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Jeans and trousers

Five ways to wear: Navy chinos

Five ways to wear: Navy chinos

Navy chinos are a wardrobe superhero—as easy as jeans, but slightly smarter. "They honestly almost always work," says Thread stylist Millie Rich. "You can dress them up for work or dress them down for the pub, and the darkness of the material means they make your legs look leaner. Also, the trousers won't show wear as quickly as stone chinos do."

Below, Millie talks us through five ways to wear navy chinos.

1. For an upgrade to your usual Saturday clothes

Outfit: Navy chinos, cable-knit jumper and Converse

Why this works: "If you usually throw on a hoodie or sweatshirt and jeans, this is a much smarter—but just as comfortable—alternative. A cable-knit jumper is warm and textured, which makes it a bit more interesting than your usual pullovers. The chinos can actually be more relaxed than stiff jeans, and Converse will stand up to your errands but also work at a dinner out." 

Photographed: Ralph Lauren jumper (£115), Norse Projects navy chinos (£100), Natural white Converse (£45)

2. For a weekend ramble

Outfit: Navy chinos, jumper, parka and work boots

Why this works: "Navy chinos can be rugged, too. Chinos were first issued by the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War, after all, and the classic twill fabrication makes them unlikely to tear. In fact every item in this outfit, from the chinos to the minimal parka, balances practicality and style."  

Photographed: Bleu De Paname parka (£265), Mr Start navy jumper (£110), Research Garments white t-shirt (£15), Norse Projects navy chinos (£100), Red Wing boots (£239)

3. When the dress code's smart casual—but you want to break the mould

Outfit: Navy chinos, grey textured blazer, navy waistcoat, white shirt and knitted tie

Why this works: "When worn right, a waistcoat has the potential to make your smart-casual clothes sharper and more stylish. Just make sure both the waistcoat and blazer are textured. Whenever you wear a blazer with chinos, it's better to go for a contrasting colour (here, grey) so you don't risk looking as if you're wearing a poorly matched suit."  

Photographed: Oliver Spencer grey blazer (£349), Oliver Spencer navy waistcoat (£179), Mr Start white shirt (£110), Gant green tie (£50), Norse Projects navy chinos (£100)

4. For a day date or nice lunch out

Outfit: Navy chinos, white t-shirt, unstructured blazer, brogue boots

Why this works: "In my experience, these kinds of events can be the trickiest to dress for. The key's getting the balance right between smart (the blazer and boots) and casual (the t-shirt and chinos). You'll never look too casual—and yet you'll never feel overdressed."

 Photographed: Research Garments white tee (£15), Norse Projects navy twill chinos (£100), Visvim Academia blazer (£449)

5. For both winter and spring

Outfit: Navy chinos, white t-shirt, cable-knit jumper, denim jacket, work boots

Why this works: "The denim jacket's more versatile than you'd think, and in fact it's useful all year: as your outerwear in spring, summer and early autumn, or to add extra insulation under your coat on the coldest days of winter. This is the same outfit as in 1, but the rugged shoes and jumper switch things up. Plus denim on denim's not for everyone, so chinos are an easier pairing with a denim jacket."

Photographed: Natural Selection denim jacket (£170), Ralph Lauren cream jumper (£115), Norse Projects navy chinos (£100), Red Wing boots (£239)

Plus: Navy chino myths debunked

1. Navy and blue don't go together—and navy and black don't go together. "Wrong on both counts. Blue tops work really well with navy chinos, as do black shoes or tops."

2. Chinos are only for summer. "Navy chinos work year-round, in any climate. Stone could be seem as summery, but navy's dark colour isn't dissimilar from indigo; it's always a good shout."