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Thread: Chinos vs 5 Pocket Twills

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    Chinos vs 5 Pocket Twills

    Mostly I thought this potentially may make for an interesting discussion?

    Chinos: Similar/same cut as most dress trousers, but made of different fabric that makes them not true "dress" appropriate. That sticks them squarely in the business casual to casual arena.
    5 Pocket Twill: Same fabric as chinos, only real differences being pocket style, and closure style. Generally considered firmly casual.

    Back story to my inquiry is that I prefer 5 pockets over chinos. Due to my natural build, plus years are pedal biking as for my hobby (read obsession) racing motorbikes, I'm very much a member of team thunder thighs. Nearly all trouser cut pants with slash pockets I've worn give me issues. Unless they are laughably baggy through the seat and thighs, the pockets tend to pull open instead of lie flat. However, the J pocket style on 5 pockets don't give me that issue. With suit trousers I'm willing to drop a little money to get enough altering done to alleviate the problem. Plus, a jacket covers the pocket opening enough to hide any issue. But I don't wear suits or jackets that often. My work place is rather casual, basically the only rules are no blue jeans or T's, so my 5 pockets suit my needs fine. No real need for chinos in my closet. I'm really just interested in hearing the other takes on the issue.

    My question for consideration is this: In terms of situational wear-ability, if made from the same fabrics, and assuming the leg profile is cut the same, how different really are chinos from 5 pocket twill pants?
    In the upper casual into the business casual spectrum, when you'd consider chinos acceptable, are 5 pockets able to be subbed in all the same situations? Where is the proverbial line in the sand, if it exists, separating the two?

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    5-pockets are really only more casual than "dressy" chinos. If you're comparing to soft-wash, uncreased chinos, I'd consider them interchangeable with the only exception being if you have a "business casual" dress code at work that explicitly allows chinos and soft-wash is deemed "nice enough" by management.

    if you're comparing to creased chinos in a crisp fabric, that's different. Nice chinos are acceptable as a "mildly dressy" option in a lot of business casual environments where 5-pockets probably wouldn't fly. Nice chinos also pair better with jackets and would be more acceptable in dressy restaurants and events.

    I personally don't own any "dressy" chinos (and I work somewhere that shorts and flip flops is perfectly acceptable) so for me chinos and 5-pocket twills are interchangeable.

    This will depend somewhat on where you live, though. I live in the Pacific Northwest where it's extremely casual. If you live somewhere that's less laid back, casual chinos might be more acceptable in more places than 5-pocket twills. Still, I probably wouldn't wear casual chinos if 5-pocket twills weren't appropriate.
    Last edited by dpark; January 29th, 2018 at 11:33 AM.

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    Super Moderator LesserBlackDog's Avatar
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    I respectfully disagree that 5 pocket pants and chinos are interchangeable. Maybe it's because I live in the land of Carhartts and Mountain Khakis, but to me a 5 pocket pant is a derivation of workwear and very much projects a workwear/outdoor wear image, whereas even the most casual, washed, uncreased chinos still read as office wear.

    I am in court almost daily and generally wear suits or other wool dress trousers, but I do occasionally wear uncreased chinos with a casual sportcoat and OCBD. I would not do the same with a pair of 5 pocket pants.
    Ben

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    A lot depends on fabric and fit. Five pockets in a crisp chino material and a tailored fit are far different than five pockets in a rugged material or a Carhartt baggy work fit.

    Frankly chinos are not a derivative of dress or office clothes either. They’re a derivative of military active wear. They’re essentially early fatigues.

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    Super Moderator LesserBlackDog's Avatar
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    And button-down oxford shirts are derivative of sports active wear and are essentially early sports jerseys. But they still read as office wear and are worn as such.

    A lot of what reads as office appropriate or not simply boils down to long-ingrained notions of class distinction. Pursuits that were endemic among the upper and middle classes - such as, traditionally, military service, certain forms of sport, attendance of Ivy League schools, among other things - have influenced what we perceive today as white collar or office appropriate attire. In fact what we consider today to be the archetype of office wear - the business suit - actually originated in the UK as the lounge suit - the more relaxed, informal attire worn by the landed gentry at their country estates. Today's business clothes are descended from the casual clothes of yesterday's elite.

    Five pocket pants - with their rivets and reinforced stitching and patch pockets - are derived from blue collar workwear, which despite its current popularity has yet to be integrated into the average person's idea of what constitutes office attire.

    Five pocket pants are casual pants, period. Chinos, on the other hand, are basically the definition of business casual. They are not interchangeable.
    Ben

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    5 pocket pants are basically jeans. They are interchangeable with jeans. Chinos range in formality from cotton dress pants to a step above jeans.

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    Varsity Member Vic's Avatar
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    It really all depends on where you live, the social conventions of the area, and your industry. As another denizen of the PNW, I view chinos, such as those by Bonobos, to be slight more dressier than my 5-pocket cotton-twill trousers, which are dressier than 5-pocket jeans regardless of their wash.

    -Vic
    "It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness, that is life." - Jean-Luc Picard

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    I think chinos are far more versatile!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryn View Post
    5 pocket pants are basically jeans. They are interchangeable with jeans. Chinos range in formality from cotton dress pants to a step above jeans.
    One of the reasons I don't wear sport coats with denim jeans is due to the patch back pockets (not sure if that's the proper term). The back pockets of dress pants and chinos are more like invisible, slit pockets. This is probably the reason I will never own a 5-pocket because chinos are more versatile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3piece View Post
    One of the reasons I don't wear sport coats with denim jeans is due to the patch back pockets (not sure if that's the proper term). The back pockets of dress pants and chinos are more like invisible, slit pockets. This is probably the reason I will never own a 5-pocket because chinos are more versatile.
    why can't you wear a sportcoat with patch pockets on your pants...?

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