How to wear chinos?

As the weather is getting warmer, Spring is the ideal period of the year when you take lighter clothes out of your closet. Chinos are a perfect incarnation of what you are going to wear once the temperatures will get higher. They are lighter than jeans, more comfortable, and they allow more color possibilities, so varied looks. Over the last few seasons, chinos succes allowed brands to propose more and more colorways, so they have become a wardrobe essential you own in many different colors and wear any time in the year.


A bit of history

Chinos’ history date back to the 1840s. harry Burnett Lumsden, a British army officer based in India, looks for a way to get rid of the showy red and white uniform his troops are wearing. Then he dyes his cotton pyjamas with a local plant extract so the fabric could take a similar color of the fields’ one. The Hindi or Ourdou word for “dust” was “khaki”, this word became used for this new uniform then. Later then, as khaki trousers were getting more popular, people stated to name them chinos as most of them were manufactured in China.

The Elegant

tony scooter spring phoning

Elegant chinos are close to suit trousers thanks to their features, the only difference is they don’t have pleats. They are fitted, made of a satiny material and can be worn with all casual shoes. Their color does not really matter, as it is all about matching them properly. Most of all, focusing on the material (finer than classic chinos), render and details will make the difference here. So, no buttons on the back pockets, hook fastener (at least a concealed buttoning) or fine trimming will give chinos a more elegant look. Ideally, wear them with a pair of derbies, a shirt, a blazer or like Tony who mixed different styles with a striped t-shirt. To go to work of even to dress for wedding parties, elegant chinos can be a good alternative to all classic trousers.

Where to find some?

From Filippa K, BWGH, Cuisse de Grenouille, ASOS or from APC

The casual

joe maremagnum 17

The most common chinos, the ones you can find everywhere! What comfortable trousers to walk a whole day, jump, play, dance (whatever you want actually)! Usually, they are straigh-fitted, but chinos’ recent succes have made brands offer a slimmer cut. It is made of a thick cotton (as it was first created for the millitary). It can be worn with everything, for most occasions as they aren’t too formal, and in all colors. Faded chinos will have to be avoided – like jeans – which are tasteless, really. Actually, chinos are The ultimate hybrid trousers.

Where to find some?

Or favorire fits can be found from Knowledge Cotton Apparel, Ben Sherman, Scotch & Soda or Homecore. Smaller budgets would look from Dr Denim and Selected whose chinos are ok.

The heritage

romano look de rue 14

They mostly come from denim brands, they are much more rigid as made in a thicker fabric, usually in a cotton twill. Most of the time, they have tapered legs (loss from the tighs and gets slimmer from the ankles), as the others are cutted following a “straight line”. They also have details we can usually find from jeans: selvedge fabric, coin pocket and many belt loops. To wear them, better focus on “workwear” or “streetwear” pieces: denim shirts, chambray shirts, checked shirts, flannel shirts, graphic t-shirts, a pair of boots, sneakers… the antipodes of formal, so please leave daddy’s polo in your closet

Where to find some?

We really like Carhartt, Denim & Supply, Dickies or Dockers chinos.

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  • Matt

    Great article! Very interesting and insightful. Love chinos :)

    • Romano Garagerocker

      thanks for reading (everyone loves chinos ;p)

  • Bert

    Hey, thanks for this great article Romano. My favourite chinos is from Lee, have you tested them yet?

  • JulianoBeletti

    Hey, nice post! Is it possible to wear chinos for a wedding ?

    • Romano Garagerocker

      Hey JulianoBeletti ! depends on the wedding, but in general you can wear chinos if they are elegant: concealed buttoning, satiny fabric… like this model from Filippa K