How I Find My Best Chino Pants …
Finding a pair of the best chinos can be hard.
There are so many questions, like:
- “What are the best chino pants brands?”
- “Where do I get hold of them?”
- “What price range should I go for?” to name some.
Well, with this article I’m going to make it a lot easier for you to find your next pair of best chinos. You see, below, I’ve listed my 10 personal favourite chinos.
The list includes some hidden gems for less than $100 buck (I love the ones from H&M for $29.99).
Iʼve also included other chinos with high pedigree and exclusiveness from the top price tier (like the Rugger chinos from Gant for $165).
Please have a look at the list below and see if you can find your next pair of favourite chinos:
Best Quality Chinos? Here’s what to Look for
To increase your odds of ending up with the best chinos instead of dad pants, you need a proven game plan for shopping.
Such a plan will remind you to check for all the important design details as well as the fit in order to determine the best chinos.
In this article, I’ll share with you the strategy I always use when shopping for chinos, whether online or in a store.
Chinos vs jeans vs five-pocket pants
The specs that make jeans the most casual of the three pants
Typical jeans are made of or have:
- Rough cotton twill or denim
- Riveted pockets
- Contrasting seams
- Patch pockets in the back.
- A colour that is rough.
The most common shades are light blue, indigo blue, dark blue, and black, unlike five-pocket pants, which come in numerous colours.
Why five-pocket pants aren’t the same as jeans:
These jeans-style pants are made out of the same cotton twill fabric as chinos are, where both the weft and warp is dyed. This creates a uniformly solid-coloured fabric unlike traditional denim fabric, which is a blend of white and dyed yarns.
Five-pocket pants have the same pockets as traditional jeans (two in the back, two in the front, and a coin pocket), but usually come in a wider variety of colours than jeans and they don’t have contrasting seams.
Why chinos are the most versatile and refined casual trouser:
Chinos bear little resemblance to jeans.
Instead of two patch pockets in the back, the best chinos always have two buttoned welt pockets, preferably without flaps. The diagonal pockets found on the front of jeans and five-pocket pants are replaced by slanted welt pockets, which look much dressier and elegant.
Like five-pocket pants, the best chinos come in a fine twill fabric. The stitching should match the fabric and blend in nicely.
Can’t decide between stretch and 100% cotton?
You might have heard that:
‘100% cotton chinos don’t fit as well as stretch chinos’
‘Stretch chinos lose their shape after just three months.’
Is it true that all chinos are inherently flawed? Do you really have to choose between the pest and the plague?
I say, ‘It depends.’
If you have an average or heavy build and want a classic, dressy look, 100% cotton pants will usually look good on you.
But then again, you’ll have to find the best chinos for you: the pair that looks good with your proportions.
I’ll cover how to do that in a bit.
If you want something more rocker, a cotton–stretch blend is probably your best bet. Stretch chinos for men hug and lift your butt nicely, enhancing one of your best assets.
Also, if you want your stretch chinos to last more than a month, my tip is to never use fabric softener, which is pure poison to stretch fibres. Fabric softener will leave your best chinos soft …
… but looking like M.C. Hammer’s parachute bottoms—faster than you can say “hammertime”.
Speaking of the best chinos fit, here’s how your chinos should look on you.
When it comes to the best chinos fit, do like Goldilocks
If you want to look more like Orlando Bloom and less like Jerry Seinfeld in your new chinos, your soon-to-be trousers should meet a few criteria.
We already know that the fabric should be solid-coloured and have a finer thread than denim. But what else is there to know about chinos fit and design before you can really kill it with your new pants?
Well, check this out:
When trying on your new chinos, take note of how the waistline sits when you wear the pants naturally—in other words, when you wear them without sagging, or gassing.
BTW, gassing is the opposite of sagging, instead of wearing your pants too low, you’re wearing them too high.
The best chinos waist height is regular, sitting about 1 1/2 to 2 inches below your belly button.
If you have a low waist, meaning there’s a short distance between your crotch and your belly button, you might want to buy chinos with a low waist, and vice versa if you’re gifted with a high waist.
I don’t want to sound like your mom …
… but you need to make sure your chinos fit nicely in the crotch. Bagginess and camel toes are both huge no-no’s. The best chinos have a crotch that’s neither too roomy nor constricting.
This is where the fit of any pants is put to the test. It’s what separates the best chinos from the ones that fit like a dollar store BBQ cover.
Your chinos should fit snugly across your buttocks without being tight. The last thing you want is folds forming under it. Remember, this is what women look at. If there’s only one thing you can get right with your chinos fit, make sure it is how they fit across your butt.
Okay, so I might have exaggerated a tiny bit regarding the butt fit, because another design detail that’s crucial to get right is the leg fit and length.
We want our chinos to have the Goldilocks fit:
Not too tight, not too loose, but just right.
So if you have skinny legs, choose skinny chinos. If you have an average build, your best chinos are probably the slim-fit variety. If your calves are large, choose a straight fit.
And never be tempted to wear bootcut chinos.
Regarding the length, keep it to one break when wearing shoes. If your chinos are too long, get the in-store tailor to hem them for you, as that looks way better than cuffs ever will.
On a Budget? Best Chinos Under $100
Okay, so you want to look good without busting the bank. I can help you with that.
You see, even though the best quality men’s chinos can be expensive, they don’t have to be.
I’ve already mentioned a couple of good models above that sell at under $100, but if you want to go freestyle and see if you can find better deals yourself, I’m not going to stop you.
In fact, if you find a great price on chinos, leave a comment below. I love hearing about bargains!
Here’s how I find the cheapest chinos in 2 Steps:
Pop up your browser and open up the biggest online retail stores.
Here’s a short list off the top of my head:
Filter your search result for garment type [trousers / chinos] and price [$100 max.].
Now let yourself loose. Just remember to order from a place with free returns, so you can send them back with no penalty if the fit isn’t as I outlined above.
Next, we’ll look at the best chinos for work and which chinos colours you look great it.
Breakdown of the best chinos for work
I wouldn’t say that there’s a special type of chinos to wear for work, but there’s definitely some best practices to follow when it comes to finding work-appropriate chinos.
The most business-appropriate chinos length
One of the most important things to get right with any pants is the length. Too-short chinos will make your outfit look rather casual …
… while too-long chinos will make your outfit seem sloppy and keep you from showing your best side.
A moderate length is always recommended, meaning that your chinos should rest on your shoes with one break.
If your chinos have got these, you should reconsider
There’s one design aspect of chinos that I haven’t touched upon yet. It’s a detail that will make your outfit look either outdated or up to par.
I’m talking about the front.
Back in the good ol’ days, pleats were the must-have detail of any pants. You could find trousers with one, two, or even three pleats on each side of the fly,
Wow, imagine how cool you must have been if you’re chinos had three pleats. Today, you’re pushing it with just one.
Pleats have definitely gone out of style; however, some uniforms still incorporate pants with this outdated detail. In that case, there’s not much you can do about it.
If you’re free to choose chinos yourself, always choose those with a front flat front (front without pleats), as a flat front looks more contemporary and stylish.