AskMen Selects: Levi’s XX Chino
Levi’s Set Out to Remake the Chino … But Did It Work?
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I know what you’re probably thinking: “How can another pair of khakis be all that different than the ones before it?” Well, for starters, don’t call them khakis. Khaki is a color, chino is a pant — and these are chinos. Whereas these may not look too different at first glance, the fit and feel is a lot different than most chinos you’re going to find out there.
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The Levi’s XX Chinos are soft with a bit of stretch, but venture nowhere near jogger territory. (Listen, we all love a good jogger, but it has a time and place.) Instead these just feel like one of the most comfortable pairs of pants — that aren’t jeans — I have had on in a while.
Most days of the week, I’m a jeans guy (insert shameless Levi’s 501 selvedge plug here) but on occasion, I mix it up with a pair of easy chinos. Since I live my best life in jeans, I still want my chinos to be comfortable AF. That said, I’m of the camp that doesn’t really believe in five pocket “chinos” or denim “colored” by anything other than indigo. Sure, they fit the bill for some, but for me? If I’m wearing five pockets, I want them to be good ole’ fashioned blue jeans. Therefore, if I choose to go with twill, it better be in true chino form.
Levi’s XX Chino
From $78 at Levi.com
The Review: Levi’s XX Chino
So as I ventured into the seemingly exclusive, yet open-to-the-public Levi’s Haus Miami to grab what I was told would become my new favorite pair of pants, I was a bit skeptical.
“Levi’s does jeans,” I thought to myself. “I love the idea of it all, but … Levi’s does jeans.”
Why is a pair of chinos from the OG denim brand going to break the mold of the monotonous khaki pant? I mean, chinos. To some, a pair of pants is a pair of pants, but for me, pants are my whole reason for waking up in the morning (well, at least my reason to get paid). My literal job is to track down, test out and tell you all about great clothes I find.
So I was still wondering what was about to make these new chinos so special. Then, I actually got my hands on them. These were some of the softest chinos my fingers had felt in a while — at least, at the price point of under $90.
OK, but that’s just how they feel amongst all the other Levi’s stuff on the rack. I needed to try them on for a real test. Off to the fitting room.
Aside from needing to size up (and that’s probably on me thanks to my winter weight) they felt just about perfect — not kidding. I was very tempted to go for the super saturated “Jade Blue” or the ever so slightly faded “Rose Tan” (which I anticipate being a very popular color for the brand) but I opted for the straight cropped pant in navy, since I like to remain fairly classic in my color choice while not missing out on all the fun with my fit.
The two percent elastane stretch added a perfect bit of movement to an otherwise classic cotton pant, but the lower rise and the higher hemline made these anything but that basic pair you go for on the first day of your college internship because you think that’s what “office people” wear.
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Sure, these pants would work for your day job (it’s not a regular office, it’s a cool office) but Levi’s set out to show us that these pants weren’t designed for your usual 9-5, as shown by the brands global ambassador for the style, Khalid who introduced the world to what will surely be what the cool kids will be wearing soon.
What Stood Out: Great Cuts, Colors and Cost
On-Trend Fits: Aside from a few obscure brands it’s hard to find a cropped fit that isn’t made on the cheap or, worse, made to simply be expensive. No, I’m not talking capri pants, I’m talking a modern take on what guys are wearing these days — an ankle grazing style that looks cool and relaxed no matter how you style it. I found that with the Levi’s XX Chino Straight Cropped Pants.
If that’s not your speed, the Slim Taper is a solid option for those who appreciate a more skinny fit. Personally, I don’t have the ass and thighs for such a silhouette (by that I mean I have substantial ass and thighs) so if I hadn’t gone cropped, I would have prefered a more classic iteration of a slim style and grabbed the Standard Tapered.
Garment-Dyed Colors: With a traditional khaki and navy option for the guys who like to kick it more old school, Levi’s also included a few neutral alternatives with black, olive and steel gray, plus it threw in some colors that favor the bold with the aforementioned jade blue and rose tan.
If my descriptive language around these chino colors scares you a bit, don’t let it. These colors manage to remain approachable and wearable, which can’t always be said for colored pants — especially pink.
Competitive Price: It has to be said that these pants come in around that sweet spot that feels like it’s not too high, but not too low either. Just where you want it to be to know that you’re paying for quality, but not overpaying for a designer name.
For somewhere between $78 and $88, depending on the style, you can get a pair of pants that look great and fit well and warrant complements such as: “Those pants might be the best looking pair of pants you have ever had on in your life.” Or something like that — I’m paraphrasing.
The Verdict: These Almost Replace My Jeans … Almost
Jeans will always and forever be the number one go to pants for guys and gals alike. But, for someone like me who is eager to switch it up, but less eager to lose that comfortable feeling, these pants are a go.
Take this from the guy who wears pants for a living (seriously, it’s my job to know these things). Comfortable and suitable for any situation casual or corporate, the well curated selection of Levi’s XX Chinos is simple, strong and sure to have some serious staying power.
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