How To Style Chinos With A Blazer: 18 Outfits That Get It Right
A versatile pairing that will see you through every social occasion, we show you how to modernise this timeless separates combination.
Given the meteoric rise of streetwear and more relaxed shapes in the last decade, you’d be forgiven for thinking the chinos and blazer combination that had served menswear so well for eons had gone the way of the dodo. But as we all know, the fast end of fashion is cyclical, whereas timeless style bubbles away consistently, oblivious to fads and trends.
Chinos and blazers might not have been the most ‘relevant’ look in recent times, but that’s not to say the combo wasn’t still hugely popular. Perhaps the trouble was that it didn’t move with the times, or at least the changing silhouettes brought about by a more casual approach to modern menswear.
However, tailoring is in the spotlight once again, and while the suit might still be waiting for its time in the sun, relaxed separates are very much in focus. Below we’ll show you exactly why the chinos and blazer combo can be a perfectly contemporary look, as well as one of the most versatile pairings in your wardrobe.
When to wear a blazer with chinos
We know what you’re thinking: blazer and chinos exist at the smarter end of your wardrobe, and given the context of menswear over the last five or so years, then yes, it’s a smarter ‘casual’ look on the whole. Yet the pairing has a tonne of wiggle room to make it more contemporary, or modern preppy, or straight-up smart.
That’s the great thing about this combination – with a few tweaks of the silhouette, and a bit of handy styling, you can make the blazer and chinos something entirely different, edgy even. If you’re a fan of the modern preppy aesthetic, a la Aimé Leon Dore, then the blazer and chinos will form an essential part of your fits, alongside a liberal sprinkling of sportswear-inspired streetwear.
But if your approach to dressing is more traditional, then taper the pants a touch, throw in a loafer, opt for an open-collar shirt, and you’ve got a look that’s altogether more sartorial. The point is, you can wear a blazer and chinos to just about any and every type of social occasion.
The type of blazers that work best
The key to a great modern blazer is versatility. You want it to be the fulcrum around which you can build not just one great look, but many, and so to do that it needs to be able to work seamlessly with your wardrobe.
That prerequisite takes out a lot of double-breasted options just because it’s more formal than its single-breasted brother, and therefore harder to style in myriad ways. The single-breasted blazer is much more adaptable. Lapel style doesn’t matter a great deal – notch or peak is fine, with the latter being slightly more sartorial than the former. The cut of the blazer is far more important.
Remember, chinos are casual trousers, even though many are finely tailored, so you want a blazer that looks and feels comfortable. Therefore you’d do well to opt for unstructured styles or ones with minimal canvassing so they have a nice natural drape. Wool fabrics for fall and winter; cotton and linen for later spring and summer.
The fit should flatter your torso, not trace it, so avoid blazers that are too tailored at the waist. Alternatively, a roomier, boxy fit is a good contemporary look that pairs well with wide-leg chinos, but would be too voluminous a silhouette with smart tailored chinos.
As for the palette, darker blazers tend to be smarter and allow you to create a balanced contrast with lighter-tone trousers, as well as a smart aesthetic with dark-tone styles. Lighter shades are great for the summer, however, especially in linen or linen-blend fabrics.
The types of chinos that work best
The type of fabric and the cut of the chinos will largely determine how you’re going to wear them. Most chinos come crafted from a cotton twill fabric which is hardwearing, comfortable and pretty versatile. In fact, the word ‘chino’ is a type of mid-weight cotton twill. The history of chinos dates back to the mid-19th century when the cloth used to make these types of trousers came from China, hence the name.
Today, cotton twill is still the predominant fabric, but luxury pants brands will sometimes use a softer poplin fabric for a more tailored finish. The cut is quite varied, from traditional loose straight-leg styles to much more modern tapered variants, as well as wide-leg contemporary styles. The tapered version is the most versatile since you can dress it up or down quite easily.
You will find flat-front chinos, single-pleat styles, as well double-pleat options too, all of which are personal style preferences. Pleated options are naturally roomier around the hips, while the pleats can make for a nice design detail, especially in a modern preppy outfit.
As for the color, traditional chinos come in classic khaki tones, but these days you can find styles in just about every shade known to man. Lighter styles are more popular, perhaps because they are easier to style with dark tops and jackets.
18 Chinos and blazer outfits for men
Moss green blazer with off-white chinos
First up, we’ve gone for a look with off-white chinos to demonstrate from the outset what a great device they are for creating contrast in your looks. Sure, you might have to tread carefully in winter, but for all other seasons, white or off-white chinos are a useful styling tool.
Here they’ve been paired with a softly tailored moss green blazer with a bit of texture and a simple tonal green tee for an understated yet elegant look, while the suede kicks add a pop of colour for a little extra energy.
Navy micro-check blazer with navy chinos
Monochrome looks, especially navy ones, tend to be that much smarter thanks to the uniformity of color, but this ensemble is quite relaxed thanks to the softly tailored micro-check blazer, wool turtleneck and turned-up chinos.
Slightly tapered, the chinos are nonetheless casual, and the dark brown Derby shoes reinforce the polished off-duty vibes.
Tweed blazer with khaki straight-leg chinos
What a difference a silhouette makes. Besides the fact that this look is a great amalgamation of neutral colors, what really makes it work is the silhouette, created by the relaxed boxy blazer combined with the baggy straight-leg chinos.
The turn-ups on the chinos reinforce the casual vibe, as does the subtle off-white crew-neck jumper and color-coordinated kicks, while the bold check of the blazer elevates the look.
