If you choose the right ones, cream chinos can look good with almost every outfit on the casual end of the spectrum.

For quite some time I’d almost stopped wearing chinos. I used to prefer flannels in the winter and lightweight wool in the summer. The chinos I owned just didn’t feel that good to wear: either the cut was not comfortable (low waist and narrow leg), or the thin cotton fabric looked bad after just an hour of wear, or both.

And that was true until I ordered this pair – dimensions and styling made according to my specifications (high waist, roomy through the thigh and knee, and only getting narrow at the bottom), from a heavier, a bit stiffer 290g cotton, means they are extremely comfortable and keep their shape.

Of course, it still is cotton: they don’t remain pristine throughout the day. But they crease less, and don’t get baggy around the knees quite as fast as my other pairs of chinos.

They were made for me by Benevento, and the fabric comes from their Slap-up line. The cut and styling are custom options – and from what they’ve told me, they’re planning on introducing changes to the website which will make it simpler to order trousers with such details; a configurator of sorts.

Now, I find this pair fairly easy to wear all year round. True, the fabric is on the heavier side, but there’s enough room for the air to circulate, and the light colour makes it so they wear fine during the warmer days. And the fabric is thick enough for the colder seasons as well. So here I present you some outfit inspirations not limited strictly to summer options.

With tailoring

Outfit one: jacket – Zaremba MTM // shirt – Luxire // Pocket square and tie – Poszetka.com // shoes – Yanko
Outfit two: jacket – Massimo Dutti // popover shirt – Zaremba RTW // pocket square – Poszetka.com // shoes – Partenope

If you are to wear chinos with a jacket and tie, I would advise against going too formal. I’ve seen it countless times – and I’m guilty of it, too – a guy in a pristine shirt, well-fitting wool jacket and a silk tie, with creased and worn chinos with all that. It doesn’t look good.

So avoid, for example, classic navy blazers made of smooth, slightly shiny wool; go with seasonal fabrics. The coarser the better. All your cottons, linens, hopsacks; also flannels and tweeds.

Same goes with shirts and accessories. White poplin shirt and smooth silk tie may be too much of a contrast, but rough oxford cotton and shantung, grossa grenadine, ancient madder and so on will do so much better. And that is if you want to wear a tie at all – chinos and a jacket look good sans tie as well, giving the jacket more casual vibe.

With casual outerwear

Outfit one: leather jacket and shirt – Massimo Dutti // cardigan – H&M // chukkas – Gant
Outfit two: coat – !Solid // t-shirt – H&M // trainers – Lacoste

Despite quite dressy details on those chinos, I still think they work nice with casual stuff. Especially if the casual stuff is uncomplicated: like a washed denim shirt and a leather jacket, or simple cotton overcoat and classic white trainers. No loud prints, no fashion-y, streetwear-y oversized clothes. A simple pair of chinos shouldn’t stand out that much even if it has a crease and pleats.

Like I’ve said before: what determines the formality of the garment is the fabric, first and foremost. The rest is there just to give us something to argue about.

No jacket

Outfit one: popover – Zaremba RTW // shoes – Chrownhill
Outfit two: shirt – Massimo Dutti // boat shoes – Bexley // sunglasses – RayBan Clubmaster

For the casual summer outfit, just a shirt with rolled up sleeves will do. Add some loafers, or other appropriately casual footwear. Boat shoes are a possibility – though some people hate them with burning passion. Substitute them with driving mocs or canvas trainers and it’ll be fine.

In summary

Cream chinos – but also chinos in other basic, neutral colours, like navy, brown, olive – can be a go-to pair for any casual outfit. And despite the fact they can feature some more sartorial details, like pleats, crease or side adjusters, they look best when worn with stuff that’s not too formal.

But that’s where their strength lies – more and more often this is the default dresscode, and they can help bridge the gap between casual and tailored. Just get yourself the right pair – ones that you’ll like enough to want to wear them.