If you are on the lookout for a great pair of chinos I can recommend a number of places. In the mid range, places like M&S and Debenhams are a good bet. If you want to spend less, I’ve had some great chinos from Matalan, TU @ Sainsbury’s and George @ ASDA. This Bank holiday Sainsbury’s will be dropping its already low prices by a further 25%.
However, if you want a really fabulous pair of chinos I would recommend two of my favourite outfitters, Charles Tyrwhitt and Savile Row Company. You get the benefit of quality tailoring for your smart casual wear. But which company makes the better chino?
Charles Tyrwhitt and Savile Row Company are actually quite similar. CT like SRC began as a mail order company but now has located itself on Jermyn Street in order better to tap into the market for quality men’s tailoring.
Both companies offer a pretty wide range of products; in addition to the staple formal shirts, suits, and accessories they each offer casual wear and shoes as well. SRC will even sell you monogrammed pyjamas if you are in the market for some.
But for today we focus on their chino ranges. Which is better?
CT claims that the RRP for their chinos is £90; SRC £70. However, that price is almost always discounted. CT’s chinos currently retail for 44.95 but their clearance summer sale range can be found for as low as £24.95. SRC’s chinos are currently also on offer for £24.95 with free postage for orders over £35.
Advantage to SRC on value due to potential free postage.
Colours & Range
CT has a much wider range of chinos than SRC. In addition, they have just released their Autumn range which includes a set of 15 new colours in addition to those which are part of the summer clearance. SRC have a much narrower range of 6 colours. Each company offers chinos either in flat front or with a single pleat.
Advantage to CT on colours and range.
Each of these companies produces chinos with very high perceived quality. The fabrics are soft and yet durable. The stitching is high quality with company branding in the waistband. CT claims that its buttons are corozzo nut, engraved with the CT branding. SRC counters with buttons made of durable plastic which mimics but is more durable than mother of pearl. The words SAVILE ROW COMPANY are printed rather than engraved on each button.
The result is very similar, a subtle indication that one is wearing something that is a little bit more special than Debenhams fare. At least this is the case for anyone paying close enough attention to your buttons… One is certainly more likely to notice the SRC buttons, however.
Advantage neither. I think this one is a draw.
Clearly this is somewhat subjective based on my preferences and body shape and size. I evaluated chinos from the regular fit range. My aversion to slim fit trousers is well noted.
I require a 34 Long and was pleased to see that both company’s chinos fit me well and have pretty accurate measurements. Some of my chinos claim to be 36-inch waist but were in fact closer to 38! The CT chino is slightly closer fitting, with shallower pockets. The SRC is slightly looser with deeper pockets. They both interpret 34L to mean 34-inch waist and 34-inch inside leg, important for those of us with longer legs.
M&S, for example, opts for a 33-inch inside leg which can mean a trouser that is a smidgen shorter than ideal in my case. In contrast, both CT and SRC nail it on trouser length. These regular fit chinos in each case also avoid the excessive tapering of the cuff so that you end up with shape that is similar to a boot-cut. The CT chino has a slightly less tapered cuff, which I prefer.
On balance I prefer the slightly looser fit and deeper pockets of the SRC chino. The deeper pockets mean my hands can fall to their natural level when my hands are in my pocket. In the CT chino my hands reach the bottom of the pocket an inch or two before they fall to their natural level.
So which company makes the better chino? First, it is important to say there are no losers here. Each company makes a really great pair of chinos. I have one from each in the colours above and they are certainly a cut about other chinos in my collection from Debenhams, BHS and M&S, etc.
Your view on this question will surely be very much shaped by what you are looking for and what are your preferences and body shape, etc. However, in my view the SRC chino just edges it. The fit is a wee bit more to my liking, the pockets deeper, and the cost more competitive. Given that both chinos are recent additions to my wardrobe I’ll have to see whether my feelings change once I’ve done some more mileage in each one.
My feelings DID change after I’d done some mileage in each one. You can find that update in my 27 May 2015 post here