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The Best Chinos to Buy Now

Denim does the job, but you can't survive on jeans alone. Swap them out for chinos from our favorite brands.

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Chinos have been around for over 170 years. That’s longer than blue jeans. Originally known as khakis, a Hindustani reference to the sandy-colored cotton twill fabric, chinos as a term began to take hold during the Spanish-American War in the late 1800s. It’s derived from the Spanish word for ‘Chinese’ and is a shortened version of chinos pantalones or ‘Chinese pants.'

They originally featured slanted or on-seam side pockets, belt loops and a wide fit, and were introduced to militaries around the world before making their way to civilian society. Today every brand has a version of its own, from the ubiquitous and affordable to the esoteric.

When we’re not wearing jeans, we’re wearing chinos. The understudy to the classic blue jean may get more shine than actual understudies and may even outdo the star on occasion. It’s about as versatile and certainly as classic. Here are our picks for the brands making the best chinos right now.

Additional contribution from Evan Malachosky.

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Carhartt WIP
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For those unfamiliar, Carhartt WIP is the hub for upgraded Carhartt originals. As such, the fits are better, materials more pedestrian (in a good way), and colors less construction site. These Sid pants are cut from 8.6 oz cotton twill, feature bar tack stitching at high-stress points, slant pockets and a tapered fit through the leg.

Our Pick: Carhartt WIP Sid Pant

Uniqlo
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If you're looking for something a bit less stiff but still within the realm of very affordable, Uniqlo's chinos should be the pick. They're made from a blend of 97-percent cotton and 3-percent spandex (for stretch). With details like a lined waistband, natural nut button and a classic fit, combined with such an approachable price point, these are some of the best pound for pound.

Our Pick: Uniqlo Slim-Fit Chino Pants

Todd Snyder
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Okay, if you can't muster up the strength to peel your jeans off your body for more than a day, why not get a pair of chinos that have the details of the classic blue jean you've become emotionally dependent upon? Todd Snyder's chinos are just that. They come with riveted reinforcements, scooped hand pockets, rear patch pockets and the vestigial watch pocket, but are rendered in garment-dyed stretch twill.

Our Pick: Slim Fit 5-Pocket Chino

RRL
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RRL carefully remade a military issue pant British soldiers wore back in the 1940s. They're pre-washed for a faded, vintage look and fit straight through the leg. The pants are reinforced at the points most likely to rip or split, and their construction eases eventual fixes and alterations. Plus, there are plenty more chino pants to choose from on their site. 

Our Pick: RRL Officer Chino

Albam
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Founded in 2006, Albam is rooted in sensibility and timeless style. Since their inception, though, they've expanded their scope from just T-shirts, which they originally said took 12 months to make, to pants and other essential parts of a man's wardrobe. Their cotton twill trousers, which were made in Portugal, come with an elasticated waistband, 3-percent elastane throughout for flexibility, and a button fly.

Our Pick: Albam Twill Trouser

Wellen
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The "easy" in Wellen's Easy Pleated Chino pants comes from the elasticated waistband and subtle stretch throughout. Available in sizes XS through XL, they'll fit comfortability, without painful creasing. They've carried the "Easy" over to other styles, too, offering Easy Lounge Pants as well.

Our Pick: Wellen Easy Pleated Chino

Levi's
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Levi's doesn't just make jeans. In the hope of covering all bases, they've expanded beyond them to chinos, too. See the Levi'ss XX Chino Pants, for example, 98-percent cotton bottoms with a tapered leg.

Our Pick: Levi's XX Chino Pants

Taylor Stitch
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Taylor Stitch makes an assortment of high-quality, classic-looking chinos. They're durable, available at a damn fair price, and offered in the usual colors. And then there's this collaboration with Atelier & Repairs. Overstock units and deadstock fabric result in chinos with unique patching and pops of color.

Our Pick: Taylor Stitch x Ateliers & Repairs Chino

J. Crew
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The upgrade to J. Crew's 770 from Dickies' 574 is more than just numbers. J.Crew’s popular Stretch Chino goes a few steps further in quality with a lined waistband and chambray binding at the seams. Also, they come in the full spectrum of colors.

Our Pick: J. Crew 770 Straight Fit Chino

Studio Nicholson
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London's Studio Nicholson has been making men's basics — and beyond — since 2010. Their chinos, perhaps a not so subtle nod to Bills Khakis, boast an updated fit and a finer fabric. Plus, most pairs of theirs are tapered through the leg.

