Pockets: As you might expect, 5-pocket pants have five pockets: two rear, two front hip, and one watch or coin pocket inside the right front hip pocket. Chinos and dress pants have no more than four pockets (two front and two rear), and they are generally discreet, whereas the pockets on 5-pocket pants tend to be a little more visible.
Metal Hardware: Instead of the horn buttons you find on chinos and dress pants, 5-pocket pants have metal tack buttons. They are also reinforced by metal rivets at the corners of the three front pockets. These metal details give the pants a more utilitarian, workwear look that echos the functional aspect of the original 5-pocket pants created by Levi Strauss in the late 1800s. Our durable rivets, tack buttons, and zippers are all made to last by Riri in Italy.
Denim Waistband & Hem: The denim waistband found on 5-pocket pants looks a regular button-through closure, but it has no extra stitching around the bottom of the waistband piece and no split back, both of which are features of chinos and other types of casual pants. The hem is about 5/16″ wide and secured with a chain stitch, making it much narrower than the hem found on casual pants and dress pants, which is about 1.5″.
A Slim ‘Jeans’ Fit
While the fit of your casual pants ultimately comes down to personal preferences, the typical fit of a 5-pocket pant is slimmer than that of a dress pant or relaxed fit chino. A tighter fit around the waist and rear, and a narrower taper through the leg and at the ankle, provide a fit that’s more in keeping with the distinctly casual “denim” or “workwear” look. This fit isn’t required, however; you may by all means opt for a fit that is the same or more similar to the fit of your chinos or other casual pants, especially if that fit is on the slimmer side to begin with.
If you do choose to create a fit that’s specific to your 5-pocket pant, our guide can help.
The original 5-pocket pants were made from heavy-duty denim that could stand up to the physical work of the men who wore them. And while you may not be doing any mining or carpentry when you wear your own 5-pocket pants, they still look and wear best when they’re made from heavier casual fabrics. Dress pant fabrics, which are most often made from wool and wool blends with materials like silk, linen, and cashmere, have a gentler drape and weigh less despite offering a broad range of options in terms of warmth and breathability. Chinos are typically found in cottons and cotton blends and are lighter, smoother, and have a more “crisp” look and feel. The weight of heavier fabrics adds structure and durability to 5-pocket pants, and more pronounced textures add visual weight as well, so the bolder visual impact of the pants’ design elements are properly balanced. Denims are a no-brainer, of course, but corduroys and heavier moleskins are also great options for 5-pocket pants.