Chinos: A Summer Essential

Where to find the latest versions of the casual Friday classic

Designers are loosening up the fit of your pants. Especially chinos, the casual Friday classic. Once heavy and shapeless, and more recently skinny and clingy, the newest versions introduce a slouchier, more laid-back fit. They’re typically hemmed higher, cut wider, and have a dropped crotch. And for those who prefer their khakis less vanilla still, patches, holes, and colored trim adorn some styles. The ever-so-slightly fuller proportions are anything but sloppy. Just a bit roomier and more relaxed. Think more movement and more freedom. All welcome changes when life calls for pants on a zillion degree summer day.

High waters go high fashion with tuxedo stripes and a tapered, ankle-grazing silhouette. Cuffs and creases down the front add a smart finish. Pair them with a white linen button-up and backless loafers for an easy classic look.

On the model (shown above): Gucci brushed cotton chino pants, $690; Peter Millar Seaside Collection sport shirt, $145; Polo Ralph Lauren mahogany leather belt with gold buckle, $75; and Gucci leather horsebit slippers in brown leather, $595. All from Halls Kansas City in Crown Center.

1. Halsey 44 5-pocket chino in watermelon, $155, Hudson & Jane in the Crestwood Shops


Don’t be afraid to go bold. Lively hues instantly energize your summer look. This 5-pocket style (also available in French blue) is the perfect warm-weather alternative to denim—and a lot more fun.

2. Peter Millar Durham performance pant in cottage blue, $115, Pinstripes on the Country Club Plaza


While these stay true to a more traditional chino cut, they swap classic cotton twill for a breathable polyester that wicks moisture and dries fast so you stay cool and comfortable traveling between meetings (or from the front nine to the back). They come in old-school khaki too.

3. Scotch & Soda Butch cargo pant, $135, Ulah in Woodside Village


Paper-thin and nearly weightless, these chino-cargo-jogger hybrids have a looser, tapered fit. They’re as comfortable as pajamas, but refined enough to leave the house.

4. Zanerobe Cropshot chinos in mlack, $99, Ulah in Woodside Village


Far from preppy or boring, these drapey, easygoing pants have a relaxed off-duty vibe. Roomier bottoms call for something slightly snugger on top—a simple tee keeps the spotlight on the pants. Also on the model: 18 Waits slub jersey tee in gray, $70; Rag & Bone Kent lace-up sneakers in cemento suede, $325; and Studebaker heavy classic cuff, $198.