If you care even a little bit about your wardrobe then you should have a pair or two of chinos in your closet. 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. They look equally great whether you put them on with a T-shirt, a Sweater or your favorite oxford. 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.
Where to buy Chinos to buy
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.
Rag & Bone Fit 2 Stone Chino
A.P.C. Classic Cotton Twill Chinos
Norse Projects Light Twill Chinos
Filippa K Chinos
Asket The Chino
Todd Snyder Japanese Selvedge Chino
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.
J. Crew 484 Slimfit Chino
Bonobo Summer Weight Chinos
Grayers Newport Chinos
H&M Slim Fit Chinos
Farnol Everyday Twill Chinos
Drapeau Noir Classic Chino Pants –
Taylor Stitch Sim Chino
COS Stretch Cotton Chinos
Buck Mason Twill Chino –
Uniqlo Men’s Slim Fit Chino Flat Front
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.