If you don’t own a pair of chinos then it’s time to question your life choices. Chinos are a staple wardrobe item for any man and they’re the perfect midway point between formal and casual dress duties, not to mention they’re incredibly easy for any guy to pull off. Whether you use chinos to break up a suit or pair with a simple polo shirt, their versatility in the modern menswear space is unrivalled.
But since they’re such a popular choice for guys of all shapes, sizes and styles, finding brands that work for you can be a minefield. We’ve put together the ultimate guide to chinos and singled out the brands you need to know about. But before we get into them, here are a few things to look out for when shopping for chinos.
You might be wondering: What’s The Difference? Chinos can be defined as the combination of a smart trouser made from a more casual, cotton twill. As a result of their origins from mid-century military ware, they’re often more rugged than tailored trousers without dropping in the style game. These days they’re also available in different cuts, colours and fabrics which makes chinos ideal for conquering the urban streets or a precious dress-code party.
Like jeans and trousers, chino fitment is essential to nailing your look. The bottom line is that chino fitment is often dictated by the dress code occasion paired to your own personal style.
These require mid-weight cotton with a structure that resembles a suit or separates trouser. Aim for a pair that sit nicely on the hip (no bunching) with the same rise and length in the leg as a trouser, and one that tapers at the ankle. Another way to achieve the cinched-look is by rolling the cuff 1.5 to 2 inches from the bottom – usually four turns. A trend that has seen a revival of late is a slightly wider leg, with the chino being rolled at the ankle to create a tapering at the bottom. It’s a fifties groove that can’t go wrong.
There are fewer rules in the casual space, as guys can opt for either fitted chinos or wider leg chinos depending on their preference. The versatility of chinos means they can be worn with anything from a denim shirt to a flannel shirt to a polo or tee. In the colder seasons, it’s a simple case of pairing it with a bomber jacket. Just bear in mind that looser fitting chinos pair better with looser fitting tops.
Easily a loaded question, chinos come in a multitude of colours to suit just about any taste and personality. The most common colours are often the ones that are the easiest to wear. Think beige, black, cement, off white and even navy. Beyond that the colour spectrum gets louder and careful pairing at the top needs to be accounted for to avoid looking like the next Wiggles member.
For a more comprehensive rundown, check out our guide on how to wear chinos for any occasion.
US retailer Everlane is committed to producing clothes in sustainable and ethical ways. Not only are the materials it uses of high-quality, but the company is also completely transparent about the factories it employs. A comprehensive selection of chinos comprise a range of fits and materials, including the ultra lightweight Air Chino.
US-based Bonobos lays claim to being the largest online clothing brand in its home country – there are also a few physical stores dotted around. The company was founded with a means to produce well-fitting pants, a feat it has achieved thanks to its curved waistband that conforms to your body's natural shape. With five chino styles (all well-explained) all rocking the same waist design, you're bound to find a pair to suit you.
Rhone is a brand that diversifies seamlessly between everyday casual wear and clothing more suited to the gym. It's with this in mind that pieces such as the Commuter Pant are created, blending a stylish silhouette that wouldn't look out of place in the office or at a bar for date night, with a lightweight, breathable fabric that allows you to move about freely - just maybe don't try working out in them.
Olivers might be a brand more suited to all things athletic, but that hasn't stopped it from creating a line of clothing that can easily be worn on a daily basis. Its athletic knowhow is channelled into said everyday wear, including the Charter chino, which is made from a Japanese stretch twill cotton, providing both a soft, comfortable fit with the ability to stretch and retain its shape.
Canadian athletic giant Lululemon is also one to cater to life away from fitness-based activities with a range of clothing for everyday wear.
That includes the Commission Pant, Lululemon's take on the classic chino made from a proprietary Warpstreme fabric, designed to offer the ultimate in comfort and stretch. Hidden pockets keep the fit as slim as possible and, in the company's words, they feature "anti-ball-crushing technology", so every bit of you has room to breathe.
Flint & Tinder
Flint & Tinder is a clothing brand stocked exclusively by Huckberry. The online retailer only selects brands of the highest quality and those that produce their wares in sustainable ways. Flint & Tinder therefore, is the perfect fit. The brand makes its chinos in the US out of a lightweight, breathable fabric, meaning they could become the most comfortable pair of pants you've ever owned.
Outerknown is the clothing brand created by world champion surfer Kelly Slater, founded with the intention to combine clothing reflective of surf culture but made in the most sustainable ways possible. The brand's version of the chino pant is the S.E.A Legs, which are made from 98 per cent organic cotton. Throw in a range of colours and a supersoft feel and you'll not only look good, but feel good about the benefits they bring to the planet.
