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Men's Wardrobe Essential: 5-Pocket Twill Pants

If chinos and jeans had a baby

Here at SG HQ, we love a 5-pocket twill pant. Why? Well, for a lot of the same reasons we like chinos. Twill pants dress up a guy’s outfit without having to do any more work than pulling on jeans. And the kicker is that they’re (generally) cut the same as your favorite pair of denim. If you close your eyes, you might even forget you’re not wearing your jeans.

That’s why Style Girlfriend includes a 5-pocket twill pant in the “men’s wardrobe essentials” canon.

If you’re new to this jeans-adjacent pant, read on. We’re answering all your questions below.

What are twill pants?

Twill refers to the diagonal pattern in which cloth is often woven. According to Our Everyday Life, “a fabric is twilled when two or more vertical threads—the warp threads—cross over two or more horizontal weft threads at a time. The result is a textile featuring a distinctively slanted pattern with a ribbed texture (known as wales).”

Denim, then, is a specific kind of cotton twill fabric. Chinos, too, are typically constructed from a cotton or cotton-blend twill. So denim jeans and chino pants are technically twill pants. But those aren’t the twill pants we’re talking about here.

So…that’s not actually super helpful, is it!

Okay, let’s try again. What’s actually the difference between jeans, chinos, and the 5-pocket twill pants? Even though they’re all cut from the same cloth (as it were), there are distinct differences that make them easy to tell apart.

What do twill pants look like?

left to right: chinos, 5-pocket twill pants, jeans

On the left is a pair of chinos. In the middle is a pair of 5-pocket twill pants. And on the right? A pair of jeans (duh).

So, you can see that the twill pants and jeans are cut similarly—with J-shaped pockets and a button fly. The chinos, on the other hand, feature more formal side slash pockets, a flat front, and a button tab at the waist. Both can sport either a zip or button fly (read a surprisingly intense debate between the two methods here).

What you perhaps can’t see and will just have to take my word for, is that the twill pants fabric is a bit rougher, and feels more like denim. The chino pants fabric, on the other hand, feels smoother and more soft than either the twill or denim.

It’s a lot, I know. Look, even hypebeasts get confused. Don’t worry, becoming a pants expert is not what is expected of you here.

Ultimately, you can think of 5-pocket twill pants as a type of jeans that come in different colors.

How 5-pocket twill pants should fit

Because 5-pocket pants are so similar to jeans, the same rules apply for fit. They ought to be fitted, not skin tight and sit on your waist without a belt’s help. Nothing against a belt as a fashion statement, of course, but if you need a belt, it’s time to go down a size.

So, how tight is too tight?

Consider this tip from The Essential Man for ensuring a good fit:

Stand relaxed and pinch the fabric around your thigh horizontally between your thumb and forefinger. You want to pinch around a finger tip worth (.5”-1”) of fabric. Any less, it’s too tight. Anymore, it’s a bit too baggy.

Use this same “pinch test” on your calves the same way you did on your thighs.

How to wear 5-pocket twill pants

Wear 5-pocket pants the same way you’d wear jeans.

Here’s a couple looks we like:

SG Says: Don’t be afraid to go bold with the color of your twill pants. Just be sure to keep the rest of your pieces more muted, like this oatmeal-colored sweater and tan topcoat.

SG Says: With a bomber jacket and camo-tinged timepiece, these twill pants are ready to go meet your buddies at the bar, or your s.o. for date night at the movies.

See more outfits that are twill pants-ready below:

>> How to Wear Colorful Denim

>> 5 Days, 5 Ways: Colorful Denim

What are twill pants colors to buy

Feeling shy? You can certainly opt for neutral colors like blue, grey, and black. Use them as a base and build more colorful items into your outfit (pssst, here’s a helpful guide on how to do just that).

What about if you already have your neutral bases covered with your stockpile of jeans and chinos? Then 5-pocket twill pants become a great opportunity to inject some color into your bottoms drawer. Shades like eggplant, mustard, and army green are all great places to start.

Shop #SGapproved twill pants


Twill pants vs. jeans

Hopefully by now we’ve talked you into swapping out jeans for another pair of pants once or twice a week. And hopefully by now you understand that twill pants are just as easy to wear as jeans because they’re just like jeans, but…no, really, they’re literally just like jeans.

Here at SG HQ, we totally get that pushing outside your fashion comfort zone can be uncomfortable. In fact, while pulling together this piece, I had a really interesting conversation with my brother-in-law about what he considers too “out there” for the suburbs of Madison, Wisconsin.

His assessment? Well, I found it a little bleak. He told me the other dads in his cul-de-sac would make fun of him for wearing anything beyond a straight-cut pair of jeans.

“They already bust my chops for cuffing my jeans, Megan.”

Apart from wondering why he cares what guys who still wear bootcut jeans (and not because GQ says they’re coming back) think, it got me thinking about where the boundaries of “normal” are for most guys.

To me, twill pants are not crazy. Neither are corduroy pants, for that matter. Or chinos.

I hope you feel the same!

The whole conversation really threw me. I want to think that the single, 30-something guy in New York who reads Style Girlfriend isn’t that far off from the married, 30-something in the suburbs of, say, Chicago. They’re both firing up the ol’ computer machine’s favorite bookmarks each morning to check out the latest from Team SG. Both professionals. Both looking for a shortcut to looking more stylish without being told to wear a floral turtleneck to the office (sorry, feels like I’m really ripping on GQ today but I mean…)

We’re not looking to curate recommendations for the lowest common denominator (no offense, Bryan), but it doesn’t really do any of us any good if we’re pushing stuff here on SG that you’re like, “No. No way.” On the other hand, I don’t know how to go much farther in the other direction. If we’re not ever-so-thoughtfully suggesting you break out of your standard jeans and t-shirts with slightly hipper suggestions, what…what are we really doing? Would we really be helping anyone?

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed this style primer on (very normal, very mainstream) twill pants.

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Still feeling overwhelmed? SG can help

If you’re ready to upgrade your style but dread the thought of shopping for new clothes…consider having Team SG shop for you! We’re obviously biased, but clients tell us we’re really great!

Let us rescue you from shopping fatigue and sartorial apathy. We can promise the kind of personal attention and care that will make you feel like the best version of the awesome guy you already are! Ready to seriously improve your closet and your confidence? Give us a shout.

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