How should Chinos fit?

SANVT Journal

Are you a fan of Chinos? We are. The versatile Chino trouser offers an elegant and comfortable alternative to jeans. You can wear them in almost any kind of setting or season and they look great.

That’s why more and more people are turning to Chinos as their go-to Trouser. They just make sense. But how should Chinos fit?
Here’s a quick summary on how Chinos should fit:

  • Classic and slim fit are the two main options (avoid skinny fit)
  • The slim fit is recommended: it’s dynamic and modern
  • A belt isn’t necessarily needed with a good fit around the waist
  • Pay attention to fit and space around hips, thighs, calves, and ankles
  • Avoid a fit that is too tight or restrictive – especially in hotter weather
  • A little bit of length break tends to be a good thing (turn-up optional).

Classic vs. Slim fit vs. Skinny fit

With Chinos there are generally two main sizing options: classic and slim fit. A classic fit is wider with more leg room and a barely tapered leg opening.
Slim, as the name suggests, is slimmer and more fitted around the thigh and hips – with more tapering through the leg. While a classic fit Chino is more… classic, a slimmer fit Chino is certainly more modern. And, we think, more elegant too.

Skinny fit Chinos are available, of course, but we advise against this option as a bit of a fashion faux-pas. This is also a question of comfort: with Chinos you need to have some space to move around in. With a skinny fit – even if you like the look – you’re going to get uncomfortable, especially in hotter conditions.

The Smart Chino from SANVT.

Detailed Fit Advice:

That’s the overall view on fit. But how should the Chino combine with your shape and body? Here’s some more on this and a few things to check when trying Chinos on: 

  • Waist– If the waist fits perfectly, you won’t need a belt to hold your Chinos up, and you won’t need to undo the button after overindulging. Remember: just because most Chinos have belt loops there is no reason that you must use one.

  • Hips– Try to avoid too much excess material around the rear- but make sure you can bend over without tearing a seam!

  • Back-Rise– Trouser rise is tough to alter, so be sure your Chinos fit well in the seat and crotch before you buy them. Try to avoid super low-rise Chinos, as they only flatter men with very long legs.

  • Thighs– You want a close fit without feeling any sort of restriction in movement – for a modern fit, definitely go for slim over a classic. Just make sure there’s enough room to move around in comfortably.

  • Calves– If you can’t put a sock on and pull it all the way up without taking your trousers off, the Chinos are probably too tight in the calves.
  • Ankle– those with slender ankles should go for more taper, especially if you like the no break look. Those with bigger ankles, and bigger men in general, will look good with less taper below the knee.
  • Summer: There’s one Golden Rule here (with waist, hips, thighs, calves & ankles): avoid anything that’s too tight or feels a bit too restrictive.

Length – and should you turn-up a Chino?

With length, it all depends on how much break you want, but we think everyone looks good with a slight break. Shorter men look great with no break at all.

Which brings us to an important question: Should you turn-up a Chino? Well, thanks to their lighter fabric, typically cotton-twill Chinos lend themselves to a roll up – but in the end it is up to you. But if you are rather short, remember that cuffing can make your legs look even shorter…

How much to roll up? Only roll them once or twice up on the hem so they end at the ankle. Anything else looks like you’re going wading. And If you’re wearing them unrolled, the hem should hit the top of your shoes.

So, that’s the SANVT view on how a Chino should fit. Bear in mind there’s always some subjectivity but if you’re in agreement with our discourse on how a Chino should fit then take a look at our latest garment release: The Smart Chino. You can find more information about our special fits here.  

The Smart Chino is a luxury slim-fit Chino full of contemporary designs and touches and fairly made in the EU from the finest fabrics. Why not take a look?

If you need styling tips for your chino take a look at this article. Also find out here why chinos are the perfect trouser for summer.

Photos by Pedro Afonso