When building a wardrobe suitable for work and play, look to the chino pant as a vital component of your style. You can find a chino style and color for every personality and body type. The chino design comprises a staple of both men’s pants and women’s pants.
Most people think of the khaki chino when you mention the word “chino,” a shortened form of Chinese pants or Chinese Pantalones. These versatile dress pants come in a variety of cuts and colors suitable for any business casual look or an occasion that calls for a casual pant.
That is the beauty of the chino. You can dress it up or down. It works as travel pants, office attire, school clothes, play clothes, weekend wear. Chinos fit nearly any dress code.
While the essential basic chino began as military wear for the US, the versatile style and comfortable wearing pants has gleaned much attention from designers. From Calvin Klein to Dockers, Gaultier to Gap, chinos perform a necessary service as a fashion staple of the 21st century. They went from military garb to rebel wear in the 1950s to preppy wear in the 1980s and have remained at the forefront of fashion ever since.
James Dean paired chinos with a white t-shirt and black leather jacket to smolder into the hearts of women. That Rebel Without a Cause look gave way to the pink and green fashion fiasco of the 1980s. Every preppy had to wear a pink polo (salmon if you’re a guy) with green chinos. Today’s chino looks to provide much greater fashion diversity.
Fabulous Chino Fabrics
As far as fabrics go, little variation exists. Cotton and cotton twill fabric comprises the sum total of chino fabrics. These lightweight pants need little ironing and provide a perfect alternative to linen pants. Dressy chino options for women such as Esprit’s houndstooth design appear much more formal than the typical khaki or red chino pants for women.
Essentially any body type of men or women can wear chinos. Choose from slim fit chinos, stretch chino, skinny chinos, chino trousers, denim jean chinos, or pleated pant chinos. You can even find chino styled track pants as an alternative to sweatpants.
The typical cotton twill blend of them makes the chino a versatile style that designers have fun playing with as the season progress. You have so much more than cotton chino pants from which to choose.
The Right Chino Fit
The variety within chino cloth and its cotton twill blends as well as the numerous cuts for these pants ensure each body type can find the perfect fit. Choose chinos with a straight leg or a flare to make a heavyset frame seem more streamlined. Go for the tailored pieces that nip in at the waist.
These define your waist and create the illusion of a proportioned top and bottom. Choose clothing, especially pants in the appropriate size. The clothing should brush against your body without squeezing it and should show no rolls of fat. The fabric should not bunch or pull. Avoid baggy pants since these add to your girth.
If your body type tends toward willowy or athletic, choose a tapered leg to accent your legginess, but choose a mid-calf length, or tailored pants that hit beneath the ankle. Ankle skimmers make you look as if you outgrew your pants. You can also wear wide-legged pants that let you enjoy the freedom of movement.
Choosing the Right Color Chinos
As a general rule, choose lighter colored bottoms if you have heavy legs or carry a little extra weight. Dark pants will make your legs look heavier. The exception to this is wearing a monochromatic outfit.
Wearing all black from head to toe provides a slimming look. Heavier women can choose chinos in spring colors such as pastels. Enjoy yellows, pinks, and light blues to round out your vital khakis. The taller women and those with willowy or athletic builds can wear darker colors such as black, brown, navy blue, and eggplant.
Types of Chino Pants
One important factor to remember is that designers can combine these styles of chino. You could purchase a cool chino pant with stretch that has a tapered leg with a tailored waist and torso. It might come with a matching belt or a belt tie such as paper bag chinos do. Some styles apply to both men and women while others you only find made for one gender.
Both genders have options for basic, cord, canvas, pleated, every day, and flannel chinos, but they were originally designed for menswear. The women’s chino styles cool and stretch pants designers also now make for men.
Men’s Chino Pants Styles
This refers to the original design of chinos, a classic fit military pant made in China for the US military. Its light cotton provided a dressy look for uniforms while requiring little special care. These fitted trousers provide give in the movement and resemble heavier khaki dress pants.
The term cord chinos refer to a chino pant crafted from corduroy fabric. They can come in any cut.
Canvas Five-Pocket Chinos
The term canvas five-pocket chinos refer to pants with the typical five pockets of dress trousers or traditional denim jeans but crafted of cotton twill. The cut of these pants typically fits loosely through the leg such as a straight leg jean.
