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Hopefully, you’re coming around to the idea that to build a truly great wardrobe, you’ve got to have versatile essentials you can mix and match at will, pieces that function almost like tools in your toolbox. Sometimes, you need something a bit more intricate – other times, you just need something strong and dependable, like a pair of chino pants.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Think of the chino pant like an everyday workhorse in your wardrobe, whether you’re back in the office five days a week, on the road consistently or somewhere in between. The best chino pants deliver classic style and easy wearability with everything from a T-shirt or rugged henley to a crisp Oxford shirt (and beyond). Let’s take a look at one of the most important menswear pieces in your toolkit, shall we?
First and foremost, chino pants are named for the origin of the tightly woven cotton twill fabric used to make the pants themselves. The pants first originated in China and were called “pantalones chinos” by Spanish soldiers – thus, shortened to chino pants.
The hard-wearing cotton twill fabric stands up to abrasions and other pitfalls of combat, so the chino pant soon became a military staple in the late 1800s and 1900s. Like plenty of other standout men’s style staples, including the field jacket, chinos made their way into civilian life.
These days, the cotton twill or cotton twill-blend pants often boast four or five pockets (usually side slant pockets for a dressy look, unlike denim), belt loops and a clean, relatively dressy design (again, unlike denim, pocket rivets or the waist button aren’t visible).
Just like your favorite pair of jeans, the best chino pants come in different cuts to accommodate different body types. You’ll find brands using fit terminology like “slim” or slim-straight” cuts, not unlike your go-to pair of denim.
Chinos are naturally cut somewhat slimmer than blue jeans, though – they feature a more tailored look and feel, since they’re not intended to be worn in workwear situations, like jeans.
When in doubt, trust Huckberry to design just about anything to perfection. The 365 Pants toe the line between chinos and jeans, using a five-pocket design that’s both casual and yet polished.
True to form, the pants can be worn just about every single day, thanks to a classic straight cut and the use of durable 98 percent cotton (blended with 2 percent elastane for a touch of stretch). You’re nearly guaranteed to find a color and fit that suits you from Flint and Tinder.
Reaching for a pair of the best chino pants doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing comfort these days. It’s right in the name of these soft, supple trousers, made from a garment-dyed fabric for softness.
A lightweight blend of cotton and elastane makes them especially useful for warm weather, but touches like an internal drawstring and side waist elastic panels deliver year-round, easygoing wearability. The color options on offer are crisp and timeless, and you can even pair it with a matching Wills blazer for a refined, comfortable suited look.
Bonobos was built with a focus on the quest for finding the perfect pair of pants: Pants that fit well in all the right places, with a durable waistband, cool fabric and even cooler color options.
They certainly seem to have hit it out of the park over the years, but even the best men’s chino pants deserve a revamp every once in a while. The Stretch Washed Chinos – 2.0 Edition – improve upon a modern menswear classic with non-iron, four-way stretch fabric for comfort. Plus, a zip pocket functions as a highly useful storage space for your EDC, and they come in five fits and a wide range of sizes.
From its Oxford shirts to handsome leather jackets and soft, cozy sweaters, there’s hardly a category in which San Francisco’s Taylor Stitch doesn’t excel. You can now add a perfect pair of chinos to your wardrobe from the brand, a trusted and iconic outfitter for more than a decade.
The Democratic Foundation Pants boast a classic, tailored-but-not-tight fit, plus a garment-dyed organic cotton construction for soft sustainability. The dark Coal color is crisp and easy to wear with a chambray shirt or a white Oxford shirt (or a Taylor Stitch henley), while the medium rise is a timeless design touch, too.
One of the biggest differences between men’s chinos of decades past, and the sleek and streamlined pairs of today? The use of modern performance materials to give your chinos even more flex and comfort, as with the aptly named Performance Chinos from Everlane.
They’re part of the highly transparent retailer’s Uniform Collection, which boasts staples (from T-shirts to sweaters and yes, chinos) that you can mix and match with ease on the daily – like a uniform.
Ensure these chinos – made with a helpful six percent elastane – are part of your own uniform. Three fits should suit every body type, as will a wide range of sizes and timeless, sharp colorways.
Todd Snyder fittingly calls these crisply designed pants a “modern hybrid,” and it’s hard to argue with one of America’s best menswear designers.
They blend the five-pocket look of denim with the soft stretch of chino pants – the use of 90 percent cotton in the blend leaves plenty of opportunity to add in some highly mobile poly and lycra fibers.
These feature a tapered fit that’s somewhere between slim and straight, while the garment-dyed cotton twill fabric should prove smooth and soft. Find your fit and find your favorite color: You very well might want more than one pair.
The best men’s chinos, like we’ve said, are built for just about anything, including travel – yes, there’s a world of comfortable style out there beyond just sweatpants, comfortable as they might be.
Step things up a touch with Roark’s Porter Pants, the latest and greatest from a company that sits at the intersection of on-the-go functionality and fashion. Roark has amped these up in every way possible, from its proprietary cotton stretch canvas fabric to a back zip storage pocket and durable button waist closure. The straight fit offers room to move, while numerous sizes should deliver something for everyone.
An all-American retailer should be plenty skilled at making something as all-American as the chino pant, right? It only makes sense that the prep-meets-modern purveyors at J.Crew deliver on a pair of cool-as-can-be chino pants, which notably feature the same slim 484 fit as its expertly washed and faded blue jeans.
These pants feature “Stretch on Demand,” meaning they’re designed to move with you as you need them, while the 7.9oz. Cotton twill fabric is suitable for what J.Crew calls year-round wear. Given the wide array of color options available, it’ll be tough to pass up buying just one pair of your new favorite chino pants.
The best men’s chino pants are a cut above the chino pants of decades gone by, something that’s immediately evident with just one look at what Ministry of Supply has done to the iconic design.
The Kinetic Pants are made with an extra-comfortable hidden drawcord waistband, but it’s the company’s proprietary Primeflex Warp-knit Japanese Polyester fabric that provides remarkable on-demand comfort and mobility.
These moisture-wicking chino pants also boast stretch that’s designed to bounce back over time, while they’re also wrinkle-resistant. Modern meets timeless with these Ministry of Supply pants, no doubt about it.
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