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How Should Chinos Fit?

Written by: Bronwen Collins | August 9, 2019.

How should chinos fit? The smart-casual trousers, Chinos are a simple staple for any man’s wardrobe. Pulling off the chino look is easy, as long as you know what size and length your need. Let us take you through how to fit and style your chinos properly, no matter the occasion.

A man is stood looking past the camera. He is wearing sunglasses, a pink blazer, white shirt and pink chinos, all from Hugo Boss. There is a blue sky behind him.

Chinos are available in numerous amounts of styles, colours and cuts – which can make things a little difficult when it comes to picking your own pair. It can be tempting to make a smart guess when selecting your size, but this is more complicated than debating whether you need a t-shirt in a medium or a large, and we recommend you recruit a bit of help to measure your legs and waist properly before you buy your chinos. Either from a spouse or (arguably better) a tailor.

It is important chinos fit properly for two reasons. One: to ensure you don’t look like an idiot. And two: due to chinos having a military background. Inspired by khakis, Chinos became a staple of the American army. This background as a uniform means they are considered much smarter than jeans, so they need to fit you perfectly.

Here is our simple guide on how your chinos should fit, from your waist to your thighs and lastly, the general length.

Which chinos for which occasion?

Generally, chinos are considered smart casual, but if you’re not sure if you’ve gone too smart (or not smart enough) with your trousers, a good trick is to check your pockets.

Flat pockets on the back are considered more casual. Also, the thicker/heavier the material of your chinos, the more casual they are.

Do chinos stretch like jeans around the waist?

Short answer: no. Typically chinos shouldn’t stretch around your waist. You want the chinos to fit perfectly around your waist without falling down and needing a belt. You also don’t want the waist to be too tight, making the chinos uncomfortable. If you need to go for a bigger size to get the right length then a belt is acceptable. Or, better yet, get a tailor to have the waist taken in. Chinos should be snug but comfortable around your waist, with no fear of them dropping down even without a belt.

For chinos, the waist will sit lower than suit pants but should hit exactly where the waist of your jeans should be (between the upper and mid-hip bone area).

A man is stood staring at the camera behind a white wall. He is wearing a brown coat, blue jumper, sunglasses and black chinos that are slightly baggy. He has black trainers on his feet to match.

Should chinos be tight around my thighs?

The thighs don’t want to fit too tight, you don’t want to feel like it’s pulling at the knees when you walk or bend down. You should be able to pinch a minimum of 1 inch of fabric but no more than 1.5 inches on either side of your thigh.

How long should my chinos be?

The length of your chinos depends on how you plan on wearing them. We have a whole blog here on how long you need your trousers to be, so check it out! The basics are, if you’re thinking of going sockless with your chinos, then go for a slight break. Doing this enables you to vary your look easier as you can just roll and unroll the bottoms as you please.

If you’re going to roll your chinos, only roll them once so they end at your ankles – otherwise, you’ll look like you’re going for a paddle in the sea. If you’re not rolling the ends, then your chinos should typically hit the top of your shoes.

Now you know how your chinos should fit. You can learn how to style your picks here.

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