There are certain clothing items you will find in practically every wardrobe regardless of the class or age of a person. Chinos are such an item. You will find them featured in practically every man’s wardrobe and many women’s. The style will vary considerably, but they will still be recognisable as chinos.
A Brief History of Chinos
They are an item of clothing that has been with us far longer than many people realise. They are older even than jeans, which did not become available until 1872.
As with so many items of clothing that have remained popular for many years chinos were first worn by the military. They were first used in India in the Punjab.
British soldiers fighting there in the 1840s were still dressed in red and white. This made them a fairly easy target on any battleground, but in the Punjab, they really stood out. The form of combat they were involved in made their bright uniform especially inappropriate. After heavy losses, the soldiers dyed their uniforms to match the colour of the dust found in the area. The Urdu word of dust is Khaki, so the uniforms came to be known as khakis.
Over time, the military issued neutral coloured uniforms made from heavy cotton to all troops in hot climates. If you look at a pair of military trousers from that era, you will be very struck by how familiar they look and how much like modern chinos they look.
It is Americans we really have to thank for mens classic chinos. They are the ones that changed the cut, added the pleats and the sloped pocket on each side with the slit pocket at the back. Their GIs made these trousers popular.
Over time, people changed the cut, so it appealed to more people, but they tended to stick with the neutral colour. At this point, they were mainly made in China and people called civilian khakis chinos to distinguish them from military uniforms. Over time, fashion designers made them in a huge range of colours. However, beige or taupe chinos are by far the most popular colour, even today.
Austin Reed sells a fantastic range of mens classic chinos . The quality is excellent, but the price is still competitive.