Whether you're a seasoned sartorialist or a style schmuck; whether you're into tailoring or tank tops; loafers or sneakers -- chinos have a place in your wardrobe. And when you're at the beginning of your style journey, purchasing a pair of well-fitted chinos is a fantastic place to start.
What makes chinos great is their unrivaled versatility. You can style them more casually and more formally than a pair of jeans, which easily makes them the best pair of pants a guy can own.
So if you're a guy that's interested in adding chinos into your style arsenal, let's break down the basics:
- What to look for in pair of chinos
- Which colors to start with
- How to make outfits with chinos
What To Look For When Buying
To get the most out of your chinos, you should look for maximum versatility. There are certain details that can define your ability to dress the chinos up or down. For starters, you'll want to make sure that they are flat-front rather than pleated.
While pleated dress trousers are making a comeback on the hardcore menswear enthusiast scene, they're still a ways away from mainstream acceptance, and won't make sense on the average guy. Pleated chinos on the other hand are probably never making a comeback, so you should leave them to the awkward middle aged IT folks.
Aside from looking rather odd, they will make the garment more dressy and prevent you from using those chinos for casual outfits.
Another detail that can impact the versatility of your chinos is the stitching on their seams.
Chinos with clean subtle stitching on the seams as opposed to thicker, puckered seams will have a higher formality ceiling. Chinos with thick seams appear more rugged and are hence appropriate only with casual outfits. The chinos on the left could easily pair with a sport coat while those on the right would be slightly out of place.
Flat-front chinos with subtle seam stitching will give you the most bang for your buck, so keep those detail in mind when you're shopping.
What Color Chinos?
There is no shortage of color options when it comes to chinos. You can find them in almost any shade, from tastefully restrained neutrals to obnoxiously bright jewel tones. When starting your collection, sticking to the basics will give you the most mileage.
Navy, khaki/beige, olive, and gray are the perfect colors to build your wardrobe around, as they are the most versatile.
If you're looking for a bit more seasonal flavor, you can consider more specialized chinos.
Brighter and lighter variations of the basics are perfect for summer: royal blue rather than navy, sage green rather than olive, and cream rather than khaki. And of course, you can go all-in for the season by exploring variations of red and pink.
Chinos in mustard, brown, and maroon are optimized for the autumnal palette since they echo the colors of fall foliage.
Excluding frigid winter commutes, there's a chino perfect for any occasion! Start your collection with foundational colors and if you so desire, expand upon it with seasonal hues.
What To Wear With Chinos?
Pretty much anything! Chinos are incredibly flexible in their formality. You can go as low as a tank top and scandals for a chic beach outfit or as dressy as a sport coat with a casual neck tie. Just try to keep the top and the footwear within a few degrees of each other in terms of dressiness, so as to remain congruent.
For instance, you could wear a tank top or a tee shirt with sneakers, boat shoes, or moccasins... But not with dress shoes.
Wearing a polo tucked in like a dress shirt or even with a sport coat is great way to sharpen up the look while remaining casual overall. Sneakers or loafers are ideal, and perhaps monkstraps could be made to work with this type of outfit, but laced shoes will be a bit too stuffy for such a laid back aesthetic.
Styling your chinos with a button front shirt, a sport coat, and even a tie is perfect for business casual scenarios. Derbies, brogued oxfords, monkstraps, and loafers are perfectly congruent while sneakers will be a hard sell.
So long as you keep the overall tone and formality congruent, chinos are the perfect pair of pants for a wide array of scenarios. Choose your chinos with a flat front and subtle seams for maximum versatility, start your collection with foundational colors, and style them appropriately. The world is your oyster!
Do you have any lingering questions about chinos? Leave a comment or feel free to message me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org