To see my Chino & Khaki Pants rules that most guys break, see here.
Waist and Seat
Like all your pants, they should fit perfectly around your waist with no need for a belt to hold them up. For chinos, the waist will sit lower than suit pants, but should hit exactly where the waist of your jeans should be – right in between the upper and mid hip-bone area. The image below shows jeans hitting perfectly in the mid-hip bone area. Anything below that will look terrible and sloppy.
The butt area, AKA the seat, should lightly hug your butt and not be saggy or very tight. If it feels like you’ll split your pants when you sit or bend down, they’re too tight. If it looks like you’re carrying a full load, you should probably try a different fit or brand. if that doesn’t work, you may also be able to go down a size and see if that fixes the issue. And if that doesn’t work, you can get need get the upper thighs taken in by a tailor to compensate for the extra room in the seat. Just a warning, though, this will cost so much that you can likely get a new pair of chino pants for the same price.
RealMenRealStyle has the perfect illustration of how the seat of your chino pants should fit:
They shouldn’t fit too tight, but lie comfortably close without feeling like it’s pulling at the knees when you walk or bend down. Unlike jeans, you want a little more room in the thighs. You should be able to pinch a minimum of 1 inch of fabric, but no more than 1.5 inches on either side of your thigh. If you can pinch more than that, try a different style or brand or, if possible, go down a size. As a last resort, you can get a tailor to slim the legs to this size, but just like taking in the seat of your chinos, it’ll probably cost more than buying a whole new pair of pants.
How long should chinos or khakis be?
A lot of (older) guys think their chinos should fit like long drapes on their legs. Unlike jeans, wool pants and trousers and suit pants, you want your chino pants to be hemmed to leave a slight or no break. Also, unlike your wool trousers, you want them to be hemmed straight across instead of slightly longer in the back.
If you’re thinking about going sock-less with your chinos, then go with a slight break. This enables you to switch it up – if you want a no-break or cropped look, you can just roll them up and unroll them when you don’t want that any longer. It gives you a little more flexibility and versatility.
The gentleman in the right image, wearing sand colored chinos, has no break/cropped pants. The fella on the left is wearing his chinos with a slight break.
The Best Chino & Khaki Pants For Men
See my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials: Chino Pants article and video for my favorite pairs of chinos & khaki pants you should own, regardless of your age or body type.