What Shoes To Wear With Chinos

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What Shoes To Wear With Chinos

Words by Mr Adam Welch

18 July 2016

Whether you're heading to the office or out for dinner, here's the footwear to pair with the smart-casual staple.

If you’ve paid any attention at all to MR PORTER, ever, you’ll probably be aware that we consider a pair of chinos to be among the trustiest and most useful pieces that a man can have in his wardrobe. In fact, they're so timeless and understated that, really, you can wear them with pretty much anything. However, this versatility does come with a price – namely that deciding which items to pair them with can be a little overwhelming, not least when it comes to choosing shoes. Feeling the need to introduce some much-needed clarity into this ever-murky smart-casual conundrum, we’ve put together the following simple guide. Scroll down to find out which chinos to wear with which shoes in three scenarios you’ll likely find yourself in.

Chinos are, of course, definitively a part of the world of “smart casual” – a common dress code in the contemporary creative workplace. But you can err on the side of “smart” by matching a dark-hued pair (such as the above navy example from Parisian brand Officine Generale, which come with a sturdy hook fastening to keep your waistband particularly level and flat), with some sturdy brogues from British shoemaker Tricker’s. Chuck on a blazer if you want to look particularly smart, and swap it for a light bomber jacket if you’re heading out for a much needed drink post-clocking-off.

The colour spectrum from white to light brown is often referred to as “neutral”, in that it’s supremely inoffensive and will work well with almost any other shade you care to throw at it, even bright colours and prints. These tones are also typical, classic colours for chinos. But that doesn’t mean they have to be bland. If you’re taking your fair chinos somewhere nice – perhaps a garden party, perhaps a lazy open-air dinner at the end of summer – warm them up with a pair of brown loafers. This will tilt your overall palette towards a characterful brown rather than a more mild-mannered beige. And for that little bit of extra oomph, perhaps opt for these Paul Smith loafers – not only are they polished to a resplendent shine, but they come with a pair of jaunty tassels on each foot, which is just fun, isn’t it.

Let’s dispel another chino myth: they’re not just for when you’re on your best behaviour. In fact, a black pair, like this example from Club Monaco, can have a sleek, sporty feel as part of a monochrome look. Pair them with a pair of Nike’s new Mayfly woven sneakers (read more about them here, by the way) to give them a distinct activewear vibe, and opt for another slyly athletic piece, such as a shell blazer or zipped flight jacket on top.