Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Debate – Round 2: Jeans vs. Chinos

Denim has been supreme for as long as most of us can remember. Adopted by casuals and creative professionals alike, it has managed to cross what may be one of the toughest thresholds – the office door.

Whether it’s a “dress down Friday,” or a “smart-casual” dress code (note: there are fewer phrases more hated than “smart-casual”), denim has been embraced. The issue is – when it comes to versatility there isn’t anything else to go to. Trousers? Too smart to be casual.

Enter the chino. Immediately we conjure an image of the American elite, playing croquet on the quad (insert another suitably prejudiced stereotype as appropriate). But honestly, it works. Made from strong cotton twill, this trouser has broken into the market and is going straight for the metaphorical jugular, the cornerstone of men’s fashion – denim.

Now available in a range of fits and colours the days of the red slacked elite are over. Interestingly, having become a preacher of the chino’s qualities, they’re also a lot comfier than the established alternative.

In summer, the lighter fabric serves to allow more circulation around the old proverbial and show a more sophisticated silhouette than some slim fitting denim. This, thanks to elastane, has a knack of turning our lower half into a pair of sausages if even a size slightly too snug is purchased. Denim is starting to sound a bit off putting suddenly.

Also, slant pockets mean no more square shouldered chaps – we all know that there are two looks when putting hands in jean pockets. The straight-armed “jam them in” which results in us looking like we’re enhancing our cleavage or (the horror) tucking the thumbs into the belt loops.

This all sounds rather scathing, so now to the rescue of the hallowed jean – it should be said there is good reason to stick to what we know. A slim fitting pair of indigo jeans (ideally selvedge) has the ability to look both casual and appropriate in all but the “business professional” workplaces.

The trick is, don’t err to the side of faded. If they are looking crisp, then jeans fulfil the criteria.

What do you think? On the one hand, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. But then again, on the other, no man wants to be a one trick pony (excuse the multiple clichés).


  1. Love this article, you get to a point where it becomes a big question as to which suits your current style. Look forward to more.
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