J.Crew Essential Chino In Urban Slim Fit

— Tue, 29th June 2010 —

Goin’ back to the khakis, this latest installment of “Hands On” is partially a reaction to the disconcertingly tight fit of those Dockers’ ankle chinos for Urban Outfitters, which our pal Zeph reviewed earlier this month. There must be a happy medium between ballooning cubicle khakis and those circulation killers, we thought. Contributor Paul Khareyn set out to prove it.

These days, most khakis sold by mass retailers like the GAP and Banana Republic resemble potato sacks with zippers and pockets. On the opposite side of the pendulum are leggings disguised as khakis (those Dockers for Urban Outfitters).

I’ve only recently begun to concentrate on fit and silhouette. I would say that clothing that’s fitted, without being tight, looks great on most men, and gives them a more polished and refined look — they no longer look like big billowy creatures. I have had the unfortunate experience of purchasing some potato sack pants from the GAP that were huge, especially in the seat, which creates that sagging rear look.

Thankfully, J.Crew has designed a khaki that fills the void, and, just as important, at the reasonable price of $65.00. The khaki I’m referring to is the Essential Chino in Urban Slim Fit. The khaki is the ideal cut — not too tight, nor too loose. It’s 100% brushed cotton with a medium rise, sitting slightly above the hip bones. The pockets are on seam; the fly closure is a zip fly with a button. (I would have preferred a tab closure as opposed to the button, but, well, beggars can’t always be choosy.) The pants come in various lengths, from 26 to 36. The waist is true to size — I wear a 28 and got a 28, which fit well. I tried the 29, but it was too big. I would suggest sticking with the Khaki and British Khaki Color; the Graphite looks washed out and is prone to fading.

Overall, I’d say that this is a three season chino (summer, spring and fall). They’re perfect for the office because of their clean silhouette, and, as they pair nicely with oxfords for work and on the weekend, they are a great substitute for denim and work nicely with a driving shoe. I am not sure they are dressy enough — due to the lack of a tab closure — for an evening clean cut and slim silhouette. Either way, I would strongly recommend these chinos.

Words and pictures by Paul Khareyn

  1. I bought those last year.
    GREAT chinos…for about 3 months.
    They streeeeeeeetch out a full couple sizes with repeated wear.
    I guess I wore them too much.

  2. leave work and measure now (my ankles are more important than your income)

    what type of shoes are in that picture?

  3. Any opinions on this compared to the Milano fit Brooks Brothers khakis?

  4. I actually went to try on the Milano fit, after I heard it was a slimmer fitting khaki from Brooks Brothers. However, I found the seat to be too big and the thigh too wide This may in part be due to the fact that the smallest size is a 30.

  5. Winston – The Brooks Milano fit (on-sale for varying prices in Brook’s Manhattan shops – mine were $45, a friend paid $50) is comparable – I wear 30×30 in both the J.Crew chino and Brooks Milano. I have “athletic” thighs (read musclular-not slim) and Brook’s pants fit close to the skin, with not a lot of bagging. Though they don’t look like spandex. I’ve received compliments on the cut/fit. Take note that the summer weight is light, the standard trouser weight is closer to a true chino. The tangerine-y color is a nice touch for summer; pair with a navy belt, white oxford and chocolate driving moc and you can’t go wrong.

  6. Not sure if folks are aware. . . but there’s a J Crew Sample Sale on through this week at Clothingline, 261 W 36th Street
    (between 7th & 8th Ave), 2nd Floor. Not too much men’s stuff, but I picked up some great summer shirts.
    If memory serves me correctly, prices were……..
    $35 for casual shirts and sweaters,
    $50/2 for $90 for Thomas Mason for J. Crew shirts (limited selection) and
    $50/2 for $90 for denim and casual pants.
    There is also a selection of shorts and swim shorts in the $35 range. Rubber flip flops are $10, and leather flip flops, a great deal, are $20
    Oxfords were $65 and boots were $120.


  7. Thanks for the note David. I have three pairs of the Milanos from the regular line, so I wanted to see how they compared to J. Crew ones. I’m not a big guy either 5’5″ 150lbs, and 31 waist in Brooks Brothers and the thighs stick to me too, to the point where you can see the outline of my wallet. The Brooks Brothers near me happen to have my size in the pink chinos so I picked up a pair. Was also thinking about the tangerine, but will try to keep it simple for now.

    David (Winston)

  8. Whoops. Last post was mine. Not sure why I wrote David in the Name section.

  9. Anontapous, to answer your questions:

    1. Width at hem = 14 inches
    2. Shoes are a Penny Loafer from Banana Republic

  10. Good post. I did try those. I brought them home and returned them. I found them to be too small around the calf. The Ralph Lauren Rubgy VINTAGE CHINO UNIVERSITY PANT was just right!.. I would prefer the label was J.Crew, but there is no visible label.

  11. Good heads up the J.Crew urban slim fit. I have the hardest time getting clothes, my waist is about 27-28 inches…so yes, the tailor is my good friend (5’8, 137 lbs- personal trainer -very fit). I also love Patagonia (their Duck Pants are great chinos)and their size 28 x 30 fits perfect without a visit to the tailor…maybe these J.Crew ones will be as good for me. I find that most J.Crew retail stores don’t stock sizes belie a 30 which means I have to order online…

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