When to wear chinos (and when not to)

Paulina Kulczycki

If you read our journal regularly, you’ll know that it’s no secret that we love chinos. But even the biggest chino fan has to admit that, as smart as they may be, the trousers can become a fashion faux pas under certain circumstances. That’s why it’s important to first understand the features, style and proper fit of chinos in order to weigh up when to wear chinos (and when not to). So here’s your ultimate chino style guide to save you from future fashion faux pas!

How do we know when to wear chinos (and when not to)?

Features of the chino

When it comes to the features of any fashion item, there are always pros and cons. So let’s start with the many pros: chinos perfectly bridge the gap between suit trousers and casual pants. They are elegant yet casual. Their lightweight fabric is breathable, extremely comfortable and offers maximum freedom of movement. Moreover, chinos are resistant and can be combined in many ways – whether for business or leisure! And of course, the trousers come in a wide variety of colors and cuts. And it is precisely this range of chino styles that brings us to the possible cons.

If you choose your chino in a cut that’s far too wide or far too tight, in flashy colors or with decorative elements, then you’ve most likely got it wrong. To at least avoid the mistake of choosing the wrong fit, we’ve already written a detailed post on how the perfect pair of chinos should fit. You can read more about it here.

When it comes to style, our advice is: less is more. We recommend that you always go for a timeless design to make sure that your chinos will serve you throughout several seasons without going out of fashion. If in doubt, keep it simple rather than too frilly – so steer clear of side stripes and other decorative elements. Also, pick subtle colors like black, navy blue or cream to make your chinos a versatile basic. The Smart Chino made from Italian yarn by SANVT fulfills all the criteria that make chinos a timeless classic. Oh and did we mention that our chino is also sustainably and fairly produced?

Our Smart Chino is crafted in Portugal from a custom-developed elastic weave. Sustainable, fair and timeless.

When to wear chinos

Provided you choose your chinos in the right fit and minimalist design, you can wear them for (almost) any occasion: from business meetings and after-work drinks, to informal weddings and formal family gatherings, to exhibitions and dates. Depending on how you combine your pair of chinos, whether with a t-shirt and sneakers, with a polo shirt and loafers or with a button down shirt and Oxford shoes, possibly complemented by a blazer, the pants get a completely different look. In other words, you can wear chinos to any occasion where suit trousers would be overdressed and jeans underdressed. Read here why chinos are also the perfect summer pants.

Combine a pair of light chino pants with a simple white t-shirt and sneakers, and you get the perfect summer look!

When it’s better not to wear chinos

So the question of when not to wear chinos is answered by itself. For very formal or serious occasions, for example, where suit trousers are required, chinos might come across as too casual and informal. A little too nonchalant. On the other hand, for very relaxed events, such as barbecues with friends in the park, a pair of chinos might be too sophisticated. A bit preppy. But even then we are playing devil’s advocate a little because we believe at SANVT that the right chino, in the right combination and the right fit, always works. Of course, don’t take our words to the letter of the law – you might want to refrain from wearing chinos while exercising, swimming, or sleeping. Otherwise, you can’t really go wrong with a simple pair of chinos!

The Smart Chino from SANVT ensures the perfect fit and timeless design. You can’t go wrong with that!

As you can see, you don’t have to worry too much about when to wear chinos (and when not to). A minimalist, smartly styled chino with the ideal fit always looks good. Easy, right?