Jeans vs Khakis

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

After several years of sticking to jeans, I’ve finally found the courage to test out khakis. Since then, I’ve discovered their similarities and differences, letting me determine the best way to wear them.

Without understanding their functions, you may not be able to style them according to your size or body type, leading to an unflattering fit. For women who feel anxious about switching between these styles, this article will guide you in learning the distinctions, downsides, and benefits of jeans vs khakis.

Jeans vs Khakis General Overview

Each style of pants has a purpose and advantage. I’m going to start with an overview of khakis and jeans before I dive into a more in-depth comparison.

A black woman and white woman wearing jeans while holding hands

Overview of Jeans

Jeans are generally casual wear pants, often made from denim fabric. In May 1873, Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis obtained a patent for blue jeans, which are work pants reinforced with metal rivets. 

While the style continuously evolves, a classic pair of jeans features double-stitching, pockets, a zipper at the front, five belt loops, and a yoke at the back. The yoke is a particularly valuable shaping component for jeans that can lift the butt.

Overview of Khakis

Khakis are dress pants or trousers originally designed as military uniforms because of their rugged and durable fit. The style was first introduced as a form of camouflage for official military uniforms.

Over the years, the style has adapted to the need for semi-casual and semi-formal pants. Despite that, the light brown textile remains to be its trademark color.

Comparing Khakis and Jeans

While jeans and khakis share some similarities, they also have distinct features that make them equally useful. Comparing these will help you decide which one would suit your taste, lifestyle, or desired look.


There are few similarities between jeans and khakis. For instance, they generally both have a durable and versatile construction that allows you to style them casually or semi-formal.

Aside from that, they have the same closure mechanism, consisting of a zipper fly and waistband for easy pull-on wear. They feature belt loops for a secure fit at the waist.

Khakis and typical jeans feature standard front and back pockets. Depending on the style, some front pockets are deep and spacious for storing small personal items.


The contrasting features between jeans and khakis can affect how they look and feel on your body. This is where things will help you make better choices.


The fabric is among the most notable differences between jeans and khakis, giving them varying comfort levels on a woman’s body.

  • Jeans: Jeans mainly consist of tightly woven denim fabric, giving its firm structure and durability. While this results in a thick and heavy form, the fabric provides toughness to withstand wear and tear, much like cargo pants. Apart from durability, there are still lots to talk about cargo pants vs jeans.
  • Khakis: Although khakis also use cotton, they include linen that provides a breathable and lightweight fit. This fabric combination results in a softer feel and a higher chance of getting creases. 


The difference in the seams and tailoring between the two also results in varying levels of comfort and ease of movement.

A woman sitting on a floor holding a small book wearing a brown knitted sweater and jeans
  • Jeans: Most types of jeans typically have reinforced stitching, resulting in a construction that can withstand constant use. You can also wear jeans to hide belly fat. However, this feature can also make some styles restrictive on some bodies.
  • Khahis: Compared to the apparent seams of jeans, the stitching of khakis is much simpler and hidden, creating a more tapered fit and a utilitarian silhouette than jeans. Because of the more relaxed structure, khakis allow greater freedom in moving.

Style Options

Although both types of pants are pretty versatile, jeans still offer better styling options.

  • Jeans: Jeans come in different rise options, including mid-rise, low-rise, and high-rise. Moreover, they have a wider range of style options, including skinny, slim fit, baggy, straight-leg, and bootcut. This is why most jeans are more casual in nature.
  • Khakis: Khakis can also have these rises, although they normally come in mid-waist. They often feature straight-leg or slightly tapered hems, limiting your variations in silhouettes. However, this style bridges the gap between the casualness of jeans and the formality of slacks.

Color and Print Choices

Another difference between khakis and standard jeans is the color and print options.

