Men’s chinos are one of the most important pants in a man’s essential wardrobe. Finding the right brand for you can, however, be somewhat of a challenge, I am here to help you with my top 5 choices for the best men’s chinos on the market today.
If you care even a little bit about your wardrobe then you should have a pair or two of chinos in your closet. In my Best Men’s Chinos Guide I’m not only going to show you where to buy the best chinos on the internet but how to wear them, and what colors to get.
Chinos can very easily be the core pant to any men’s wardrobe simply because they can be worn with anything. And I do mean anything. From broadcloth dress shirts, and Oxford dress shirts, to polos, sweatshirts, v-neck sweaters, plain t-shirts, and even blazers. You can even throw on a tie and wear them to a business casual work affair. I personally like wearing chinos just as much as I like wearing my jeans. Especially on those hot humid days where you need something that’s lighter and will breathe.
What are chinos?
Chinos are basically a cotton pant originally created for the military. The name chino, meaning toasted, comes from American Spanish. Because of the use of cotton they are lighter than jeans and better for summer temperatures. They are also in between casual and formal wear and can be dressed up or down.
What’s the difference between Khakis and Chinos?
Although many believe that Khaki’s and Chinos refer to the same pant, there is actually some difference between the two. Both come from a military background and are made from a cotton material but Chino’s have hidden stitching giving them a more refined look making them more appropriate for dressing up. Chinos come in a wide range of colors while Khakis come usually in a tan or cream color. The fabric used in Khaki’s is heavy duty while chinos are constructed from a lightweight cotton product. Let me put it this way, more than likely you’re not going to be doing yard work in your J. Crew chinos.
Six Rules You Shouldn’t Break With Chinos
1. Black Chinos – Black chinos are really tricky. I would stay away from the all-black look with chinos. You don’t want to end up looking like a bar back. Instead, if you must, break up a black chino with a navy top and white or grey sneakers.
2. Chinos are not a formal pant – Please don’t try and go formal with your chinos. It’s hard enough trying to get them to look right with a decent grey or navy blazer. You can’t lose with a good v-neck sweater, polos, a solid t-shirt, oxford dress shirt, Harrington jacket, a good jean jacket, and don’t forget a great pair of white sneakers.
3. Don’t wear your chinos too long – The stacked look (multiple breaks in your pants) looks terrible. Don’t do it. Stay with a quarter or no break in your chinos for a modern clean look.
4. Stay away from cargo pants – Again I can’t stand cargo pants. If you want to look like a kid instead of a man then have at it, but men stay away from cargos.
5. No pleats or creases – Hate em. Period.
6. Don’t get chinos pre-cuffed – Pre-cuffed chinos look terrible don’t do it. I go into a little more detail below.
How should chino’s break?
When I talk about breaks, I’m not talking about hurting your chinos. I’m talking about the fold/s of material near your shoes. For modern styles, most pants will have anywhere from a full break to no break. Chino pants look great with just a quarter or no break. Once you start going into a full break they start to look sloppy.
Are pleats a good idea?
OK, I’m only going to say this once. I fucking hate pleats. Don’t have them in your dress pants, and don’t have them in your chinos. They make your upper pant look not proportioned and puffy and if you’re carrying a little weight, pleats just accentuate the problem.
Are cuffs a good idea?
Don’t buy chinos with cuffs. If you want to cuff them yourself or peg them for the beach look fine. But more times than not you should wear them uncuffed with the proper break.
Colors you should have in your closet?
There are three main colors of chinos you should have in your closet, lt beige, navy, and olive. Stay away from the darker brown khakis, they aren’t necessary. You will have more opportunities for matching colors with a light beige or sand color. Navy is also another heavy hitter that you’ll get a lot of use out of.
16 of The Best Men’s Chinos
I personally own a number of these brands and can vouch for them. Any of these brands will look great on you as long as you get the right cut for your body type.
1. Rag & Bone Fit 2 Stone Chino – On the more stylish side of the spectrum, Rag & Bone has designed a classic Chino for their popular line of men’s fashion. Currently, their Rag & Bone Fit 2 Classic Chino ($225) is only offered in sizes from 28 to 36, so larger guys will have to shop somewhere else for our chinos. Rag & Bone utilizes ultra-soft cotton to ensure that every pair of chinos is as comfortable, yet functional as possible.
2. A.P.C. Classic Cotton Twill Chinos – This chino design is ideal for the man about town who wants more than just a fashionable pair of pants. A. P. C. Classic Chinos ($250) are comprised of beautiful Italian cotton gabardine and offer a waterproof design. These chinos are ideal for men who frequently have to contend with inclement weather conditions, but again, these chinos are primarily for average sized individuals as they come in sizes from 27 to 36. For additional support, A. P. C. Classic Chinos feature a two button closure design in which one button is seen, while the other is conveniently hidden within the waistband.
Again, I personally own a number of chinos off this list. Most of these brands will be under $100 and offer a great bang for the buck.
1. J. Crew 484 Slimfit Chino – J. Crew is known for producing some of the most fashionable men’s designs available and chinos are a significant part of their market. Their J. Crew Slim-Fit Stretch Chinos ($70) are one of my favorite affordable chinos around. Whether you are looking for more of a slim fit or straight design, J. Crew has exactly what you need for business as well as everyday casual attire. Among their more popular options is the broken in style with soft materials for an always comfortable fit. Their slimmest fit is the 484 while the 770 is a straight leg with a nice taper.
2. Bonobo Summer Weight Chinos – Men’s chinos make a statement and what better way to make the statement you want than in a pair of Bonobos Stretch Wash Chinos ($98). This brand takes chino design to the ultimate level with traditional colors such as khaki’s, browns, and blacks, but also brings in specialty colors in muted tones as with pastel shades of blues, greens, and more bold colors of reds and deep blues.
3. Grayers Newport Chinos
4. H&M Slim Fit Chinos – Tapered fit chinos can sometimes be a challenge to find. They are ideal for many different body types but seem to fit best with slimmer individuals. H &M Tapered Fit Chinos ($25) provide the tapered style beautifully with three colors to choose from, dark blue, black, and dark beige. Washed cotton twill fabric maintains the regular waist expected, with a slight taper to the leg to avoid the billowing effect of some larger legged pants.
How to Wear Chinos – Outfit Ideas
This is one of my favorite outfits. It’s perfect for almost any occasion and will give you a slick refined look even for casual.
1. Shirt: H&M Polo Shirt – Black
2. Chinos: J. Crew Navy Chinos
3. Sneakers: Oliver Cabell Lows White Sneakers
This is a great look for work. If you’re going to wear a blazer with chinos a grey jacket with stone/lt beige chino is a great combination. I like the no-sock look, but I don’t like the no-sock feel. Check out our article for no-show socks options
1. Blazer: J. Crew Ludlow Slim Unstructured Grey Blazer
2. Shirt: J. Crew Navy Pique Polo
3. Chinos: J. Crew 484 Chinos – Faded Chino
4. Shoes: Ferragamo Black Penny Loafers
Casual Business Casual
Casual Business Casual just takes the formality of a blazer down a notch. I’ve replaced the blazer with a bomber jacket which makes these outfits perfect for casual Fridays or a work party.