Update: Who Makes Better Chinos? @ctshirts v @savilerowco

2 years ago I posted a comparison of chinos by Savile Row Co and Charles Tyrwhitt and decided that by a narrow margin the SRC chino was better.  You can find the original post here.

However, I  went on to buy both pairs of the chinos that I was comparing so I am in a position after 2 years of ownership to see whether it is  worth revisiting the issue after 2 years of wear, laundering and experience.

So do I still stand by my original assessment?  In a word, No.  

I look back now on my original assessment with a little bit of surprise.  Considering the chinos as potential objects for wear that could be subjected to a rigorous and objective assessment does not tell you how you will feel about an item of clothing after you have worn it over a number of years.

In this case I have come to love my Tyrwitt chinos more and more over the years.  In the case of the SRC pair I’ve come to love it less in the same period.  Perhaps the greatest indicator of this can be found in the following fact.  Following up that initial Tyrwhitt chino I’ve added a further 4 pairs to my collection and a couple of pairs of moleskins to boot.  In the same period I have not added a single further pair from SRC.

So what’s so special about the Tyrwhitt chinos?  Where to begin?.  First, I love the fit. Tyrwhitt’s chinos and moleskins in a classic fit in 34 wait and 34 length seem tailor made for my body shape and dimensions. They felt a little too snug to begin with, but after a little bit of wear they now fit me even better than they did initially. In contrast the SRC chinos felt a better fit initially, but now they feel slightly too loose.

Then there is the perception of quality. The SRC chino has worn well over the last 2 years, but the Tyrwhitt chino has hardly worn at all; it feels pretty much as fresh as it did when I bought it in 2013.

Perhaps the thing I appreciate most is the waistband.  The Tyrwhitt waistband is slightly wider than most other trousers I own, and to me looks just right.  But much more significantly, every other pair of chinos I own has a horizontal crease running through the waistband where the trousers flex around the waist.

None of my Tyrwhitt chinos seem susceptible to this phenomenon.  Something about the construction of the waistband means that it doesn’t fold over upon itself. 

Then there is the flexibility. Chinos are the ultimate In Between Trousers.  They can be dressed up or down; they are equally at home paired with polos and sandals as they are with a formal shirt, tie and blazer.  Most of my other chinos lean to one side or the other.  Some are primarily dress down chinos, such as those from Gant, for example. The SRC is alone in being primarily a dress up chino; it never seems entirely a good fit with polos or T-shirts.  However the Tyrwhitt chinos seem to work just as well in either direction.

All my Tyrwitt chinos and moleskins are from their classic fit range, though they also stock slim fit and extra slim fits, for those so inclined.  I also prefer the single pleat chinos to the flat fronts.

On those occasions that you want to dress up your chinos the single pleats can be ironed to create a sharp crease from hem to waistband, running through the pleat. However, for my moleskins I prefer flat fronts. Since moleskin is a bulkier fabric it’s better not to add to the visual bulk by having the single pleat. In any case, the recent Tyrwitt moleskins are only available in flat fronts.

In short, I’m a huge fan of Tyrwhitt’s casual trouser range.  They are now my default option for chinos.  My most recent purchase is a pair in chalk, which I haven’t yet got round to wearing but looking forward to do so.  They might finally be a worthy successor Replacing an Old Favourite pair of trousers that I posted about in August 2013.

It just goes to show, that sometimes an initial impressions is not enough.  Like the old proverb says, you never know someone until you’ve lived with them (or walked a mile in their shoes).

If you’re looking for a great pair of chinos head straight to Charles Tyrwhitt.  Tell ’em I sent you.  You can buy 2 pairs for £70 and they’re worth every penny.

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