Chinos are unique, versatile and practical. Where denim is a casual situation specialist, and wool suiting dress pants are more appropriate for corporate or formal events, chinos are that rare garment that you can wear across almost any occasion or even, from work to weddings and more. Better yet, unlike denim and wool, they come in an incredibly wide range of colours, meaning you can have a few pairs in your closet and match the most appropriate to your outfit and occasion. Chinos are an every day, every man, every occasion sort of garment.
The nitty gritty of chino construction is mainly their cotton construction - usually 98-100% cotton. This means they’re lightweight and breathable, especially great for warmer climates like Australia and hotter months (which is why they’re a popular choice for farm and tropical weddings). Added to these qualities of chinos is a unique stretch composition also means they’re perfect for activity, whether that’s walking to work or high-kicking on the dance floor, keeping the skin dry and cool. Lastly, chinos are crafted from a hypoallergenic fabric, meaning there’s a lower risk of any skin irritation.
The cotton construction of chinos means that they don’t retain odour in the same way that other thicker trouser, like denim, would. This means you don’t need to wash them as much, and you shouldn’t - as with all garments, the more you subject the fabric to washing, the quicker the fibres will deteriorate. Resist the urge to wash them after every use or two, and instead wash them only when the odour or colour dictates. Even then, a spot clean can often replace a full machine or hand wash. When you do need to wash them, turn the chinos inside out and machine wash on delicate with cold water, then air dry, to ensure there’s no shrinkage or damage.
Length wise, you want to cuff your chinos with a slight break or no break, which means the trouser ends on or above the heel of your shoe. This could mean heading to a tailor to get them hemmed properly, or it could mean a simple roll - two rolls should do it for low top shoes, with an extra for high top sneakers or boots. A pinroll cuff can be a more tapered way to roll them up - pinch the fabric on the inside of your ankle, so it’s snug, and then fold toward the back of your heel. Start rolling with both hands, making sure the roll is 1 to 2 inches wide (1 for short blokes, 2 for taller) and ends right above your ankle your ankle bone (or at the top of your high cut boots).
When it comes to chinos, the world is your oyster. Outside of black tie events and very formal workplaces, there aren’t many places you can’t get away with a pair of chinos, particularly in versatile shades of navy and cream.
When it comes to wearing chinos casually, you can sub them in for anytime you’d wear denim. They pair well with sneakers, loafers, boots or anything else you plan to wear, and work great with a casual collared shirt, long or short sleeved, with a print or block colour. A bomber jacket, leather jacket or even a sweater.
If you’re wearing your chinos to a more formal occasion, a sports jacket is your best friend. Go bold, with checks or stripes, or keep it corporate in traditional navy. Cotton or linen are superb partner fabrics to chinos, but wool, particularly textured in flannel form, is also great. Ideally, a jacket with patch pockets and deconstructed lining will work best, accentuating the laid back Italian charm of cotton tailoring, but it’s not a necessity. Just be wary of looking like you’ve subbed in your high school formal suit jacket - nothing too shiny or boxy. For a shirt, opt for a classic Oxford button-down shirt or a traditional tailored business shirt. Ties with some texture and roughness, like a knitted or linen tie, are the perfect way to finish your outfit. Come winter, a custom overcoat is an unbelievable addition, giving structure and warmth to your outfit, regardless of where you’re headed or what you’re wearing.