The warmer weather begs for lighter, more versatile pieces in your wardrobe. Time to put away those heavy woolens and cords and break out your more weather-appropriate choices.

Consider the summery months your opportunity to experiment with lighter tones and fabrics.

Since jeans are a staple in practically everyone’s wardrobe, the natural tendency is to look for lighter washes. Gray and/or light blue, overly-whiskered denim washes lack that formality most people need, and can come off as too casual (or inappropriate for the situation), especially at the office.

Some attempt to wear white jeans, yet I feel not everyone can pull them off (myself included, unfortunately, though maybe I just don’t give myself enough credit.)

For the uncertain gent, I recommend the classic chino in a very light wash.

A more playful and sartorially experimental alternative to white, the light-colored chino is pale enough to complement the other pieces in your wardrobe that you’d normally pair with white jeans.

These are on the market at a variety of price points; everyone from Gap and Club Monaco to Gant has their versions in hues ranging from the standard stone khaki and light gray, to light blue, to a pale yellow, so keep your eyes peeled the next time you’re out and about.

As always, keep in mind the fit, which can mean the difference between GQ-spread-worthy and George Costanza in an old Seinfeld rerun.

Make sure they are trim and fitted (but not overly-snug) and don’t be afraid of a cropped hem with no break. It is summer, after all.

How do you feel about light-colored chinos? Can you incorporate them into your summer wardrobe? Need suggestions on what to wear with them?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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PUBLISHED May 24, 2010

Barron is a Lean Wardrobe Advocate and Founding Editor of Effortless Gent. He's from San Francisco but currently living in New York. Connect with him on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Tumblr.

  • me

    What type of shoes go best with lighth colored chinos?

  • Hey there!

    I guess it depends on what else you'll be wearing with them. In general, though (and assuming you go with a pair of pants similar to the pictures above), a basic tan ( or brown suede Sperry chukka boot ( would go well.

    You could also try a suede desert boot similar to Clarks or the MacAlister boot from J.Crew, or a variety of canvas shoes available ( Make sure that if you choose white canvas, they are pristine… soiled white canvas shoes with bright chinos = not so good.

    Hope that helps a little! Thanks for your comment.

  • I'm digging the Gant light blue chino- paired with a pastel polo (perhaps a pale yellow)- melts my heart! 🙂 xo, mel

  • Hi Mel,

    I love the light blue chinos as well. If I remember correctly, Club Monaco had a nice (more affordable) pair. Perfect for a warm summer day, wouldn't you say?