Khakis vs Chinos: Difference and Comparison

Khakis and chinos are names that are sometimes used simultaneously, however, they are not interchangeable. It’s similar to how we refer to products by their brand names, such as  Kleenex for tissues or Q-tips for cotton swabs.

So, what is the difference between khakis and chinos? It is heavily influenced by the material.

Key Takeaways

  1. Khakis are made of cotton twill fabric, while chinos can be made of various fabrics.
  2. Khakis are more casual and have a rougher texture, while chinos are smoother and can be dressed up or down.
  3. Khakis have a straight cut, while chinos can have a variety of cuts and styles.

Khakis vs Chinos

Khakis are made of 100% cotton and are characterized by their light beige or tan color. They have a more casual, rugged appearance and are associated with military or outdoor activities. Chinos are made of a cotton twill fabric and come in a variety of colors, including khaki, beige, navy, and olive. They have a smoother, dressier appearance than khakis.

Khakis vs Chinos

Chinos are always composed of a lighter 100% cotton or cotton-blend fabric with a coarser weave, but khakis are traditionally made of a heavier 100% cotton twill fabric. Chinos are so thinner and fit closer to the body than khakis.

Khakis are of a higher weight. They are made of 100 % cotton and must be ironed appropriately. In most cases, the stitching is evident. The front can be pleated or flat.

Khaki, a dusty light-brown or beige color, is the classic color, but manufacturers are now creating them in earth tones, black, and blue. Khakis are the most popular choice for wearing during manual labour because they are both durable and comfy.

Chino cloth is a twill fabric that was initially made entirely of cotton. Chinos are less bulky than khakis. They’re comprised of either 100 percent cotton or a stretchy synthetic material combined with cotton.

The weaving is a little sloppy. Stitching is normally hidden, similar to how it is in dress pants. Chinos are rarely required to be ironed, but if they are, the ironing is minimal.

Chinos are made and available in a variety of bright colors. Designers frequently use bright colors to color them. Chinos are more appropriate for semi-formal events.

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonKhakisChinos
MaterialHeavier-weight cotton, always.100 % Cotton combined with flexible synthetic fabric; lightweight.
Worn byBoth men and womenMainly men
Ironing requiredYes, Proper ironing is required.Rarely, Light ironing is required.
Occasions Casual occasions like dinners, gatherings, and manual works.Semi-formal, more tailored attire for workdays, and weddings.

What is Khakis?

A tough brownish-yellow cotton or wool fabric that is commonly used in military uniforms. British Lieutenant Sir Harry Lumsden attempted to mask his forces in the 19th century by using local materials and fading procedures to create a cloth that would turn his men’s white military trousers into a duller tan tint that would mix better with sandy terrains.

The color is referred to as “khaki,” which is derived from the Hindi word for “dust.”These khaki-style pants were immediately adopted by numerous regiments and armies. Traditional “khaki” pants are constructed of a thicker twill weave material and fashioned in a looser shape with a pleated front.

Khaki pants are constructed of heavier fabrics such as canvas, are cut looser or boxier, and can be used for a variety of rough activities. They’re too informal for a standard workplace setting, but they’d be fine for a stroll through the park or other outside activities.

Khakis have a long history in India, dating back to British colonialism. Troops colored white cotton pants with native plants in response to the tropical heat, resulting in the typical color. Khakis has become the region’s standard-issue uniform. Uniforms at the time were made of a more durable fabric than is used today.


What is Chinos?

The fabric is made of sturdy cotton and has a steep twill structure. The fabric is mercerized to offer it a little gloss. For so many years, Chino has been used to make outfits for the US Army as well as the British Soldiers.

It’s one of the few fabrics that can resist the demands of military service. Chinos are a type of fabric that was initially used to make pants and trousers. Chino cloth was a Chinese lightweight twill weave (hence the name).

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By the second half of the nineteenth century, both French and British militaries were employing chino material to produce their khaki uniform trousers.

Chinos are light, cotton-blend trousers that are woven in a twill weave and come in a variety of colors. Chinos are a type of pants that can be found in a wide range of colors.

During the Spanish-American conflict in the Philippines, Chinos were also worn by the soldiers. The Chinese lightweight twill weave uniforms were modelled after the previous uniforms detailed above.

The name chino is derived from Spanish slang for “China,” as one might expect. The pants, however, were created with tapered legs and no pleats or pockets to save fabric. 

Men’s chino pants have a much more fitted fit and visible stitching patterns, offering them a dressier appearance than a standard “khaki pants.” These elements make them excellent for wearing as a pant to the office or for corporate casual settings.


Main Differences Between Khakis and Chinos

  1. Khakis are manufactured from heavyweight 100% cotton, whereas Chinos are created from lightweight cotton blended with stretchy synthetic fibre.
  2. Khakis feature more visible, bold embroidery for a casual style, whilst Chinos have hidden and subtle stitching for a more finished and dressy aspect.
  3. Khakis will need to be ironed properly to look their finest, however Chinos would only need a light ironing, 
  4. Khakis are best suitable for most daytime activities, excursions, and dinners, but Chinos are better suited for semi-formal occasions wherein a more fitting, professional appearance is required.
  5. Khaki is a dusty light-brown or tan color that comes in Earth tones, Black, and Navy, whereas on the other hand, chinos are frequently dyed in bright colors. 
Difference Between Khakis and Chinos

Last Updated : 07 August, 2023

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26 thoughts on “Khakis vs Chinos: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The difference in fabric and material is clearly explained. I appreciate that this article provides a detailed comparison of the two types of pants.

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