Chinos have in recent years become a key component in men’s wardrobes, especially in spring & summer thanks to their versatility. The right pair of chinos, however, slot in under a blazer and shirt just as well as they do under a plain white T-shirt or a grey-marl sweatshirt. They have a sleekness that makes them a touch smarter than jeans, thanks to their inconspicuous set-in pockets, and the fact that they’re a solid colour, with no fade lines.
The versatility of chinos can also lead to confusion on how best to outfit them, so here’s a some suggestions……
MIX WITH DENIM
This combination of two quite different shades and textures of blue reveals a lot about what counts when a man is putting together an outfit. The fact that the rough denim is so different from the smoother blue trousers gives it almost as much contrast as if it were a different colour altogether. In this case, the denim is worn, slightly unexpectedly, on the top half, and is designed to hint at the style of traditional Western shirts with the yoke extending down over the front of each shoulder. The navy trousers, however, are dark enough to look quite formal and the effect is to make this a fine example of the smart-casual look, appropriate for a weekend lunch or a casual dinner.
For those summer days when half the office is away on holiday, and the rest of the office is thinking about going on holiday, a casual outfit dressed up with a soft-shouldered jacket should hit the spot. Carry the jacket over your shoulder while suffering the heat during your commute, relaxed in the knowledge that white shirts conceal sweat marks, and rely on the fact that if you do need to sharpen up your appearance the jacket will render you ready for a meeting or a last-minute dinner reservation. The trousers, white sneakers and sunglasses nail the look that exists between being presentable and being casual.
PAIR WITH WHITE
The famous Pitti wall, a spot at the biannual Florentine trade show where the Peacocks of the menswear industry gather each January and June to display their new plumage, is just the place to debut chinos that bear prison-garb arrows or white ankle hoops. Looking beyond the eye-catching details we’re presented with three pairs of chinos,above, that are in ideal shades of khaki and have an air of casual sophistication, thanks to the box-fresh white sneakers and the equally dazzling T-shirts and shirt. The overall effect is simple, relaxed and clean, and provides a blueprint for the casual summer look.
When it comes to clothes, linen is synonymous with summer. In this case, it’s worn as an unstructured oatmeal-coloured jacket with enough texture to look relaxed, over a starkly white shirt and stone-coloured chinos. The effect is an elegant take on continental European style and combines comfort with sophistication. A similar look can be replicated for colder months – simply replace the linen jacket with something in tweed, or even a chunky-knit sweater for more casual occasions.