7 Ways to Style Your Favorite Chinos This Spring

Chinos can be an important staple in just about every man’s wardrobe. They look classic, but can be styled to look contemporary. They’re undoubtedly at the top of a list of basics — what would muted tees, great shirting, and luxurious sweaters be without chinos to accompany them? — but sometimes they can just feel a little too basic. That’s especially true at the beginning of a season like spring, when you’re just starting to reacquaint yourself with your lighter-weight clothes and are trying to remember how you styled them last year. At a loss for some interesting ways to wear the stack of chinos that’s been sitting in your dresser since last fall? Then take a look at these seven rapid-fire ideas on how to style your favorite pair of chinos this season.

1. With a white shirt

A stylish man wearing a white shirt

A stylish man wearing a white shirt | Miquel Benitez/Getty Images

Let’s start simple. Whether your favorite pair of chinos is tan or navy blue or green, a white oxford cloth shirt with a button-down collar is sure to coordinate easily, as is a white shirt with a subtle pattern. Cuff the chinos for a nod to Ivy League style, and then add whatever jacket the day’s weather calls for. If it’s rainy, add a trench coat or a nylon rain jacket. If it’s warm and sunny, a light field jacket should suffice. And if it’s still chilly out, add a shawl-collar cardigan. The chinos + white shirt combination is one of the most versatile ensembles out there — one you should wear and accessorize often this spring.

2. With a shirt and sweater

man lying back in a sweater

Man wearing a sweater with his chinos | iStock.com

If you’re really looking to channel Ivy League style, then look no further than the time-tested combination of a pair of chinos, a button-front shirt, and a crewneck sweater. While the chinos + white shirt combo is perfect for guys who want to keep their color schemes minimal, you can experiment with spring colors when you add a sweater to the mix. For instance, now’s the perfect time to try pairing those red chinos with a light blue shirt, and perhaps a navy blue sweater. Or, if you still want to keep things streamlined but just need an extra layer for warmth, try a white shirt, a tan pair of chinos, and a gray sweater.

3. With a chambray shirt

Chambray shirts

Chambray shirts | J.Crew

Especially with a great-fitting pair of navy blue chinos, a spring-ready chambray shirt, like this one from J. Crew, is a reliably stylish addition. You can make the outfit appropriate for a wide range of occasions with some smart styling. Button the shirt all the way up and add a pair of dress shoes and a tie for a dinner-ready look. Or, leave the collar open and add a more casual pair of shoes for a brunch date, a visit to an art gallery, or any other event where you’d rather look relaxed than, well, buttoned-up.

4. With a matched belt and dress shoes

man wearing nice dress shoes

Man wearing nice dress shoes | iStock.com

If you want to look pulled together but you don’t really need to wear a suit, pull out your best pair of chinos and a trim-fitting shirt. Whether you go solid or patterned is up to you; just make sure that it fits close to your body, without excess fabric to fly around in the spring breeze. Add a coordinating belt and dress shoes — we’re partial to a rich shade of cognac — roll your sleeves, and you have an ensemble that looks sharp and not stuffy.

5. With a blazer

man with a blazer

Man with a blazer under his jacket | Levent Kulu/Getty Images For IMG

A great pair of chinos never looks sharper than when worn with a trim blazer. If you’re planning on wearing a tan pair of chinos, go with a navy blue jacket. If you’re set on a pair of navy blue chinos, consider a tan, white, or even a light blue blazer. You get the picture: Try things on until you find the right color combination. Bonus points for adding something interesting as far as the texture goes. An unstructured linen blazer, for instance, can look great with a sharp pair of chinos.

6. With a marinière

Marinière shirt

Marinière | Armor-Lux

The marinière, a staple of French style since its inception as the official uniform of the French navy, is a piece you should definitely pull out of your closet come spring. And what better to pair it with than a great pair of chinos? If your favorite Breton-striped top is navy and ivory, styling it with a pair of navy blue chinos is a no-brainer. And if you prefer one with red and white stripes, you can easily opt for your favorite pair of tan chinos. Head to Armor-Lux for an awesome selection.

7. With a minimal pair of sneakers

A good pair of sneakers should be in your closet

Pair your chinos with sneakers | iStock.com

Chinos are also great for casual occasions. If you don’t have a meeting to run to or a dinner date to meet, then dress your chinos down for the weekend. Add anything from a tee to an oxford to a sweatshirt on top, and cuff the chinos to show off a minimal pair of sneakers. You can go with a streamlined pair of leather sneakers, or opt for a favorite pair of summer shoes like Jack Purcells or Supergas. (In both cases, white or ivory is a perennially classic choice.) Try showing off a little bit of ankle, too — no visible socks needed.