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What are Chino Pants? Things You Need to Know About Chinos Pants
Chinos are pants for men. You wouldn’t think a simple pair of trousers could cause so much concern, would you? However, unless you have some fashion experience under your belt (pun intended! ), there are more varieties of pants for guys than you probably realize. Today, the Oliver Wicks team shares their knowledge about chino pants, including how to fit and style them for any occasion and everything else you need to know about these versatile, lightweight options for men. You’ll have no trouble fitting Teeanime into your daily outfit by the time they’re finished… and perhaps you will be as well!
WHAT ARE CHINOS?
In a word, chinos are smart-casual pants that are a stylish alternative to jeans. They are not only adaptable, but also lightweight, making them an excellent choice for outdoor events, summer picnics, and other occasions where you want to seem put together but not overtly dressy. As a result, they offer a wonderful balance of functionality and practicality and can be simply dressed up or down.
While they aren’t ideal for formal occasions, they are fantastic to have in your daily rotation for a little more style and verve. They also look great with a blazer, which gives your suit pants a break.
THE HISTORY OF CHINOS
Unlike so much of the history of men’s clothing, we can’t credit our British counterparts for chinos. They first appeared during the Spanish-American War in the nineteenth century. The Philippines were the site of several of these wars. They required something for military uniforms that was more slimline, practical, and lightweight than existing models in a location that was hot and muggy for large swaths of the year.
The pants were created in China, and their term, ‘chino,’ comes from the Spanish word for the country. Because of the slimmer fit and lack of pleats, the style allowed for less fabric usage, and they lack the ‘bells and whistles’ of other clothes – no huge pockets, for example.
Despite the fact that the war is long over, chinos remain a popular choice in menswear and look strikingly similar to the historic design.
CHINO CHARACTERISTICS: LOOK AND FIT
Chinos and khakis are sometimes confused, but they are two distinct types of pants. Chinos are sleek and, if properly fitted, look somewhat tailored. Pleats are never found in chino pants. Of course, you’ll see them in a lot more colors!
While pockets are common in modern chinos, they are typically small and sewed to the inside of the pants. Many people label chinos as ‘preppy’ or ‘dressy,’ seeing them as a good compromise between dress pants and casual pants. Because of this, they’re frequently used in boys’ school uniforms, but don’t let that put you off! In these beauties, you’ll look like a sophisticated, well-dressed man, not a boy.
Because of the material used (more on that in a moment), chinos are easy to dress up or down, and many men appreciate their lack of bulk and simplistic appearance. In an era when many men’s pant styles are baggy and impossible to fit without skilled tailoring, we have a model that doesn’t fit too tightly while maintaining a clean and conservative line. Oliver Wicks is all about finding the perfect fit for you.
Straight lines help you stretch your legs while also making you appear taller than you are. This is terrific if you have naturally long legs, and it’s a great technique to slim down if you’re on the short side.
That’s not to suggest chinos don’t have fit variations. Chinos are still available in’slim fit’ and ‘athletic fit’ styles. Athletic fit accommodates a little greater muscular mass across the thighs, buttocks, and waist while still tapering below the knee. So, if you’ve had a poor experience with chinos’ fit, don’t dismiss the style just yet.
Don’t be anxious if the words ‘trendy’ and’slim’ do not fit into your conversative, formal vocabulary. We provide chino cuts that are commonly mistaken for dress pants, but you’ll notice the lightweight benefits when you wear them. This is the approach to chinos that many of our clients like – simple and unobtrusive.
The material is another distinction between khakis and chinos. While both pant designs originated during wartime, khakis, oddly, are made of a tougher, heavier cloth. Chinos, on the other hand, are traditionally manufactured from a light cotton twill with some elasticity, and the fabric has become an iconic component of the chino aesthetic.
Cotton blends are not only soft and light on the skin, but they also regulate temperature well. This makes them suitable for changing outdoor conditions, particularly in hot weather.
Fabric technology has advanced, as has everything else in fashion. While cotton and cotton blends are still the most popular, there are other, newer textiles available. Baubax, in instance, is a luxurious blend of breathable bamboo, polyester, elastane, and merino wool. Wool and bamboo are both wicking fabrics, which means they draw sweat away from the skin, keeping you cooler and more comfortable. Elastane replicates the slight stretch that makes for an easier fit, and it happens to be a sun-protective fabric rated at UPF 50+, which is the same as denim jeans, but without the cling and bulk. Chinos are also particularly ‘easy-wear,’ resisting watermarks and stains, making them ideal for outdoor wear.
With the addition of modern fabrics, you may select a style and weight of chinos to fit any mood. If you enjoy experimenting with your style, there is enough to choose from. Our chinos are 97% cotton and 3% elastane, giving you all the benefits of natural fabric with a dash of modern comfort (from the elastane).
