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Thread: Chinos - Casual to Formal?

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    Chinos - Casual to Formal?

    I am an IT professional that works in a business casual office. I am rarely in meetings where i need to dress up heavily. I normally wear JCrew Ludlow 4 season Dress Pants with a dress shirt to work. Never a tie, but occasionally wear a jacket when i have a steering committee meeting or something. I am trying to diversify my outfits but never feel confident that chinos and a dress shirt are appropriate but when i think about it, there is no reason it cant work and look just fine.

    I think my issue is the TYPE of chino. I have Banana Republic Aiden Chinos in green, grey, and a few other colors. My real question is whether these specific chinos are too casual to wear with a dress shirt? Is there a scale of formality within a chino that makes one more appropriate for a dress shirt than another? If im being ridiculous, let me know. If im on to something, what chinos would you say are appropriate?

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    Varsity Member Shade's Avatar
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    I'd stick with wool pants in the work place. They just look better in general and definitely with a dress shirt.

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    Varsity Member mebejoseph's Avatar
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    I wear BR and Amazon chinos sometimes on casual Friday with a dress shirt (usually button down collar) and one of my unstructured sport coats (suits and ties the rest of the week). I get multiple compliments nearly every time I do it. My wife also likes the look a lot.

    So, my vote is a yes.

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    Yeah, I don't think there's anything wrong with chinos and a dress shirt. That's my go-to business/casual wear. Of course, you want cleaner, more professional chinos, but I feel like BR chinos do the trick. Their rapid movement chinos definitely do. I can't think of many situations that don't require a tie where chinos would be seen as unprofessional. There's nothing wrong with wool pants, but I don't see a problem in throwing chinos into the mix to change things up.
    As for specific types of chinos, I think you just want something that looks clean and sturdy and isn't overly baggy. For example, GAP has its vintage wash chinos, which I think look a little less professional than other kinds. I think the main chinos from Bonobos, Jcrew, and BR all work as formal chinos, though.

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    A major knock on chinos is the wrinkling. Some chinos, a few of which have been mentioned in this thread, are wrinkle-resistant, which would help allay your worries over formality.

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    The chinos i have are the ones with a standard button closure as opposed to a trouser closure. They are not like any on their site right now. Not rapid movement etc. Maybe that is part of what makes me think they are fairly casual. They are also a little thicker and less dress pant looking than my jcrew factor chinos that I have. Am i correct in thinking the BR ones i are referencing here may be too casual or do i just need to relax? LOL.

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    I wore chinos with button down collar dress shirt often. BR Aidens and JCF Sutton. I wouldn't have done it with a typical dress shirt though. The button down collar seemed to dress the shirt down enough for me to feel OK with it. It was my personal work uniform for a while...until I started working from home.

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    Chinos and OCBD ar more appro than a true dress shirt

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    I think the real question here is the fabric of the dress shirt and not the chinos per se. Poplin, Royal Oxford, and even twill shirts can be too formal for chinos. Oxford cloth, chambray, flannel, linen, blends, and probably quite a few other fabrics work with chinos. I know this won't work for every occasion but if the shirt looks best when starched, it likely will not work with chinos.

    Creased, cotton pants can be a little more formal so shirting material can differ on what looks good. I stay away from these pants as I have not found a great environment for them.

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    I only wear dress shirts with dress trousers, and wear chinos (banana republic aiden) only with OCBD's and polos

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