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.
Chinos vs Trousers
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.