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Men’s chinos | How to wear chino pants


Thursday, 3 December 2020

Introducing the must-have hero for every wardrobe: Men's chinos

Picking the best men’s chinos isn’t an exact science. You need to factor in colour, fit, chino style, where you’re going to wear them, and whether or not your boss will mind. That’s why most guys will have at least two or three pairs of different chinos on stand-by. We’re not saying

you need to order one of every colour, but a good place to start would be: one casual fit pair, one formal slim-fit pair, and one pair with some eye-popping colour (because you never know when you’re going to need light pink pants). Welcome to our ultimate men’s chino guide.

Men's Chinos Guide Men's Chinos Guide

01What are chinos?


We’ve actually written about chinos before, but here’s a quick refresher course. Men’s chinos are smart-casual cotton twill trousers, with some elastane worked into the weave (for extra stretch). Unlike suit pants, they don’t have a pleat running down the front, and they usually come with jetted back pockets. Chinos are your versatile wear-them-anywhere kind of pants. Formal chinos can be worn under a blazer, or even in the office. Casual tapered chinos, cuffed at the ankle, are a stress-free look for summer—just pair them with a simple crew-neck tee and some white sneakers. There are even chino joggers and chino shorts, if you want to really expand your collection.

Men's Chinos Guide Men's Chinos Guide

02Picking the perfect fit


As a general rule of thumb, most guys will want to go for ‘slim fit’ or ‘stretch fit’ chinos. They’re the most flattering shape, they elongate your leg, and they’ll look sharp pretty much anywhere. ‘Regular fit’ chinos are a little bit more formal—they’re less tapered than slim fit, but slightly more comfortable. ‘Skinny fit’ are obviously the tightest chinos of all, practically painted on, and they tend to look best on tall guys with thin legs (you trade flexibility and comfort for the most flattering silhouette). Whichever fit you choose, your chinos should sit comfortably on your hips, with the same mid-rise as a pair of suit pants. If they’re bunching or ballooning out, you’re probably wearing one size too large.

Men's Chinos Guide Men's Chinos Guide

03The occasion


This is the real beauty of the humble chino. There’s really no wrong way to wear them. The only places where chinos aren’t appropriate are corporate job interviews, black tie events and fancy weddings. Anywhere else, you’re laughing. You can rock an open-collar shirt and knit blazer for your 9–5, or dress your chinos down with a simple t-shirt and Chukka boots. One good pair of tan or navy chinos could almost see you through an entire year (although we recommend building a collection of three or four pairs, for longevity’s sake). In the summer months, don’t be afraid to cuff your chinos high, above the ankle, and show off your sneakers. Just remember to leave the socks at home.

Men's Chinos Guide Men's Chinos Guide

04Chinos this summer


Looking for chinos this summer? They’re a good choice. Chinos tend to breathe a bit better than denim, and the cuts are slightly looser. Obviously, when the mercury heads north of 30 degrees you’re going to want to swap to shorts, but anything lower than that is definitely chino-friendly. Try a sky blue linen shirt (loose to the third button) over some cuffed khaki chinos and driving shoes. Or maybe some white slim-fit chinos, tucked pink shirt and plum blazer, for the races. Experiment with different cuts and colours to find whatever makes you comfortable. A good pair of chinos should feel almost invisible—like a natural extension of your leg.

Men's ChinosGuide Men's Chinos Guide

05Men’s chino shorts


Coming into summer, you’re going to want a couple of pairs of chino shorts. The only question is colour. Navy and tan are obvious safe choices, but don’t be afraid to go a bit crazy. This is an Aussie summer, right? People expect a bit of colour.

Men's Chinos Guide Men's Chinos Guide

Black chino shorts

Black chino shorts are highly underrated. They serve a similar function to the ever-reliable black t-shirt: seriously, these shorts will match any shirt you own. A simple grey polo over the top is always a good look, or you can pair them with an olive green tee and black sneakers. Black chino shorts are basically mistake-proof.


Navy chino shorts

Probably the most common and popular colour for chino shorts, and you can see why. Like black shorts, navy chinos will match almost anything, and they’re easy to dress up or down. Try a blue chambray shirt for an interesting two-tone look, or keep things simple with a simple white tee. Every guy should own a pair of these.


Green chino shorts

Green chino shorts cover everything from jungle khaki (always a safe choice, right up there with navy and tan) to spearmint and forest green. As always, wear the colour you feel most comfortable with. Green chino shorts tend to match well with navy shirts, blue-grey tees or simple white linen. No need for anything flashy on top.


Sky blue chino shorts

If you want people to actually notice your legs, sky blue chino shorts are a great option. Very summery, very beach-y, very picnic-friendly. We find a grey t-shirt works best here, but you can also play in the cool section of the colour wheel: we’re talking lilacs, navies, greens and even pale yellows. Wear these with leather slides or boat shoes.