Chinos that go with (almost) everything Our stylists’ favourites for you, plus some tips on how to wear them well

Why you need chinos that go with (almost) everything
We generally think of chinos as a slightly smarter jeans alternative. And they’re great for autumn because they’re not as heavy as jeans, so they counterbalance all the boots and jumpers you can’t wait to wear once the temperature dips a bit. Best of all, they're even easier than jeans to make smart or casual.

Stylist, Alice Watt

The way to make chinos more casual (or smarter)

It’s all in the cuffs. If you’re dressing smarter—with a blazer and leather shoes, say—then leave the bottoms of the trousers as they are.

To make your chinos look more casual, turn the cuffs up by an inch or so.

The most versatile colour

“If you want to throw on a pair of chinos and be confident they go with everything, you can’t beat navy,” Alice says.

“Just think of how often you wear indigo jeans or a navy suit. Navy chinos go with every other colour (including black!).”

The way to dress smart casually

Our rule of thumb: Think about what you normally wear casually, and then add or change one or two pieces of clothing to make your outfit smarter.

By wearing chinos instead of jeans, for example—and maybe adding a pair of smart shoes—you'll immediately smarten up.

The chino-friendly shoes

Chinos go with basically any shoes, barring the extremes: beat-up trainers aren’t great, nor are the super-polished shoes you’d wear with your sharpest suit.

If you’re wearing them with trainers or suede boots, try turning up the bottoms of the chinos to make them look more casual.

The easiest way to make them look sharp

“If you want chinos to help you look as lean as possible, take them to the tailor,” Alice says.

“If your chinos are too long, getting them taken up by even an inch or so keeps the ends from bunching around your ankles, greatly improving the way you look.”

The details to look for

You'll see styles that are reminiscent of jeans—with rivets and jeans-like pockets—but chinos are more versatile if they’re more like tailored trousers, with flat, subtle front and back pockets. This makes them smarter, so they’re fit for a wider range of occasions.

The best fabrics

Cotton twill's the classic chino fabric, and it's also the sturdiest option. It's woven in a similar way to denim, making it thick and hard-wearing.

If you're after a smarter pair of chinos, you could also opt for plain cotton. Lots of the pairs here have a small percentage of spandex, which makes them more comfortable.

The smartness scale
  • Most casual chino outfit: Chinos with a t-shirt, hoodie and minimal trainers.
  • Smartest chino outfit: Chinos with a blazer, shirt, tie and smart shoes—a great outfit for events that are smart, but not too formal (like a christening, or barn wedding).
The best fit

Go for slim or straight chinos if you want to wear them both smartly and casually.

Skinny chinos can look too young and casual to dress up, and because they’re usually stretchy, skinny fits aren’t as durable or long lasting as slim or straight chinos are.