Chino pants are versatile trousers crafted in durable cotton twill fabric. In the world of men’s pants, they fall somewhere between casual and dressed up. Not quite as rugged as a pair of jeans, but surely not as refined as a dress trouser.
I’m loosely defining chino pants as any cotton trouser you can dress up or down with ease. They can be constructed with 5 pockets, like a pair of jeans, or more like dress pants. While the 5-pocket style is a bit more casual, it’s a versatile pant nonetheless. You can beat them up on the weekend or wear them out with a sport jacket.
Finding the perfect pair of chino pants can be a challenge, despite the wide array of options we have today. You want to find the right fit at the right price, because there’s no reason to overspend on such a basic wardrobe staple. This may take some trial and error, and some legwork. Fortunately, I’ve done some of this legwork for you.
Here’s my list of candidates. You’ll see that I included boutique brands alongside the big mall brands, for the sake of comparison. Ultimately, what is “the best” will come down to your personal preference.
AG offers some of their popular denim fits in a chino pant. Their tailored “Graduate” model is one example, while the “Lux Khaki” is a newer model in a lightweight cotton blend with trouser style side pockets.
Apolis sells the “Standard Issue Utility Chino” for just $98. That’s a good price for pants of this caliber, made in Peru from Pima cotton canvas. You’ll notice the high quality construction.
Balibaris is a French outfitter in the ranks of A.P.C. They make a variety of good chinos, including the “Tannin” and “Jamy” model trousers. You’ll have to visit Paris to buy them.
We can’t have a conversation about khakis without mentioning Bill’s! If you’re inclined toward a more traditional fit, then Bill’s has at least 3 fit options for you. They also have an M4 fit which is supposed to be slim (I haven’t tried them yet).
The slim and modern “Connor” chino from Club Monaco is available in traditional staple colors, in addition to offbeat camouflage and other prints. The quality would be comparable to J.Crew.
Epaulet New York offers their “rivet chino” in a variety of different fabrics. The fabrics make a big difference in how the pants wear over time. The fit is slim, with a mid to low rise and high quality details.
The “Ground Pant” from Engineered Garments is likely the most expensive pant on this list. I still wouldn’t call these overpriced. They’re made in USA from a durable 50/50 nylon cotton blend. With a military / workwear inspired style, they’re best for casual weekend duty. (See their “Fatigue Pant” as well)
Paige makes a slim fitting “Federal” 5-pocket chino in ultra comfortable Japanese twill cotton blend. Pictured below in Canyon red (which you might also call “Nantucket Red”).
You can explore the casual side of Incotex within their “Incotex Red” line. These pants feature many of the same trademark details as the mainline, with construction that is much less refined. Pants are cut even slimmer, with lower rise and small embellishments on the back.
Another Parisian label worth exploring, Officine Generale is an expert in updating the classic styles. Their “Maxim” chino features some unique detailing to complement a slim and totally modern fit.
J.Crew offers the Bowery Slim and 484 chino pant. The 484 is supposed to be their slimmest fit, with a low rise that’s best for casual wear. While you might get a good fit from J.Crew, most of their pants are very basic designs.
Hudson is known for their denim, but they also offer the Blake model 5-pocket pant. Like their jeans, these chino pants are made in the United States. Woven in a stretchy cotton blend with a slim, straight fit.
The Gio pant is certainly the signature piece at Unis New York. While the pants are priced relatively high (just short of $200), I would bet on a very low cost-per-wear. In other words, they’re going to last a while, and you’ll want to wear them a lot.
For the most inspired version of Ralph Lauren’s current line, look at RRL. While the Double RL slim fit cotton chino is stylish, it’s also priced well over $200 and probably made in China.
The Aros pant from Norse Projects is available in classic or slim fits. Made in Portugal with a nicely detailed construction. The retail price is around $180, but these are popular pants, so you can often find them on sale.
You can find chino pants under all of the different Hugo Boss labels, while the most casual options will likely fall under the Boss Orange line. Their “Schino” is one popular model that could be worth a try if you can find them on sale.
Thanks for reading! It’s impossible to cover all of the great pants out there, so if there’s some essential chino I’ve left out, feel free to send us a note and let us know. Before you go, be sure to check our shop for regular listings on pre-owned designer trousers and casual pants.