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What exactly are: Chinos?

What exactly are: Chinos?

In a nutshell

Lightweight and versatile trousers that are a slightly smarter jeans alternative.


Named chinos because they were made in China (chinos is Spanish for Chinese), these trousers were first issued by the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War. The originals were made without pleats and with subtly tapered legs to conserve fabric—and that's still the best style. 

How to wear them well

"When you're sick of your jeans, chinos work just as well with almost everything," says Thread senior stylist Alice Watt. "They can be completely smart or completely casual. Smarten them up with leather shoes and a shirt—and even a blazer and tie—or dress them down with a t-shirt and trainers. Just make sure the trainers have a simple shape and only one or two colours."

Photographed: Gant chinos (£100), Gant white shirt (£85), Hudson brogues (£160)