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Men's Wardrobe Essential: 5-Pocket Twill Pants

If chinos and jeans had a baby

By Megan Collins | Jan 7 2019

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Welcome to No Jeans January, a month-long denim detox to help you refresh your personal style for the new year.

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.


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.

Check it out:

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.


Because 5-pocket twill 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.


Wear 5-pocket pants the same way you’d wear jeans. Here’s a couple looks we like:

See more outfits that are twill pants-ready below:

>> How to Wear Colorful Denim

>> 5 Days, 5 Ways: Colorful Denim


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.

Want more #SGApproved pants picks?
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