Three ways to look good in chinos this summer

When it’s too hot to wear jeans, the cooler alternative is chinos. They’re also more versatile, because, while jeans work with jackets, they inevitably dress them down. The right pair of chinos slot in under a blazer and shirt just as well as they do under a plain white T-shirt or a grey marl sweatshirt. They have a sleekness that makes them a touch dressier than jeans, thanks to their inconspicuous set-in pockets, and the fact that they’re a solid color with no fade lines.

Chinos first had their moment in the spotlight when they became indelibly associated with the dress-down Friday phenomenon of the late 1990s. For good or ill, Casual Friday has largely overflowed into every other day of the week, but progress has been made in the design of chinos, which were once baggy enough to flap in the wind like a boat sail. Here are some ways to wear the essential chino pant this summer.

With An Open-Necked Shirt

It’s simultaneously dressed up and casual when a pair of crisp chinos is paired with an open-neck resort shirt layered underneath a smart blazer. The shirt adds a relaxed note to the look that gives off a more Bohemian vibe. In fact, the overall image suggests an artist dressed for an expensive lunch with his gallerist, which is no bad thing (unless you’re heading up to the boardroom for a meeting).

Keep Them Casual

This is why smart-casual, while it may be confusing as a dress code, is not an oxymoron. Even though we’re looking at a sportcoat worn with a white shirt and brown loafers, the image we’re presented with is noticeably relaxed. It puts us in mind of cold drinks on a warm evening, or lunch in someone’s back garden, rather than the worlds of work, offices and industry.

Try Them In Blue

Try a pair of mid-blue chinos—a similar color of jeans—and you can sub all of the outfits you would typically wear with denim with these trousers. This shade of blue is deeply reminiscent of the sea and, combined with simple canvas sneakers, puts us at ease. Bare ankles are key to the summer look. You can reserve the fun socks for when it gets colder, but now’s the time to whip out those no-show socks you have in your top drawer.

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