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Exploring the
Origins and Characteristics

Chino Trousers

Decemeber 2023
Posted by Stephen J. Russell

Chino trousers, often referred to as khakis, have long been a timeless and versatile staple in men's fashion, with a history dating back over a century.

The term "Chino" is not just a random label;

it carries a fascinating historical background and is closely tied to the garment's distinctive features.

At its core, a classic Chino is a straightforward men's trouser crafted from "Twill," a cotton fabric also commonly found in jeans and denim. The twill fabric's inherent lightness makes Chinos ideal for warmer temperatures, providing a comfortable and breathable option for various occasions.

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Origin in the Philippines

The first theory traces the name "Chino" back to the Philippines during the 19th century, a time of Spanish colonial rule. Members of the army in the Philippines favored trousers made from twill, a fabric with Chinese roots. As twill was primarily imported from China, the Spanish word for "Chinese," which is "Chino," became a natural moniker for these trousers. Over time, this nickname evolved into the commonly accepted term.

"Roasted" and Khaki Color

The second theory suggests that the term "Chino" originates from the South American Spanish word for "roasted," derived from Persian, alluding to the typical khaki color associated with these trousers. This theory highlights the color's significance rather than the fabric's origin.

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Chinos are renowned for their lightweight twill fabric, offering breathability and a pleasant cooling effect, making them perfect for warmer days.


The Chino cut is typically casual, featuring a tapered design with a wider fit at the thighs and hips and narrowing down towards the ankles.


A distinctive characteristic of Chinos is the absence of pleats, a feature retained from their historical origins. This absence allows for easy rolling up of the trousers for a classic look.