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Finding the best chinos for men amid a sea of formless khakis can be a painful ordeal, especially given what a crazy couple of years it’s been for pants generally. Weirdness abounds: swishy is king, pleats are back, dress pants are enormous, and it all can be a little overwhelming at times. Thing is, the plethora of groovy trousers doesn’t mean that more earthbound bottoms are suddenly out. There’s plenty of room under the Golden Age of Pants umbrella for the classics, and it doesn’t get any more classic than some hardy, reliable chinos.
As far back as World War II, guys have turned to chinos for their functionality and versatility. There aren’t many types of pants, after all, that feel as at home covered in grease in a mechanic’s garage as they would at a garden party in Martha’s Vineyard. Chinos are the crème de la crème of casual pants, just the sort of bottoms to make you toss your joggers into the back of your closet and consider (gasp!) swearing off sweatpants for good. You can wear them with a beefy Oxford cloth button-down and slip-ons at home, a crisp white T-shirt and scuffed sneakers to the bodega, or a blazer and loafers at your friend’s laid-back barn wedding upstate. Point is: Regardless of what you wear ‘em with, a trusty pair of chinos will never do you wrong, no matter how attached you’ve become to your loungewear.
The Best Chinos Shopping Guide
- The Best Chinos Overall: J.Crew relaxed-fit chinos, $98
- The Best Budget Chinos: Dickies Original 874 work pants, $30
- The Best Upgrade Chinos: Todd Snyder Japanese relaxed fit selvedge chinos, $248
- The Best So-Hot-Right-Now Chinos: J.Crew Giant-fit chinos, $98
- The Best On-the-Go Chinos: Theory “Zaine” pants, $195
- The Best Fashion Guy Chinos: Studio Nicholson “Sorte” trousers, $377
And if you’ve been off the chino train for a minute, right now is a great time to hop back aboard—after a decade or so of slim fits dominating the conversation, designers are shifting back towards a straight-fit silhouette that’s more comfortable, universally wearable, and altogether timeless. When you’re sick of all the bonkers prints and voluminous cuts dominating the rest of your wardrobe, these 23 unflappable pairs—yes, the very best men’s chinos on the market today—will be just the palate cleanser you need. (If you’re looking to get back into the chino game for less, you’ll find plenty great pairs to work with, but you can also check out our favorite khaki pants under $100.)
The Best Chinos Overall
J.Crew’s been on a tear recently. With Noah founder Brendon Babenzien at the helm, the catalog brand-turned-mall-stalwart has made some stylish shakeups, all while referencing what it’s always done well in the past—and that very much includes their chinos. To be clear, they were never really bad to begin with, but for several years, the focus has been on the brand’s slim-fitting silhouettes. Rebooting its relaxed-fit chinos—the kind you remember from vintage J.Crew campaigns of the ‘90s—is one of the best decisions they’ve ever made. They’re relaxed but not overly baggy, and the fabrics used are the best of the mall brand bunch. Plus, they boast details normally featured on their higher-end counterparts, like waist curtains and bound seams. Are there nicer chinos out there? Sure. Are there nicer chinos for the price? No way.
The Best Budget Chinos
Dickies Original 874 work pants
The Dickies 874 is a verified menswear icon and, in many ways, the perfect pair of pants. (Hell, we’ve sang the praises of Dickies’ signature work pants so many times over the years, you could probably write this blurb for us.) They’ve got the higher-waisted, wider, straight-leg cut we’ve been digging lately, and they’re made out of the iconic structured cotton-blend fabric that the 874 is known for. That means they’re tough enough to stand up to construction sites and skate sessions, versatile enough to wear to the office or the bar, and come in roughly as many colors as a bulk pack of Crayola. Oh, yeah, and they only cost about $30, which leaves plenty of room in your budget to tailor ‘em down a smidge or simply stock up on extra pairs. All of which is to say: this is by no means the last time you’ll read about Dickies 874s on GQ.com.
The Best Upgrade Chinos
Todd Snyder Japanese relaxed fit selvedge chino
Todd Snyder’s well-known round these parts as a general upgrader. Blue jeans? His are better. Button-ups? Also better. Outerwear? Not just better, but damn-near the best. Same goes for his high-quality chinos. They’re cut from a crisp Japanese selvedge twill from Kuroki Mills, the kind of fabdic you’d expect to find on a pair of selvedge jeans in a cooler-than-thou denim boutique. They feature on-seam hand pockets for a more streamlined look and nearly indestructible old-school melamine buttons. As for the cut, these babies are relaxed. Like, actually relaxed. They’re bordering wide-legged, if we’re being honest. And in the year of our Lord, 2023, that’s really all we want.
The Best So-Hot-Right-Now Chinos
Okay, so when we said earlier that J.Crew is on a tear, we really meant it. The brand’s Giant-fit chinos helped solidify the wide-leg wave as a legitimate movement, selling out several times over—and catalyzing just as many glowing takes in the process. The good news is that the frenzy has settled down (mostly), and you can nab a pair for yourself right this very instant. Like the other J.Crew joints we spotlight above, these are a straight-up 100% cotton chino available in a full range of certified classic colors, including black, navy, and stone. Heads up: if you’re not a fan of pre-cuffed hems, you might want to bust out a seam ripper and an iron.
