The humble chino: we all own a pair, in one form or another, but how well do we really know this ubiquitous pant style? No two pairs of chinos are made the same, with the fit, colour and material all contributing to varying levels of formality. Broadly speaking, there are three main types of chinos- the casual, work wear and smart/dress pair. Despite contrary belief, you can’t wear one pair of chinos in every occasion, so read ahead and brush up on your chino varieties.

The Casual Chino:

Sold in virtually every male fashion store, the casual chino is normally distinguished by their visible stitching on both the outside and inside leg seams. They tend to be made from cheaper materials, hence their lower price point, sit lower on the hips and can be given some kind of wash or treatment. This style of chino is inherently casual, so they tend to work best with more casual pieces. Pair them back with classic Oxford shirts, t-shirts, polos, cardigans and hoodies will all go great as well. Think of casual chinos as your weekend pants and avoid teaming them with anything too formal, such as a blazer.

The Work Wear Chino:

The work wear chino differs from the first variety in both material and cut. They are often made from far tougher or thicker fabrics and often feature a more relaxed fit in order to create a rougher appearance. Easy to pair back with other work wear inspired pieces, denim is a safe bet, as well as checks, thick flannel over shirts, gilets, rugged outerwear, finished off with a pair of chunky boots. These styles are perfect for those men who like a more relaxed appearance or simply need to find a style that can fit their muscular thighs.

The Smart/Dress Chino:

Sometimes confusingly mistaken for ‘trousers’, smart chinos can be distinguished by their hidden stitching along both the outseam and inseam, which ensures cleaner lines and an overall sharper fit. This style of chino traditionally features a higher ‘rise’, designed to be worn properly and slightly higher on the waist. Moreover, they are generally constructed from higher quality or more luxurious materials, resulting in a slightly higher price point, and it is strongly recommended that you tailor the hems to finish perfectly at your heel. Arguably, smart chinos are the most versatile pair you could own. They can be worn with casual shirts, long sleeve polos and crew neck jumpers for a smart-casual look but work just as well with dress shirts, sports coats, ties and formal shoes.