  • Jeans: A pair of jeans can come in a variety of colors, washes, and prints. Aside from the classic denim blues, other options include black, white, gray, and bright colors. Jeans can also have distressed, faded, or acid-washed styles.
  • Khakis: It got its name from the Hindi word khaki, which means dust-colored, which was initially used for camouflaging. True to its origin, khakis mostly come in traditional neutral shades of beige, brown, tan, or olive green. However, some brands now offer khakis in other darker colors like navy.

Major Distinguishing Factor

The distinguishing factors between khakis and regular jeans are their fabric, fit, breathability, and appearance. Jeans mainly consist of tightly woven denim twill, whereas khakis use soft cotton or linen. The material gives jeans its rugged look and more structured fit, whereas khakis have a more lightweight and breathable structure.

However, if you ask whether jeans are warmer than sweatpants, the answer is that sweatpants are warmer than jeans because of their material. Therefore, jeans are breathable too but khakis are even more comfy.

Moreover, jeans can have a variety of fits and hemline styles like original hem or regular hem. You can wear a belt with jeans or even fold it. On the other hand, khakis tend to have straight-leg or slightly tapered cuts. This makes jeans much more convenient to style than khakis in most situations.

When to Use Jeans

Use jeans if you want to prioritize a classic style that has a more rugged and structured fit. Consider using jeans if you have the following body types and styling needs.

  • Body type: Regular jeans come in various fits and cuts, allowing them to cater to different body types. For instance, the best jeans for apple-shaped bodies hug the waist and slim down the lower part of the body to balance your broad shoulders.  Jeans can make you look fatter or slimmer depending on the style.
  • Styling needs: You can dress up or down when using jeans. For example, you can pair it with a shirt for casual wear or a button-down shirt for a more formal look. Jeans are widely acceptable in different social settings, including everyday activities and workplaces.

When to Use Khakis

Use khakis if you favor comfort, breathability, and a more formal style. Opt for khakis if you have these body traits and styling requirements.

  • Body type: There are options for the best jeans for pear-shaped bodies. However, khakis are good alternatives should you prefer a looser fit if you have extra pounds in the hips, tights, or buttocks.
  • Styling needs: If you’re leaning toward more smart casual and semi-formal dress codes, khakis are more suitable to use. May it be for office settings or outdoor events, you can pair khakis with sweatshirts, blouses, or blazers.

Which Type of Pants Is Better?

Jeans are the better type of pants for everyday wear and in most climates. Meanwhile, khakis are a much better option for semi-casual and more formal events. Khakis are better if you need something softer and lightweight, whereas jeans are ideal for prioritizing shaping the body.

While both styles are versatile, knowing which is better depends on the situation, your lifestyle, and personal preferences.

Related Questions

Are Khakis the Same as Jeans?

Khakis are different from jeans because they have a more relaxed fit and a lighter color. They also tend to have a dressier look than jeans.

Are Jeans Trendier Than Khakis?

Most styles of jeans are trendier than khakis because of a variety of cuts, details, and washes. Jeans have remained a classic wardrobe staple because they can withstand trends, making them a more reliable fashion choice than khakis.

What Can I Wear Aside From Jeans and Khakis?

If you don’t want to wear khakis or jeans, you can consider alternatives like chinos, cargo pants, or sweatpants. However, the choice should still depend on the fit, purpose, lifestyle, and occasion.

HONEST review of the CNROS Stretch Skinny Jeans

Final Verdict

Khakis and jeans are incredibly versatile and useful, so why not add them both to your wardrobe? Some occasions will call for khakis, while others would suit jeans. Whichever you choose, jeans and khakis will give you greater freedom in improving your outfit styling.


Allena is the Founder and Editor of The Better Fit, a platform dedicated to empowering women with practical advice on bras and fitness, inspired by her own revelation of the widespread issue of incorrect bra sizing. Her expertise and tips have been recognized by major publications such as Cosmopolitan, Better Homes & Gardens, Insider, and NBC, making her a trusted voice in women's wellness and lifestyle.