The term pleated chinos refer to pants with pleats at the waist and lower torso area. The pleats lend a dressier look to the pants and cause them to resemble dressy trousers.
The term jodhpurs chinos refer to pants cut wide at the hips and with a tightly fitted knee to the ankle area. While not native to the US, you can rock this look by pairing it with a kurta and dress jacket. It also pairs well with a dress shirt and blazer.
The term everyday chinos refer to casual chinos. These may have pleats or none. They sometimes come with a matching belt. This is true of styles for men and women. They pair well with a t-shirt or polo. If you head to the marina or beach, slip on a pair of Dockers with them; otherwise, canvas sneakers pair well.
Similarly, the term flannel chinos refer to a chino pant crafted from flannel fabric. This provides a toasty fall or winter choice. These soft pants make an ideal choice for office wear in cold weather or a fall Friday night football game.
Women’s Chino Pants Styles
The term punto chinos refer to a chino pant that comes to a point at the ankle. (Punto means the point in Spanish.) These pants have a very tapered ankle so that you can barely fit a fingertip inside the ankle. They resemble the 1980s skin tight jeans at the ankle.
The term stretch chino refers to a stretch pant using chino styling and light fabric, typically cotton twill with at least two percent Lycra added. This provides stretch to the fabric and makes it fit more like a stirrup pant without the stirrups.
Stretch Washed Chinos
The term stretch washed chinos refers to a variation on the stretch chino theme. This type of pants receives a washing such as stone washing before shipment to the retailers. This washing slightly fades the dyes used in coloring the fabric.
Paper Bag Chinos
This women’s chinos style resembles the looseness of a paper bag for shopping. An attached belt tie secures the waist of the pants. The long ties of the belt hang down in front past the crotch of the pant. This style lends itself to a tucked-in shirt typically a button-down worn with dress shoes.
The term cool chinos refer to the basic design of chinos with its tailored waist and torso and slightly tapered leg, but using much lighter weight cotton. Some cool chinos blend light cotton and linen to provide a summer weight pant that looks good, holds shape, and suits many business and casual looks. Cool chinos make an ideal summer travel pant.
Slim Pants Chinos
The term slim pants chinos refer to a pant with a flat front design that fits snugly in the legs and tapers to the ankle. These use a small leg opening at the ankle. When you grasp the pants while wearing them, you should have about a half-inch of fabric in your fingers. The fit should be snug, but not skin tight.
The term skinny chinos refer to a pant with a flat front design that fits tighter than slim fit chinos. Think of skinny jeans and substitute the fabric cotton for denim. These fit tightly similar to jeggings.
Womenswear introduced the jersey chino and no, it does not refer to the Jersey shore. The term jersey chinos refer to the material used for the pants. These pants use the same cozy fabric as a jersey dress, a jersey knit of either cotton, silk, or wool.
A colorful selection of chinos hanging on a rack.
What kind of people wear jeans and what kind of people wear chinos?
Both chinos and jeans provide looks suitable for every person. The two types of clothing differ in the situations in which you would wear them. Jeans prove a suitable look for casual events or running errands.
Wear jeans as a casual look at your child’s soccer or football game or shopping with friends. Wear chinos to the office or to dressier events that require dress pants such as business casual attire events. Both choices go well with a polo shirt.
What is cargo or chino pants?
The terms cargo pants and chino pants refer to two different types of clothing. The typical cargo pant construction consists of many pockets on the front and sides of the pants and a roomy, boxy cut of the legs.
Chino pants feature two side pockets and one or two rear pockets referred to as wallet pockets. They take on a tapered leg cut and lend themselves to dressier occasions while cargo pants are well suited to leading a coup or camping for the weekend.
What types of hemlines do chinos have?
It depends on whether the chinos were designed for men or women. Chinos for men typically have a longer leg length and the hem of the pants hits just below the ankle. This makes them suited to dress wear in a loafer or dress shoe.
Chinos for women may come in Capri length or ankle length. They typically hit at or just above the ankle bone. This makes them suitable to wear with heels or flats. It also makes them suitable to wear with canvas sneakers.
What is the difference between cotton trousers and chinos?
