Worth It?: Are The UNIS Gio Chinos Worth Your $200?
Welcome to a new series here on The Peak Lapel where we review some high end items — articles of clothing or accessories that cost quite a bit more than your average equivalent from your typical big box retailers like J Crew or Banana Republic — and then as the simple question: Is it worth the extra money? Because, when it comes to style and clothing, value is really the key question. Sure, $1,000 dollars for a suit, for instance, might be super expensive to, while pretty standard to others. But the question remains whether that $1,000 is worth it. Could you get an equivalent suit for half the price at somewhere like SuitSupply? Very often you can, in which case that higher price tag is not worth it. On the other hand, very often the value really is there with higher end garments, and a $1,000 suit, continuing our example, can bring you fabrics, fit, style details, and more that you could never get with a cheaper suit. In such a case, the higher price tag would indeed be well worth the money. That still wouldn’t mean it’s for everyone, but it means that the value is there, and that the price is fair, and that if you spent the money, you would be getting your money’s worth. And that is exactly what we attempt to figure out in this new series. We take a very expensive garment for which there are cheaper alternatives, and find out if that higher price tag really brings commensurate added value.
For this first installment in our new series, we will be taking a look at the UNIS Gio chinos, specifically their skinny fit line. We went with a pair of black chinos for this review, and will compare them to a pair of J Crew Essential chinos in their 484 fit (sold out, but here is an equivalent) to give you a sense of what you can get in a much lower, but still quality, price range. The J Crew chinos look extremely similar, and are many guys’ go-to chinos, and so they work great as comparison here.
The UNIS chinos will run you $198.00. For comparison’s sake, the J Crew chinos will run you about $68, and frequently go on sales, dipping below $50 even.
Style & Design
At first glance, the UNIS Gio chinos look, well, like any other chinos. They are made of a sturdy 100% cotton material that looks and feels like a very solid twill. There is a very slight ribbing/gauge to the fabric. As far as the fabric of the pant itself goes, though, it looks just like any other solid pair of black chinos, and looks extremely similar to the J Crew pair (though is a tad darker in color).
As far as details are concerned, there definitely are a few here that cheaper chinos won’t necessarily have. There are button loops on both the rear pockets, a double-button-tab closure on the waist (which I actually do not like), a button-fly (as opposed to zip; another preference I do not like, personally), as well as slanted pockets (which give it a slight dressier look), and curved and fully-lined waistband (more on this in a bit).
While I don’t love the button-tab closure, nor the button fly, those are personal preferences. Some people love it, and much prefer it. Beyond those two details, though, there is not much else super unique about the style or design of this pant. The fabric looks much the same, and the other styling details are super minor. In all, it looks like any other chino out there. And, that is perfectly fine. You’re not spending the extra cash here to get something that looks so radically different than other pairs of chinos. The differences in design are subtle. Rather, you’re spending the money for a much higher quality pair of chinos. And that is what we will look at next…
Worth It?: These chinos look like any other pair of chinos, with a few unique details, some of which can be found on cheaper pairs, while others, perhaps, cannot. Wether you like these details, though, comes down to personal preference. So, it is neither worth it, nor not worth it. It is what it is. Still, you’re not spending the extra cash here for style or design, but for quality…
Quality & Construction
The fabric on these pants is without question super sturdy and high quality. I just don’t see that much of a difference between these and the J Crew chinos (or any other chinos in my closet, for that matter). They are rather stiff, and would likely break in nicely over time, but the J Crew chinos are much the same way. There is also no stretch to these chinos at all. While, again, this is personal preference, there is no stretch option even offered. There is, quite simply, nothing unique about the quality of these chinos. Yes, these are high quality chinos, but at four times the price of J Crew chinos (just about), these are nowhere near four times the quality. In fact, I am hard pressed to say that they are really any better at all.
There are a few nice touches that J Crew chinos lack, though. The curved waistband does provide for a better, more comfortable fit, and reduces bunching of the fabric around the backside. However, you can get a curved waistband from Bonobos (whose chinos are already considered to be quite expensive) for about half of the price. They also offer more fits, more colors, and more fabric options. And the curved waistband is what made them famous in the first place. The UNIS chinos also offer a fully curtained waistband, but this is largely used as marketing lingo here, and does not really add much by way of quality. It just means that there is extra fabric lining around the full waist band, and this does not really have much of an effect on the chinos overall. Other than the details, and the fact that the fabric is maybe slightly weightier/heftier, I don’t see much of a difference in quality in these pants versus something like a pair from J Crew of Bonobos.
Worth it?: While these chinos are no doubt a high quality pair, they are not noticeably higher quality than a pair from J Crew or Bonobos, a quarter or half of the price, respectively. Sure, there are some minor details that contribute to an overall higher quality feel for these pants, and the fabric is a touch heftier than what you might find from J Crew or Bonobos, but not by much. Are these chinos high quality? Yes. Is that quality worth $200? I don’t think so at all.
For guys that like slimmer chinos, many really like the Gio skinny fit. I am a slimmer guy, and like my chinos fairly slim, and so I expected to love the fit here. In the end, these fit almost exactly like the J Crew 484 chinos, with three main differences:
One, these chinos are only offered in waist sizes, and all come with the same 34” inseam length. This means that you will need to pay even more money to have them tailored to your desired length.
Two, these chinos are a bit slimmer in the thigh area than the 484 fit, but the leg opening, and lower leg regions, all fit just about exactly the same. If you like the Gio skinny fit, you will also like the J Crew 484 fit. They are almost identical.
Three, the sizing is a bit wonky. The size 30 was way to small around the waist. I have never in my life seen a pair of chinos that claim to be a 30 waist fit this tightly. I could not button the pants! Worse, the UNIS website is inaccurate. While they claim a size 30 has a true waist of about 32”, you can see on the chart below that this is simply not the case. Perhaps I need a size 31 in these chinos? Though then I would lose some of the slimness in the rest of the fit/leg. I don’t know what it is, or if my pair was defective, but there is something seriously wrong with the sizing here.
Worth it?: The fit on these pants is great if you like slimmer fitting pants. But, it’s also just about identical to the 484 fit from J Crew, if this is how you like your pants to fit (like I do). Worse, these pants seem to be plagued by fit issues, with inaccurate website measurements, and sizing inconsistent with any other brand I have ever tried. Worse still, they only come in one size inseam, and will require further tailoring before they fit you properly. Is the fit of these chinos worth $200? Absolutely not.
Price, Value, & Conclusion
For $200, you would be better off getting a few pairs from either J Crew or Bonobos. The fits offered there are just about the same, the quality will be only a hair lower, and you won’t need to worry about fit issues or having to bring them to your tailor. Plus, and this is no small thing, both these companies offer free shipping and returns, while UNIS charges for shipping both ways. That’s right! On a $200 pair of chinos, with a seemingly odd fit that might take one or two tries for you to get right, there is neither free shipping, nor free returns. Plus, you need to email them to “approve” the return, and they do not even provide you with a label — you have to ship it back yourself. If they’re trying to sell premium quality here, that is certainly not the experience I had ordering and returning these chinos. If that is not the nail in the coffin on the value of these pants, I don’t know what is.
Are the UNIS Gio skinny chinos worth $200?: The Peak Lapel’s final verdict is decidedly no.