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Fish Hippie Chino Shorts

Guide to Chino Shorts: It's Time To Ditch Your Cargo Shorts

Do you really need all those pockets? It’s time to leave the early 2000s behind and swap your raggedy old cargo shorts for versatile chino shorts that provide maximum comfort when you’re grabbing garage beers, and maximum style for summer date nights. Sure, chino shorts and cargo shorts are made from similar cotton, or cotton-blend fabrics, but that’s where the similarities end. Chinos deliver more style, comfort and a better fit than those baggy cargo shorts you wore in high school. It’s time to make the change!

What Are Chino Shorts?

Chino shorts are simply the shorts version of chino pants, and they feature a lightweight, tightly woven, cotton-based fabric with a finer finish than the canvas or twill used in most cargo shorts. The fabric used in chino shorts allows them to lie flatter and wrinkle less for a more polished look that’s welcome at any country club (as long as they allow shorts to begin with). Chino shorts should taper toward the knee, with a more fitted look than khaki shorts, making chinos the preferred, modern style.

Chino Shorts vs. Bermuda Shorts

Bermuda shorts are a dressier version of chino shorts. While they’re often made from similar fabrics, and both are more tailored than other shorts, Bermuda shorts are the shorter version of dress trousers, whereas the pants version of chino shorts is a more casual option. Today, Bermuda shorts are harder to find, they’ve fallen out of style. Chino shorts, however, are in style and are the most popular style of casual shorts.

What To Wear With Chino Shorts

While versatile chino shorts pair well with everything from T-shirts to button-downs, it’s hard to find a better complement to chino shorts than a business casual polo shirt. Chino shorts and polo shirts go together like pork and smoke — if there was an official uniform for laid-back, stylish summer attire, it would be these two garments. When you transition from the 18th hole to the dock, all you need to do is change your shoes and you’re ready to push off. It’s easy to go on about all the different shirts you could pair with chino shorts, but why complicate something so simple? If you want a look that can go anywhere in a warm climate, build out your wardrobe with chino shorts and polo shirts in complementary colors.

Chino Shorts style guide lookbook

Can Chino Shorts Be Smart Casual?

No other bottom garment that defines smart casual better than chino shorts. Their clean look makes them perfect for a laid-back office or outdoor party, and their comfort makes them the most casual of all garments. Chino shorts should be the staple of any warm-weather, smart-casual wardrobe.

Are Chino Shorts Business Casual?

It’s likely a 50/50 split. In many businesses, chino shorts would be too casual to be considered business casual, while at many other offices, they’d be perfectly appropriate — it all depends on the office culture. If the office’s standard attire is chino pants and a polo, chino shorts would be an acceptable option on more casual days. If your office is more of a slacks-button-down-tie operation most of the time, then chino shorts would not be appropriate on business casual days (but business casual chino pants would be OK).

How Should Chino Shorts Fit?

Since chino shorts are designed to be business casual and dressier than athleisure wear, or cargo shorts, they should not be baggy, but should still be loose enough to allow for an active lifestyle. The top hem should fall on the hip and the bottom hem should fall just above the knee in standard styles. If you can move freely in your chino shorts and they don’t balloon out at the hips and knees, then they’re likely a good fit.

Colorful Chino Shorts

Now that you understand just how versatile chino shorts are for a casual wardrobe, there’s one more aspect of these multifaceted garments that’s important to note: colors! One of the best features of chino shorts is that besides the familiar options in earthy tones, they also come in reds, blues, yellows and more. So whether you want to keep your style simple with a khaki or elevate it with a coastal-inspired red, chino shorts allow you to drift off course with any look.