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Woofa

Super Member
It can be difficult to differentiate between the different kinds of pants and all the more so because I think there is so much variation that they overlap.
I look at there being three basic categories (from most to least casual):
  1. Jeans - This can either be something basic and traditional like 501’s or the more modern denim’s which come in a wide variety.
  2. Casual dress pants (usually cotton or similar.) - Think Bill’s Khakis, most dockers, or corduroys. These are easily paired with a polo or patterned button down shirt with no tie or sportcoat but often with a sweater or light jacket.
  3. Dress pants (generally made of wool.) - Think Zanella’s, Incotex, Brooks Brothers. These are easily dressed up to match with a button down shirt, tie and sport coat and is what I would historically consider appropriate attire for “casual Fridays.” (Understanding that my work is very casual and this has now morphed into drastically less formal.)

But even within these categories, there can be a pretty wide variance depending upon texture, color, cut, etc. An example is that when I lived up North I often had a number of pairs of wide wale corduroys which I wore casually, often with a Shetland wool sweater or maybe a tweed sportcoat. Now that I live in Dallas, I wear thinner wale cords (when possible) which I consider to be more formal and which I could pair successfully with some of my more casual sportcoats or with a thinner sweater. Similarly, basic cotton khaki’s have a pretty wide variance running from the un-ironed light colored dockers which I think go better with a polo up through a darker(English Khaki,) thicker and ironed Brooks Brothers Chino which I think can easily dress up with an OCBD and a blue blazer with or without tie.
I think that to a certain degree I use the eyeball test when deciding how to pair these together.


 
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Jeff84

Senior Member
I was using Dockers brand khaki style pants as an example. My understanding is that obviously there are differences between chinos and khakis (pant not color). I know they are both casual compared to dress pants and suit pants.
 

Charles Dana

Honors Member

Randy Carson

New Member
For most of my adult life in the civilian world, I've worn jeans, a suit or Dockers khakis for work. I haven't worn Dockers aside from maybe with a shirt and tie. While trying to update my wardrobe, I've purchased a few sport coats, but want to expand the jeans/ sport coat combo.
My question is, when wearing a sport coat, dress shirt or sport shirt with either loafers or bluchers, would it look better to wear chinos (with or without a crease) or Dockers khakis with a crease? Also, do any of you wear creased chinos ONLY when a tie is incorporated, or would flat front chinos and a tie be appropriate?

Right now I have Haggar flat front chinos and a pair of Dockers creased khakis. Thank you for your insight.
You probably already know this, but I'm going to say it anyway just in case:

Kleenex is a brand. Tissue is a paper product used to blow your nose. If you ask for a Kleenex, people will hand you whatever brand of tissue they have on hand.

Khaki is a color. Chino is a cotton-twill fabric. If you ask for Khakis, people will point you to their shelf of khaki-colored chinos.
 
It can be difficult to differentiate between the different kinds of pants and all the more so because I think there is so much variation that they overlap.
I look at there being three basic categories (from most to least casual):
  1. Jeans - This can either be something basic and traditional like 501’s or the more modern denim’s which come in a wide variety.
  2. Casual dress pants (usually cotton or similar.) - Think Bill’s Khakis, most dockers, or corduroys. These are easily paired with a polo or patterned button down shirt with no tie or sportcoat but often with a sweater or light jacket.
  3. Dress pants (generally made of wool.) - Think Zanella’s, Incotex, Brooks Brothers. These are easily dressed up to match with a button down shirt, tie and sport coat and is what I would historically consider appropriate attire for “casual Fridays.” (Understanding that my work is very casual and this has now morphed into drastically less formal.)

But even within these categories, there can be a pretty wide variance depending upon texture, color, cut, etc. An example is that when I lived up North I often had a number of pairs of wide wale corduroys which I wore casually, often with a Shetland wool sweater or maybe a tweed sportcoat. Now that I live in Dallas, I wear thinner wale cords (when possible) which I consider to be more formal and which I could pair successfully with some of my more casual sportcoats or with a thinner sweater. Similarly, basic cotton khaki’s have a pretty wide variance running from the un-ironed light colored dockers which I think go better with a polo up through a darker(English Khaki,) thicker and ironed Brooks Brothers Chino which I think can easily dress up with an OCBD and a blue blazer with or without tie.
I think that to a certain degree I use the eyeball test when deciding how to pair these together.


Woofa's answer is spot on.

Personally, I never wear a sport coat with jeans or chinos/corduroys.
 

Jeff84

Senior Member
Where I live, if you go to say Kohl's or JcPenney and ask for khaki pants, you will be directed to the section that has brands such as Dockers, Haggar, Croft and Barrow, etc. Plus on other sites for example Real Men Real Style, they say that khaki "style" pants and chino are similar but different. As someone mentioned earlier on this thread, there are subtle differences and I am aware of that. I can tell the difference between a Levi's chino and the brand I bought, being that one is more casual than the other. I just want to know since I am still relatively new in terms of dressing nicer, if khaki style pants (not the color) that you see guys wear in the office with a dress shirt &tie or a polo, or at a job like Best Buy or what had you, can be dress casual enough to wear with a sport coat.
 

FLMike

Connoisseur
The way you differentiated flat front from creased in your original post makes me think you meant pleated when you said creased. Is that the case? You can wear flat front or pleated khakis with a crease or without. There's no correct way. But again, I'm not sure you were even thinking about a crease, but rather pleats. Although I could be mistaken.....if so, please forgive the tangent.
 

Jeff84

Senior Member
When I mistakenly said flat front I meant without a crease. I'm on the thin side and 33, so pleats would be a no go.
 

Charles Dana

Honors Member
I just want to know...if khaki style pants (not the color) that you see guys wear in the office with a dress shirt &tie or a polo, or at a job like Best Buy or what had you, can be dress casual enough to wear with a sport coat.
The answer is "yes."

(Creased pants would look better in my opinion, but uncreased would be OK.)

This thread is getting tied up in knots for no good reason. To simplify matters, how about this? Suppose that for now--not necessarily forever, but for now--you stopped using the terms "khakis" and "chinos." Those two words seem to be yanking you every which way.

For the time being, how about using the term "casual cotton trousers" instead of "khakis" and "chinos."

So for instance, when you are in Kohl's or wherever or logged onto a clothing forum in search of trousers that are khaki-ish or chino-ish, just:

(a) Say you need help finding "flat-front casual cotton trousers."

(b) Then specify the color you have in mind: "flat-front casual cotton trousers that are [olive green] [British tan] [stone] [beige] [whatever]."

(c) Add that you intend to wear these cotton trousers with a sport coat.

Steps (a), (b), and (c) will probably get you directly to where you want to go; you won't get sidetracked with excruciating explanations of the differences between khakis and chinos and how "khaki" is a color and it comes from the Hindustani word for "dusty soil" and chino is derived from "China" and the British army used to be in India and thank God India achieved independence and chino fabric is lighter in weight than khaki fabric and on and on and on. Never mind all that stuff.

Enough with "khakis" and "chinos." Those words are messing you up. Ask for "flat-front casual cotton trousers that are [insert name of color] to wear with a sport coat." Then try on pants until you find what you like regardless of what they are called.

If the trousers look good to you, feel good to you, fit you properly, are within your budget, and will be appropriate in the context in which you will be wearing them--then that's what matters. I don't give a crap if they are called "Brunhildas." Those are the ones you will buy.
 

Jeff84

Senior Member
Sorry about that Charles. Based on your replies here and in other threads, I can tell you know what you're talking about.
 
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