Originally, little difference existed between the two since both the trousers and chino were made from cotton. Today’s chinos include Lycra or Elastane to provide more give to the pants and an improved fit.
Designers still make cotton trousers of cotton though. A trouser cut and a chino cut differ. A trouser cut typically has looser legs to the ankle while chinos come in a variety of cuts and styles, most of which taper to some extent as they near the ankle.
Can chinos be worn on formal occasions?
A man could conceivably wear black chinos to a semi-formal occasion when paired with a black blazer or suit coat, tie, and dress shoes and socks. Other colors of chino would not be suitable for a semi-formal. Chinos do not provide a dressy enough attire for a formal event. You should wear a tuxedo for a formal event.
A black-tie formal requires a black tuxedo with no tails paired with a black bow tie. A white-tie formal requires a white tuxedo with tails paired with a white bow tie. A white-tie affair is the most formal of occasions and typically a high society wedding or an opulent fundraiser.
What do you do with slightly faded chino pants?
Since the advent of the stonewashed fad and the faded look, you can keep wearing slightly faded chinos. Rather than use them as office attire, once the color fades, relegate them to weekend wear. You can still wear them for running errands, golfing, or sailing.
Should you choose khakis or chinos?
Some people think that khakis and chinos are the same things. Designers construct khakis from a heavier weight fabric than chinos. The cut of khakis bears a closer resemblance to trousers than to the more tapered chinos.
Should you wear chinos or trousers for graduation?
You can wear either, but you will probably find chinos more comfortable. Designers use a lighter weight cotton fabric for chinos and this makes them cooler to wear in late spring and summer. Many locations in the US already have temperatures in the 90 or 100s in May when most graduation ceremonies take place. The lighter the fabric, the better.
What is the difference between chinos and skinny trousers?
Chinos are a type of skinny trousers. They use a lighter weight fabric. In menswear, trousers refer to the broad category of pants. They also refer specifically to suit pants or formal pants. The term skinny trousers refer to a pant for men that features a cut that conforms to the leg and tapers as the leg nears the ankle. A trouser typically has a cuff at the hem while a chino does not. Both pant types usually have slash pockets at the hip and one or two rear pockets suitable for wallet storage.
What’s the difference between trousers and dress pants?
A dress pant is a type of trouser. Trousers typically accompany a suit coat and feature a tailored design. The top and bottom pieces of a man’s outfit form a suit, a jacket or suit coat, and pants of matching material using the same type of stitching and complementary design. A dress pant trouser comes separately from a suit. You can purchase dress pants in a number of colors.
Why are trousers called pants in the US?
Names for trousers in the US vary. Trousers, pants, chinos, khakis, jeans, slacks, corduroys, or cords. These terms differ from those used in other English speaking countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, a man wears trousers on the outside of the outfit and pants refer to his undergarment, underwear, boxers, briefs, or boxer briefs, as they get called in the US. In Australia, the two terms, trousers and pants are interchangeable. Other British-English speaking countries use the conventions of the UK.
How many types of trousers are there?
Eight main types of trousers exist. Chinos are the most common and popular type. Other types of trousers include casual trousers, formal trousers, joggers, jeans, track pants, cargo, and jodhpurs.
What color chinos can you get?
This answer varies for men and women. In general, every person needs a pair of tan or khaki chinos to provide a lighter weight choice than khakis. This color of pants goes with most business casual situations. You can wear them at the office or on the weekends. You also need chinos in a variety of other colors.
Men should have at least a black pair, a navy-blue pair, and a white pair of chinos. Green is also a popular color since many men like to wear these on the golf course. Women have access to a greater range of colors. Choose from the rainbow, but in addition to the must-have colors for men, add a pair of red chinos as well as something more unique like purple or orange, or yellow. These make for the fun weekend looks.
Is khaki the color or the style?
Khakis come in the color khaki, as well as tan, olive green, cream/beige, and sometimes black. Khakis originally only came in khaki. These heavier weight cotton pants originated in the military as a dressier look that required no ironing or very little pressing.
It still allowed officers to look good though since its waist and lower torso area included pleats and darts while the pants legs included a crease. As the military integrated more colors into their choices of khaki, the colors popularized in the general population, too.
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