How to Wear Orange Chinos?

I’ve been on the lookout for a pair of burnt orange trousers now for over 2 years, pretty much since I tweeted the pic below of a fantastic pair in the shop window of DAKS on Jermyn Street in March 2013. Some months earlier in late 2012  I published a blog post on Autumnal Orange.  So orange has been on my mind for a while now.

Jermyn Street Orange Trousers

But orange is not an easy colour to wear and an even more difficult colour to find in the right shade. Hence the absence in my collection of a pair of burnt orange trousers.

Last week I found myself near a T K Maxx and, as I often do when that happens, I had a quick look around. I spotted a pair of orange chinos by Dockers, well known American offshoot of Levi Strauss.

They fit well, though the waist may need some adjustment, and they were on sale, down to £18.  Plus I don’t have any Dockers in my collection so I am interested to see how they compare to other chinos in my collection. So I bought them on impulse and am now trying to figure out whether they stay or are returned.


However, these aren’t burnt orange chinos; they’re just orange, bright orange.  Which raises the vexing question: ‘How to wear orange chinos?’

There is one simple answer, of course.  Don’t.  Part of me is still very much inclined to that answer.  I’ve waited 2 years to find a decent pair of burnt orange trousers.  I still haven’t found them.  Keep looking.  It’s not like I don’t have lots to wear in the mean time.

Another part of me is intrigued by the challenge.  Burnt orange is one thing; orange is another.  So how do you wear orange chinos?

Orange Chinos

Seems to me we can go in 1 of 2 directions, especially since they are chinos.  Option 1 is to dress them down and revel in the orange; make a summer item out of them. If you’re in for a penny then you’re in for a pound.  Combine with some vibrant colours and wear on a bright and sunny day.  I reckon you can get away with nearly anything if the sun is shining bright and you’ve got enough self-confidence.

Option 2 is to dress them up a bit like the example above.  In which case you are looking to tone them down, right down. So neutral colours like grey or taupe work well to ‘absorb’ some of the brightness of the orange.  Another possibility would be to go for an olive blazer with a hint of orange in them which the trouser will pick up.  The great thing about a blazer is that it covers the upper part of the trousers reducing the amount of orange on display.

Gold Herringbone Hacking Jacket, Charles Tyrwhitt
Gold Herringbone Hacking Jacket, Charles Tyrwhitt

So wearing orange chinos is do-able.  Thing is, just because you can do something is not a reason that you should….

Having looked at the how to wear chinos there is the equally troubling question of where and when.  Are there many scenarios in which you might think to yourself I know what this situation needs, some orange trousers.  Probably not….

So now the question is not ‘How to wear orange chinos?’ but rather, ‘Should I wear orange chinos?’

A Sauvage Burnt orange-cords
A Sauvage burnt orange-cords


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