Chino Trousers
The history behind the wardrobe stalwart.

A wardrobe stalwart for decades, most are acquainted with chino trousers.
Traditionally cut to a slim-fit silhouette with a flattering mid-rise waist (which sits slightly lower than more formal styles), chinos strike an equilibrium between refined and casual dressing, and this may be the reason for their longevity, however, the history behind the trouser style is far more utilitarian.

First worn in the 19th century by American soldiers stationed in the Philippines during the Spanish-American war, chinos were born out of pure function – soldiers needed moveable, yet enduring trousers and sourced Chinese cotton-twill, which lead to their name ‘chino’ meaning ‘Chinese’ in Spanish.

Eventually, they were adopted by labourers in the USA, before becoming a staple of everyday wear. ‘Preppy’ is a term that’s often applied to them due to their association with an East Coast, Ivy League aesthetic, however, the likes of James Dean and Steve McQueen proved there to be a more insurgent appeal to the trouser style.

In the present day, chino trousers still hold ‘preppy’ appeal, however, their lower waistband and moveable fit, allows for adaptability to varied styles and situations. Chinos have also been adapted and reworked contemporarily – our Sports Linen Chinos are an apt example, the drawstring waistband and cool linen composition means the sit more languidly on the body. But if you’re struggling to find a way to wear chino trousers, here are a few ways to style them:

Undeniably ‘preppy’, the paradigm of wearing chino trousers is with a crisp oxford shirt, tucked in and teamed with polished lace-ups. However, for a more modern feel, try switching out a cotton oxford shirt for a linen shirt (untucked) and lace-ups for rivieras in the warmer seasons.

A casual manner to wear chino trousers is with a T-shirt – it should be well-fitted for a balanced silhouette and once again tucked into the trousers. Our Sport Linen Chinos are a great option for a truly nonchalant, yet refined way of dressing.

If you’re big on retro-dressing a Camp Collar Shirt is ideal. A vintage staple itself, a camp collar shirt will lend your look a sense of 1950s cool.

An uncomplicated way to revive a classic piece is with a fresh fabrication, and our Indigo Tencel Chinos does just that. The lightweight, sustainable Tencel resembles chambray and so, is an urbane alternative to denim.

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