Beige wool blazer with khaki tapered chinos
Tonal looks can make for a really smart attitude, as evidenced by this neutral-tone ensemble. The beige blazer is constructed from flannel wool, which gives the look a nice textural quality, while the khaki pants are neatly tapered for a svelte tailored look.
The white turtleneck jumper and the brown suede loafers are both great sartorial touches that elevate the cotton chinos.
Navy blazer with off-white chinos
The navy and white combination is as old as the hills (or the waves, given its maritime history) but this look uses off-white chinos to dampen down the contrast to great effect.
The navy blazer is unstructured, giving it a lightweight and relaxed feel, and the turned-up chinos have a gradual taper that works perfectly with the tan suede loafers.
The white tee cements the outfit’s casual credentials, while the addition of the pocket square adds a little swathe of character.
Navy houndstooth blazer with white chinos
The navy and white combo is in full effect once again, only this time upping the ante with a houndstooth blazer. The jacket has broad lapels, so quite Italian, and is nicely complemented by the navy knitted polo shirt.
But it’s the white chinos that help to make the navy tones pop, offering a striking contrast. The brown leather loafers are a smart touch that elevates the overall look, but tan suede styles would do an equally good job here.
Navy blazer with stone chinos
If you’re looking for a ‘dress-down Friday’ ensemble for the office then this one ticks all the boxes. From the waist up, it’s all very modern professional, with the unstructured blazer and the open-neck business shirt, but it’s from the waist down that things get more casual.
The chinos are slim and tapered for a svelte silhouette and the brown leather loafers are a clean way to bookend the look. Smart, yet not overly polished.
Beige blazer with white chinos
The epitome of the current quiet luxury trend, this look doubles down on neutral tonal hues for a sophisticated fit perfect for the summer months. The creamy tones set against the white chinos exude a modern elegance, despite being inherently casual thanks to the coordinated cap and leather sneakers.
The cherries on this particular cake are the unstructured linen blazer and the peep of that off-white knitted polo shirt which is dripping sports-luxe appeal.
Grey check blazer with black chinos
Proof that not all chinos need to be khaki or white, this black pair is super versatile and more than able to step up and be a dance partner for a smart Prince of Wales check blazer.
The dark tonal ensemble would be great for a casual office, but you could just as easily swap out the long-sleeve polo for a crisp white shirt to dress this look up.
Olive green blazer with white chinos
Opting for a trio of colors, this look is a great example of how keeping things simple can still make a style statement. The olive green blazer does the majority of the heavy lifting, but it would be all for naught if it wasn’t for the tailored white chinos providing a crisp, clean canvas to work from.
The addition of the navy blue shirt works well with the olive tone, while the brown suede loafers are a perfect sartorial match. This is a great look for both off-duty and business-casual work environments.
Navy blazer with white chinos
We’ve spoken already about the clean contrast effect afforded by a navy blazer and white chinos, and this look is further evidence of that.
It’s also a testament to the styling notion of keeping things simple – tonal blue tops bouncing off a white canvas, bookended with some smart brown leather loafers.
If this is your go-to template, you’re doing everything right.
Light grey blazer with navy blue chinos
Most of the time, we’ll advise you to opt for a darker color on your top half than your bottom half, at least when it comes to tailored separates. There’s just something about the balance that is easier to strike in that configuration.
That said, if you want to switch it up, this look is a good representation of how to do so well – the lighter tone of navy is a good choice, balancing the light grey shade better, while the white T-shirt provides a neutral canvas.
Black check blazer with black chinos
This is a great example of how to wear a monochrome check blazer. The key is to coordinate your chinos with one of the jacket’s threads – in this case black.
The look could be smartened up with a crisp white shirt, but we like the fact that it has been dressed down with a tan crew neck jumper, offering a slice of understated color that breaks up the monochrome.
Navy wool blazer with off-white chinos
The thing that hits you instantly with this outfit is the texture of the blazer. We often talk about the importance of materials, and this jacket reinforces the message with a brushed wool that is possibly blended with a little alpaca.
It sets the stage for more texture in the ribbed neck and hem of the green turtleneck jumper, plus the tan suede shoes, all of which is crisply contrasted by the off-white chinos. The perfect smart off-duty separates.
Off-white blazer with mid-grey chinos
The attitude of this look is immediately set by the soft, unstructured nature of the off-white blazer, which boasts a lovely natural drape and soft contours.
That’s what makes the choice of a more relaxed pair of grey chinos a good one. That said, a pair of khaki chinos would have worked just as well if you want to opt for a tonal approach.
Light grey blazer with white chinos
One of the benefits of pairing two light tones together is that you can make an audible style statement with a splash of bold color.
That’s exactly what this outfit does, with the neutral-tone blazer and chinos setting the stage for a punchy teal green polo shirt.
The deck shoes are a nice preppy touch to finish the look off.
Multicolor check blazer with navy chinos
If you’re scared off by colorful checks or houndstooth blazers, you needn’t be. The simple way to adopt them into your wardrobe is to team them with chinos in a neutral hue that features in the jacket – in this case a navy blue. It’s a foolproof technique to dampen down the volume of the blazer.
Pale blue blazer with navy chinos
Blue is such a great color to play with from a tonal angle. For one, navy always looks smart and professional and complements almost every skin tone.
What we love about this look is that the chinos have been cut in quite a smart cropped style, balancing out the more casual collarless shirt and unstructured pale blue blazer. Elegant and easy to put together, what’s not to like?