Torn between wearing your favorite jeans or a pair of chinos? There’s a time and a place for each one, so make sure you have them both in your closet. Women’s chinos can add a touch of formality to your look, while jeans are casual, comfortable and totally timeless – they go with everything, after all. Both styles also look chic when worn with a leather belt and a tucked-in top, which will define your waist.
Chinos might be your best choice for work, as they look a little dressier, especially when worn with a freshly-ironed blouse and blazer. Add some preppie-inspired loafers and you have a perfect outfit for a job interview – the slim fit will look smart and stylish, never shapeless or sloppy. Jeans, on the other hand, are good when you want to look hip. Wear a faded, ripped pair to a rock show or put on black skinny jeans and your new sexy heels for cocktails with friends.
Pants with a straight leg, no matter what they’re made of, can make you look taller. They can also downplay the appearance of fuller hips, helping your figure appear more even, so they’re amazing on pear-shaped women. If you need to look a little more buttoned-up (maybe for church, a company picnic or Mother’s Day brunch with the in-laws), stick with the chinos and add a cute twinset. Grab your jeans when it’s time for hanging with pals or running around with the kids; compared to skinnies, the straight cut gives you a little extra wiggle room.
When the weather is hot, humid and sunny, get some wide-leg chinos. The lightweight fabric helps keep you cool and the roomy cut won’t trap heat and moisture, letting your body breathe. Wide-leg women’s jeans can be comfortable in milder, dryer weather, when it’s too warm for tight clothes that don’t let the air circulate. Make sure whatever you choose is hemmed, or just falls just a little bit above the floor. Otherwise, wide-leg pants can just look baggy.
Colorful jeans and chinos are a fun way to perk up an outfit. And they don’t have to be garish – jeans in a deep army green or rich burgundy look elegant worn with a black cashmere turtleneck, for instance. Bright chinos are perfect for warm spring days when you want to brighten things up after a long winter. But always remember: if you have light-colored chinos and dark wash jeans, don’t wash them together. Not only can your chinos end up stained, they can leach away the dye that keeps your jeans black or deep blue, so always separate light and dark clothes.