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In-Between Pants | Business Casual Pants

There are numerous styles of pants on the market for men today, from jeans to dress slacks, but this article is going to talk about what I like to refer to as “In-Between” pants.

These are pants that are also classified as “business casual” – not jeans, but not dressy slacks, either.  In-Between pants are casual and typically include khakis, chinos and corduroys; all pants that can be accessorized either up or down; making them a great choice for hanging out at home to wearing them on a dinner date.  They’re versatile, easy to maintain and should be included in everyman’s wardrobe.


Often mistaken for chinos because they look so similar, khakis are a very comfortable, loose fitting pant that has become a favorite and for good reason.  Identified by their traditional khaki color, these pants come in neutral earth tone colors, in addition to the more slimming black and navy colors.  Made of 100% cotton, which adds to their comfort, they come in various rises and styles, including flat front, pleated front, with and without cuffs.  They typically have four pockets, although many brands have only two or three, and are designed with belt loops.  Their versatility makes them suitable for both warm and cold weather, allowing them to be worn year round.

Khakis are often seen being worn at work in various arenas; from restaurant waiters and retail sales to corporate environments.  They can be stylishly paired with t-shirts to button downs, and loafers to sandals.  They are perfect for times when jeans are too casual, yet can be worn in place of jeans.  They have earned their status of being a top ranked stable for many men.


There’s a fine line between chinos and khakis, which makes telling them apart a bit challenging.  They look so alike; it’s only subtle differences that separate the two.  Chinos are usually made of a cotton-synthetic blend; giving them a great fit and feel, and often a wrinkle free feature.  Some are lighter in weight than khakis, and they, too, can be worn year round.  Like khakis, they come in various rises and styles, and can be worn at the office, the ballgame, or anytime and place a casual pant is appropriate.  Typically, they have a broader range of colors than khakis, and often have a narrower leg that tapers, but not always.

Still informal, chinos, in general, tend to be a little dressier than khakis, and look best with button down shirts, vests, cardigans and dressier t-shirts.  There are no hard set rules for chino styling, and with many versions of the original pants in existence today, there is a style for everyone.


Warm and comfortable, corduroys are a nice choice for a cool weather, casual pant.  Vertically raised “cords” or ribs that give the material its distinct pattern, have a velvety feel, and come in various widths, referred to as the “wale’.  Thinner or closer wales are more slimming for the material is not quite as bulky as the wider wale.  However, either is acceptable, and traditionally made from 100% cotton, is very durable and versatile.  Often styled like five pocket jeans, cords come in relaxed and pleated styles, as well, and are found with cuffs.  They can be worn in place of jeans, or to the office as business casual.  I find the five pocket style to be more casual, with the relaxed, pleated or cuffed versions more suitable for the office, dinner parties, and social occasions where the attire should be a notch above jeans.  They can be accessorized to meet the occasion; with any style looking great with boots or casual oxfords and everything in between. Not quite as popular as they once were, corduroys are still a great addition to any cold weather wardrobe.      

Pants Tips

  • Flat front pants are more slimming than pleated pants. The flat front gives a smooth, unbroken line, which is slimming; where pleats tend to make our waist appear larger and our legs shorter.
  • If your body type requires a roomy style, choose shallow pleats, which are less noticeable.
  • Avoid cuffed pants if you’re on the short side, since cuffs interrupt the line, and rob inches from height and leg length.
  • Always have your pants hemmed to the proper length.  If it requires a tailor’s touch, by all means do it.  The benefit far outweighs the cost.


I believe everyone should have at least one pair of In-Between pants in their wardrobe arsenal.  They are casual and versatile, and a great alternative to jeans; without having to give up any of the comfort.

by Aaron Marino

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