ARE CHINOS KHAKIS?
No, they are not! When everyone else is wearing chinos, you’re likely to see khakis and slacks, but they’re not the same thing. Khakis have a military history as well, but they are a little looser and heavier. This can make them appear a little ‘frumpy’ when compared to the sleek elegance of chinos, but the more relaxed look also works well for casual occasions.
While khakis are no longer limited to the ‘khaki color,’ chinos come in a far wider range of colors. Khakis often feature wider pockets, a looser fit, and are pleated. They’re a touch more durable, but more heavier and less forgiving on a variety of body types. While both are appropriate for a business casual look, chinos will always have a fashion advantage over the more relaxed khaki.
Khakis have made a fashion resurgence in recent years and may be dressed up a lot. If you’re not sure what you’re doing with your own style, save the khakis for lounging at home and opt for chinos as your go-to pants, which are much more forgiving of styling missteps.
STYLING TIPS FOR CHINOS
So you have a lightweight, ‘outdoorsy’ pant design that is still highly constructed and structured. What are you going to do with it? If you’re new to chinos, the finest piece of advice is that anything jeans can accomplish, chinos can do better. What else you match with them determines how dressy your final look will be, and it’s difficult to go wrong. Pay special attention to your shoes and clothing to convey the overall vibe you want.
As previously stated, you can wear them with a jacket for an office-appropriate look. This is appropriate for relaxed professional settings. In formal settings, it’s probably best to wear a suit and leave the chinos for the weekends.
SHIRTS FOR CHINOS
Pair your chinos with a breezy button-down shirt for a go-to outfit that’s casual enough to pass but formal enough to look excellent. If you want to create a smart-casual or business-casual appearance that will work for most occasions, pair light dress shirts with darker chinos. Put on a blazer or sportcoat for a stylish appearance that will take you from date night to a casual outdoor wedding.
If you require a more relaxed look, don’t be afraid to include patterned shirts. True informal occasions, or simply going out on the town, can float a well-structured, clean, and neat t-shirt and yet appear smart. Guys, this is a lot better option for running to the store than your sweatpants!
SHOES FOR CHINOS
Shoes may make chino or jeans look elegant or casual. If the occasion is smart, choose a quality leather shoe, such as an Oxford or loafer. Chinos provide a neutral background that might look elegant with suede or punched shoes.
Sneakers? Sneakers aren’t appropriate for events or the boardroom. Chinos are great for a’street’ style that shows off your kicks. Always wear clean, rip-free sneakers.
Sneakers come in many styles. You’ll want a simple, casual design rather to a “gym-style” shoe with big logos, a ‘busy’ design, or lots of colors. Plain white chinos are a sartorially-respectable alternative for streetwear.
A boot is too heavy for chinos, so we recommend khakis or slacks instead. However, a low-cut leather boot can be worn with chinos for cooler weather. For visual appeal, try suede.
We won’t go into detail because there’s so much you can do with this adaptable style. Use a stylish belt and match the leather to your shoes. Following that, the world is your oyster! Put on a nice blazer for easy style points, or stick with that structured t-shirt for a more relaxed approach that still has some flair. While chinos do not require a tie by default, you can add one if your shirt and location require it.
As previously stated, chinos can be worn in place of jeans, as well as with a smart jacket style. This provides a wide range of formality possibilities, allowing you to dress them pretty much however you choose. This beautifully leads us to the following section!
WHEN (AND WHERE) CAN I WEAR CHINOS?
Chinos go anywhere…within reason. Chinos are perfect for any occasion that doesn’t demand a suit or black tie. Wear them to work, errands, the park, or a date. Many stylish men enjoy lounging in chinos.
The range of colors, airy fabric, and fitted appearance make them versatile. If you need to dress them up, choose wiser, darker colors. If you need a more casual vibe, choose stone, taupe, or khaki.
Chinos are perfect for an active lifestyle since their fabric resists snags and creases. If you commute by bike and need to look professional in the office, they’re up to the challenge. Because of this, many hikers prefer chino pants.
They’re sensible suitcases for frequent travelers. You can pack light because they match practically everything, are comfy in transit, and are crease-tolerant. Chinos are versatile. Keep suit pants for when you’re wearing a suit to save your premium dress pants.
Chinos are a casually stylish, everywhere pant style. They’re also great for men who are just learning to dress themselves. You can’t go wrong with chinos, and it’s easy to achieve a clean, sleek look. If you don’t have sturdy chinos, go shopping.
Oliver Wicks has chinos for every taste and style, and our knowledgeable crew is pleased to answer any queries you have.Create a free account on our site to access instructional videos and measuring videos to get your personalized suit measurements. Join our mailing list for styling tips, fabric news, and more.