I’m going to go out on a limb and say it: the dominance of jeans in the casual pants arena is coming to an end. A new brigade of casual pant options is marching into town, led by the resurgent chino.
The popular cotton pant from the ’90s has been undergoing a revival over the past few years. You’ve probably noticed the bright greens and blues, moody burgundies, crisp whites and warm honey tones that are turning up in the stores. The old classic has been reinvented, with splashes of vivid colour and tapered or skinny leg cuts.
So if you’re sick of the tyranny of jeans, this is your opportunity. Explosions of colour are on the menu across the fashion world, and even in black Melbourne, the style conscious are brightening up their wardrobe as they look towards Spring.
Usually made from cotton blended with a stretchy synthetic fibre, the chino is great for the warm Aussie climate and, teamed with a polo, can give you a smart look for a BBQ or casual Friday. Building on a growing trend from last year, give them a casual edge by pegging the cuff and wearing with a boat shoe.
Chinos are the front runner of the jeans alternatives, but there are some other old favourites that can be thrown into the mix. Khakis are also great for smart casual wear. They’re usually 100 per cent cotton and a little heavier in fabric so better for cooler climes. They too come in a range of colours, but as the name suggests, most commonly in camel and warm golden browns or beige and lighter tones. Take them on more conservative outings, such as a Sunday lunch with the in-laws.
On the other hand, cargos are a great option for adding a sense of youthfulness to your look with their fun but masculine style. They’re more casual and best worn with a t-shirt or sweater, and sneakers or thongs.
Or if a more formal look is what you’re after, the urban dress pant is similar to the traditional suit pant but with more shape and colour. They’re another viable alternative, and have the versatility to be worn with sport coats, sweaters and patterned shirts.
When choosing any pair of pants, there are four aspects of fit that you need to take into account:
Length: Little or no break between the cuff and shoe, which means the pants should cover the top of your shoe when you’re standing, without excess fabric pooling around the ankles.
Waist: The waist should fit comfortably; if you can’t easily fit two fingers in the waistband they’re too tight. But no more than two â€“ it’s a myth that wearing baggy will make you look thinner.
Rise: The rise is the distance from the top button to your crotch. Nappies are not a good look on a grown man, so ensure the crotch does not hang any lower than it has to.
Seat: The seat should fit so that you can tell you have a butt, yet stop short of being so tight that you can taste the fabric!
Colour, colour, colour will be the trend for Spring/ Summer 2011. With the iron fist reign of jeans coming to an end, it’s time to add a colourful chino or a new style of bottom to your collection.
Chris Byrne is editor of men’s style website www.man-brand.com.au
Image courtesy of Country Road