The Best On-the-Go Chinos
In pre-pandemic times, you had a lot on your plate—meetings, dinner dates, maybe a flight in the mix—and you needed pants that could keep up. Now, with life (mostly) normal again, you’ll want to readjust your wardrobe to your new (old) routine. And if that means moving around more, like further than a 3-block radius from your apartment, or even means commuting to work, you’ll need a pair of pants designed to handle a high degree of wear and tear. That’s where these stretch chinos come in. They’re fashioned from a super breathable, weather-resistant polyamide-elastane blend that wards off wrinkles. They won’t sag in the face of constant movement, or weigh you down in a gross pool of leg sweat. Wear them all week at home, toss ’em in your suitcase before your first next trip, whatever: they’ll stay looking fresh and crisp through it all.
The Best Fashion Guy Chinos
Studio Nicholson Sorte pleated cotton-twill wide-leg trousers
Studio Nicholson might not be a household name, but the British label has steadily cultivated a devoted following off the strength of its big, billowy silhouettes, top-tier materials, and subtle design flourishes. (Think massive trench coats paired with crisp, almost tent-like button-ups, and a smart color palette of dusty tans, deep navys, and inky blacks.) While the Crew’s Giant-fit chinos are undoubtedly large, Studio Nicholson’s Sorte trousers are—wait for it—even larger, and might be—gasp—even more deserving of the “giant” descriptor. Add to that massive pedigree a couple of deep pleats and a clean hem and you’ve got a supremely understated chino that still manages to speak volumes.
Plus 13 More Chinos We Love
Colbo triple pleat pant
Along with its roster of hard-to-find indie labels, New York’s chillest new shop also boasts an in-house brand more than worthy of hanging alongside its designer counterparts. Colbo’s chinos come equipped with not one, not two, but three (3!) pleats, beautiful natural corozo nut buttons, and taped seams, all done up in beefy 12-ounce bull denim with a big, baggy fit—a winning combo if ever there was one.
Abercrombie 90s Straight Modern Chino
Abercrombie’s ’90s-inspired chinos are crafted from a blend of cotton and lyocell, making them some of smoothest and coolest-feeling pants you’ll come across. Plus, the spot-on straight fit flatters damn near everyone’s frame—including yours.
Alex Mill flat front pant
No more rolling up your pants thanks to these Alex Mill joints—they’re cropped just right to barely graze your kicks.
Dancer five-pocket trousers
Chinos for the guy who can’t quit wearing his 5-pocket blue jeans.
Dockers relaxed fit lux cotton signature khaki pants
If the synthetic fiber blend of Dickies’ classic work pants doesn’t rub you the right way, these Dockers will. They’re made from 98% cotton with just a touch of elastane, and, naturally, come at a very reasonable price.
Buzz Rickson 1942 early military wide leg chinos
The diehard vintage guys already know that Buzz Rickson is elite when it comes to reproductions of classic militaria and workwear. These ‘40s-inspired chinos feature period-correct details like tin buttons, all-cotton sewing thread, and a silhouette that’s true to the era—high-waisted and very, very baggy.
RRL field distressed Bedford cord pant
RRL’s vintage-leaning workwear gives the brand a reputation for making some of the most convincing and tastiest reproductions just about anywhere. And while we’re not sure that these Bedford corduroy chinos boast real-life vintage inspiration, the subtle fades and calculated distressing will make anyone believe that you just scored big at an estate sale.
MHL by Margaret Howell side cinch trousers
Chinos that come with amenities? Hell yeah.
Knickerbocker cotton cavalry twill “Johnny” pant
Knickerbocker’s tip-top trousers feature an Italian-milled 10-ounce cotton twill (aka the nice stuff) cut into a capital-R Relaxed silhouetted with a gentle taper for a beautiful drape, plus a silhouette that’s just *chef’s kiss*.
Insatiable High Prelude trousers
Insatiable High’s chinos come with unexpected details like square rear patch pockets and satin piping, giving ’em a high-low contrast that makes us salivate.
Gramicci relaxed-fit trousers
Gramicci’s famous climbing pants are perfect for the fella with a 9-5 office job and a 5-9 bouldering hobby.
Polo Ralph Lauren “Whitman” chinos
Wear with penny loafers and an Oxford shirt and you’ll look like you’re forever en route to a history lecture on a picturesque ivy-clad campus.
Needles H.D. trousers
The Needles H.D. trousers are the calling card of the fashion cognoscenti thanks to their monstrous proportions and endless fabric iterations, which now includes this lightweight chino cloth.
Drake’s cotton flat front chino
Merging fine tailoring with a casual bent is no easy feat, but Drake’s does it with panache. Its flat front chino features Italian cotton twill, added side adjuster tabs, reinforced panels, and a French bearer which gives the front a cleaner drape and a more comfortable fit. The result is a pair of chinos that can just as easily play dress up as they can play rough.
Everlane performance chino
If you’re not ready to shell out for Theory’s Zaine pants, Everlane’s got a great alternative. Its performance chinos include four-way stretch and a roomy-but-tailored fit which translates to the perfect pants for activities—all for less than a hundred bucks.
Polo Ralph Lauren stretch chino pant
Not only do Ralph’s mainstay chinos come in all kind of fits and a rainbow of colors, they’re also blessed with a touch of stretch for comfort.
Carhartt WIP Master pant
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23 Best Chinos for Men in 2023: Smart, Sensible Pants To Help You Clean Up Real Nice