American fashion label Todd Snyder is definitely one you want to add to your list of regular shopping destinations. Pieces, including chinos, are made from some of the finest materials – in the case of chinos, it's Japanese selvedge – and offer an elevated sense of style some other brands find hard to replicate. All the essential colours are covered, with some seasonal variations thrown in for good measure.
This super-trendy lifestyle brand hails from (as its name suggests) New York City. Being founded in the trendy district of SoHo has allowed Saturdays NYC to produce a line of clothing that has instant appeal to the majority of modern consumers. The company's John chino epitomises this, coming in the sweet spot of fits and being available in only the colours you'd really want to wear.
J. Crew is synonymous with US preppy culture and wouldn't look out of place during a weekend trip to your family's lake house. It's perhaps no surprise to learn the US clothier has an extensive range of chinos, available in a number of different fits. All styles, however, benefit from the company's Stretch On Demand fabric technology that provides extra flexibility only when you need it.
Frank And Oak
Canadian retailer Frank And Oak has made a pledge to eradicate all plastics from its production line within the next few years. The company is already on the right track, with its Mackay chino being made from 98 per cent recycled cotton. They're only available in a limited range of colours, but they're the ones that can easily be worn on a daily basis. With skinny and slim styles to choose from, you'll do well to check them out.
Yes, this is a gym clothing brand and yes, they sell chinos. Understanding that even heavy lifters need a life outside the gym, Barbell Apparel's chinos include an athletic fit which uses an advanced flexible fabric, so even guys with thighs the size of actual tree trunks can find clothes to fit them.
British outfitter AllSaints are the kings of effortless cool. The vast majority of the label's collections are menswear essentials such as t-shirts, jeans and shirts, and most are minimal in their aesthetic too, with the odd graphic or pattern thrown in. But there's something about AllSaints' essentials that go that bit beyond your run-of-the-mill
Online retailer Huckberry specialises in sourcing sustainable clothing to stock its site, and has now gone down the route of creating its own fashion label to fill it even further. Wellen is the result, and is a brand that uses recycled materials to produce its clothing range. The Playa Stretch chinos are an example of that, being made from 98 per cent organic cotton. They're offered in a straight leg style and have a good amount of stretch to help you when you're running for the train to work.
For chinos that will survive virtually any outdoor adventure, look no further than Mission Workshop. The San Francisco-based brand has a comprehensive range of apparel, bags and accessories, the majority of which are made of durable materials and ones that are water-repellant too. The Division chino, for example, offers a four-way stretch design and a lightweight build, yet is presented in a handsome, tailored fit that wouldn't look out of place at a restaurant dinner reservation.
If you don't already know about Japanese brand Uniqlo, then we seriously recommend you add it to your list of go-to retailers. The company ticks off virtually all the menswear essentials and better yet, they're all made to a seriously high quality that belies their price tags. Uniqlo's chino range encompasses, skinny, slim and regular fits, all available in a number of colour choices. The company also offers a tailoring service to help you get the perfect fit.
O.N.S is another New York-based fashion label that sells its clothing predominantly online. Its city heritage is the inspiration for its clothing, being designed to offer superior fits and fabrics for the man about town. The Modern chino will happily accompany you from boardroom to bar throughout the year, thanks to its lightweight cotton fabric that will keep you cool during the summer months.
Warp + Weft
Warp + Weft is a family-owned denim business that has been in business for over 30 years. Not only is its textile mill one of the largest, but it's also incredibly eco-friendly, using over 100 times less water than other companies to produce its jeans. With the SJC chino, you're able to select from a wide range of waist fits and inseam lengths to truly customise your own pair, and they're made from a FlexTwill fabric technology to ensure they don't lose their shape.
Canadian clothier Club Monaco is a brand that has become associated with urban style, and since its founding has been acquired by Ralph Lauren, which only cements it as being a brand of quality. The Connor chino has been designed to be a wardrobe staple all year, coming in a mid-weight cotton fabric to help regulate temperature, and with a hint of stretch to keep you moving freely.
Rag & Bone
New York clothier Rag & Bone has only been in the game since 2002, but has already established itself as a must-own brand. Its clothing range is unmistakably New York, offering consumers a somewhat edgy vibe, but one that covers all the menswear essentials. Rag & Bone's chino range comprises multiple fits and colours, and are made from a Japanese twill fabric, meaning they'll be supremely comfortable and hold their shape.