Business Casual: Chinos are Back

Apr 8, 2024

In the 1990s and early 2000s, I wore a lot of Gap chinos. All colors. Usually with a t-shirt or a button down. Then, the style faded away, and I developed an affinity for wearing dresses and moved on. But like so many things from yesteryear, chinos are back for summer.

When I spotted this street style photo on Pinterest, I thought about how easy the look was.  How it seemed pulled together, but unfussy.  It could be worn in a home office, in a business casual setting, or on a springtime casual Friday.  Here’s how to recreate it.

Pants // If you’re looking for an alternative to athleisure or jeans, these soft, simple chinos are it.   This pair from J.Crew Factory come in a lovely pale spinach color (sizes run 0-24).  LOFT has a softer rosemary color in a straight leg style.  For a modern style, try this olive pair from Anthro with a larger pocket and more relaxed look.

Love the color but not on board with chinos?  These Gap sage jeans  are a nice option.  I also noticed that the Athleta Endless pants come in a sage green color.

Shirt // To soften the look of a button down shirt, I like a banded collar style.  It’s a little more relaxed.  This style from Land’s End fits more like a popover and is a very affordable price.  Tuckernuck has a similar shirt from Rochelle Behrens that is a more traditional button-down style.  Looking for an easy wearing, machine washable style?  Aday’s shirt is an influencer favorite.

Sweater // I swapped the navy coat for a long navy sweater blazer.  This sweater from Nordstrom Rack comes in several colors and is super affordable.  It’s the perfect work from home sweater.

Shoes // The ankle strap sandal is a style that was at the height of its popularity in the mid-2010s.  This airy, woven style from Boden is more modern than the photo style.  For my money, I think these Madewell ballet flats with a woven look are the ones I would choose.

Bag // I wrote about this Michael Kors crossbody last week.  I ordered it in orange, and while I was a little disappointed in the color, I loved the bag.  It is so useful.  Slides into another bag easily.  Holds all the essentials.  The exterior phone case is a plus for a parent who wants to be able to snap photos without digging in their purse.  Plus, it’s $79.  I’ve bought fast fashion bags that cost more and weren’t anywhere near as well-made or useful.  I’ve told every woman I know to buy one, then have the Michael Kors logo removed and replaced with a simple plaque.

Accessories // These Lagos earrings are an awesome option for an every day stud.  I love the mix of textures.  At $275, they’re what I would call a birthday gift price, but they’re fab.  For something less pricey, try these silver love-knot earrings are worth a look.

These Quay sunglasses are chic.  I adore the mix of the aviator style with the tortoise acetate.  

Styling // The low ponytail is a good look.  It’s very relaxed and chic.  I would also just wear my hair down, in the way I style it every day.  This whole look is meant to be simple and light, so nothing over done.

For the makeup, I LOVE these Summer Friday lip colors.  This Lip Butter Balm in Brown Sugar is my very favorite.  Not sticky, hydrating, perfect for every day.

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Casual Fridays, Posts, Style, Work

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  1. Rachel C says:

    Late 90s/early 2000s khakis is a look I am 100% on board for embracing at 40 with the same passion I did at 15. Please, can we have our GAP khakis back, including the perfect ad campaigns?

  2. K says:

    Love this! Thank you!! Bummed the JCrew & Anthro pants are sold out in my size but plan to keep searching and checking back! Also love that there’s no belt – I feel that chops up the look for us petite (under 5’2) girls! 🙂

  3. Allison says:

    I love chinos but in my opinion fit is so important for these pants, maybe more than any other. It has to look relaxed, casual academic/prep vibe. I think we all remember the low rise tight abercrombie boot cut chinos…. not the vibe. Much like the inspiration photo, they need to be relaxed, the fabric is not flattering when it’s too fitted. Even harder because they are generally 100% cotton, so stretch and shrink. Random two cents, haha.

  4. Amanda says:

    Can you please say more about how you would remove the Michael Kors logo and replace it with the Etsy plaque, Abra? I love this idea– where would you take this to be done? A cobbler? Would you do it yourself?

  5. sbe says:

    omg, you have solved the problem that I have with so many bags, the logo! I have never heard of this idea before, and I didn’t know of the existence of replacement plaque. Thank you!

  6. Sarah says:

    Are you going to have anything written on the new metal piece for the purse or just have it blank?

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