Our Pick: Studio Nicholson Bill Tapered Chino

Outerknown
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Although best known for feats of sustainability and board shorts, Outerknown also makes chinos. Quite nice ones at that. In fact, they make plenty of pants. Plus, their Fort Chino Pants, cut from garment-dyed organic cotton, come in three colors. 

Our Pick: Outerknown Fort Chino Pants

Runabout Goods
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Runabout Goods makes some of the best chinos around, regardless of price. Each detail is ruthlessly considered and there are a lot of them. The on-seam pockets are gently curved and bound for durability. The pocket bags are also self-bound, as is the fly, which uses melamine buttons. And as though the US-made nine-ounce cotton twill fabric isn't tough enough already, the pants are reinforced with bartack stitching and double-needle construction.

Our Pick: Runabout Goods Angler Khaki

Save Khaki
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If the reason you're getting out of your jeans is to get into something more comfortable, try Save Khaki's. They look just like regular chinos if you're not tucking in your shirt, but are as comfortable as a pair of sweats, thanks to the lightweight cotton construction. And they're all cotton, totally relaxed and made right here in the States. 

Our Pick: Save Khaki Light Twill Trouser

Bills Khakis
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Bills Khakis makes some damn fine khakis. It’s in the name after all. Designed with a double pleat for the brave/old school, 7.5-ounce cotton twill and Stateside production, Bill’s, unlike many chinos, are cut like dress trousers, meaning you can get them altered easily. 

Our Pick: Bills Khakis Hemmed M2

Dickies
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Admittedly built and marketed as a work pant, the Dickies line of chinos represent the quintessential pants. But don’t let their rough-and-ready connotation (work) limit you. They're made of tough, wrinkle-resistant poly-cotton twill in a classic straight fit and comes with a flat front and creased leg for a dressy appearance. The 574 will stand up to skating, manual labor and whatever outfit you have in mind for the day. 

Our Pick: Dickies 574 Work Pant

Alex Mill
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Founded in 2012 by Mickey Drexler, Alex Mill makes "uniforms for individuals," aka interesting tops, bottoms, and everything in-between. Their products aren't whimsical designer whiffs, though, rather classic shirts and chinos, primarily. Their Flat Front Pants are promising both for their quality and their look, which emphasizes a wider take on the traditional style.

Our PickAlex Mill Flat Front Pant

Drake's
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Impeccable tailoring and lowkey details make these Drake's chinos truly drool worthy. They're made in Italy and feature a mid-rise, a button fastening and a zip fly. 

Our Pick: Lovatt Cotton Twill Single Pleat Trousers

Dockers
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Dockers may occasionally be boring — look out for their collabs, though — but they oftentimes can't be beat. That is especially true if you're seeking a bargain. For what they are, most of Dockers' bottoms are a steal. Their Ultimate Chinos, made with fewer resources and less water, are a smart buy.

Our Pick: Dockers Ultimate Chinos 

Dawson Denim
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With a name like Dawson Denim one might assume jeans are their bread and butter. They are, but the brand's chinos are just as a good. Try the wide leg version cut from 8 oz WW2 era-inspired twill.

Our Pick: Dawson Denim Wide Leg Chinos

Universal Works
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Universal Works makes, well, universal basics. They mesh well together but also complement clothing you already own. Truthfully, you can't ask for much more from a brand. The best bottoms they sell are the classic Double Pleat Pants, a 100-percent cotton edition with a wider silhouette. 

Our Pick: Universal Works Double Pleat Pant

Everlane
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Modern basics brand Everlane, of course, makes a chino. In fact, there are a few on their site, each with varying levels of stretch and sportiness. The Performance Chino is constructed from 94-percent cotton and 6-percent elastane, ensuring stretch without sleekness.

Our Pick: Everlane The Performance Chino 

Madewell
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This brand's probably flown under your radar; written off as another stale mall stalwart. Madewell, however, has been bettering itself as of late. Its men's basics, bottoms, and footwear have certainly found their way to my closet. And I have few complaints. Try the Penn Slim Chinos for starters, classic, affordable pants available in a half-dozen colors.

Our Pick: Madewell Penn Slim Chinos

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