Friday, November 9, 2012

Where do you get your khakis?

"Where should I get khakis?" is the single most frequently asked question.
The one item that is a sine qua non to the classic wardrobe is a pair of khaki pants. This is true for males and females, young and old.
Vendors, knowing "khaki" is often referred to as a color, now use the term "chinos" which are offered in various shades of Khaki. Technically, however, khaki refers to either the style of trousers originally worn by British Troops in India or the color.
But the options today can be confusing.  Buying any kind of pants is always a more personal purchase than a sweater or a shirt. And many of the traditional khaki vendors have drastically cheapened the material used and reduced the consistency of fit when they outsourced to China, while constantly tweaking offerings.

Here are some suggestions to consider for those who want classic, timeless khakis, before even trying on a pair:
  1. No pleats. (Never mind how they look, they also add an immediate five pounds.)
  2. Straight leg, never boot-cut (or low-rise, obviously).
  3. Cuffed or uncuffed (with a one to a one and a half inch hem), but not a "jean hem."
  4. Not too dark. Stone is fine for women, Light Khaki, Field Khaki or Khaki is good for all. Dark Khaki or British Khaki is never good for pants (and don't even think about Olive).
  5. On-seam pockets in the front (which need to be deep enough) and two button through pockets in the back (men's and women's).
  6. Avoid cropped versions for women; they seldom look right.
  7. Always 100% cotton twill; never a thread of polyester. (Cotton canvas, following these guidelines, can qualify.)
  8. No elastic in the waist.
  9. Stay away from "wrinkle resistant" versions. They wear prematurely at the bottom of the hem.
  10. No cargo pockets.
Given that, where do you get your khakis?

Finally, one might need flannel-lined khakis. They are perfect for New England winters. And again, they are easy to find for men, but quite difficult for women.

110 comments:

Anonymous said...

LL Bean-Double L, Lands' End-Plain Casual Chinos and Orvis-Ultimate Khakis.

All for different purposes.

Craig Sevde said...

For men: I'm currently using RL for the Preston flat front for casual khakis. Also, I'm doing the Brooks Brothers Advantage Chino/Clark flat front. I've somewhat gone flat front no cuff the last couple years. I believe if you go pleated you have to cuff. But just me. I prefer a no break so the no cuff works better for me.
Normally, I can get the exact sizing with no additional tailoring.
Now my wife is going nuts trying to source khakis. So I hope this comment section can help her.

Lollyg said...

...still using a few pants from Talbots - I do not remember how old they are, but I have some pre-digital photos of myself in them.
That said, they still look great, so classic they always look current. I am often asked where I purchased them.

I do need to investigate a new source, so I, too, hope for help from these comments.

Bryan VanGilder said...

Without a doubt Jack Donnelly are the best khaki pants I've ever bought.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post - I'm looking for some khakis that I can trust without spending a fortune. Would also like to find some for my wife who's more of the J. Crew/Anthropologie persuasion. Thoughts, ladies?

Michael said...

Since Brooks Brothers' decline, I've relied on J.Press or Bills for flat-front, unfinished khakis that can be cuffed. Bills' khakis are expensive but traditionally cut, made in the USA, and very sturdy. I've bought them at various places, but online Hansen's Clothing has great service, free shipping, and nice attention to detail. If you have them finish your pants they sew a small strip of fabric into the inisde hem or cuff for extra wear.

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

Purists of all sorts will insist things one way or the other. For me, it's always a crap shoot. I have purchased the "best" before and they lasted as long as all the rest. LL Bean makes khakis of quality all over the spectrum, as does JCrew and all the usual suspects. Oddly enough, the single most durable pair I have ever owned was when I bought a pair in a pinch after my luggage got lost on the way between Chicago and Seattle, and I needed something to put on after I took off my waders. I think that they were from Target or Old Navy or something like that. They have outlasted (obviously by fluke) ALL of my other khakis, many of which are brands that are held up as holy and do-no-wrong.

I am sticking to my thesis that it is a crap shoot year to year. Go figure, eh?

WRJ said...

I wish I had a solid recommendation, but I have never owned a pair of khakis that were entirely satisfying. My criteria are: heavy cotton twill, classic rise, somewhat trim or "classic" fit (i.e. not blousy), flat-front, (ideally) a very slight slant pocket, reasonable leg opening, reasonable price, bonus for Made in USA. Some of the khakis I've owned:

J.Press: I found the legs too billowy and the opening too wide, but the rise, material, and slight slant pockets were perfect.

RL: So many fits, I can never be sure what I'm buying. Have been okay, but most of the more tapered pants have a low rise, which is a no-go. Also nearly impossible to avoid prominent logo.

J.Crew: Bad in most respects.

Brooks: Okay, but the material has a more "refined", office-cubicle-y feeling and the quality is questionable.

Sid Mashburn: Perfect rise, good material, USA-made, but slightly too slim and definitely too expensive.

I have been considering pulling the trigger on Donnelly's or Bill's khakis, but hate to order things online before I know for sure sizes and fit. I've been told Bill's M1s are extremely voluminous, but I would love to hear from your readers about the fit of both brands.

Matt said...

Male, 6"1'. I wear Bill's Khakis, model M2, no pleats. The M1 is too baggy and the M3 too tight, in my opinion. Plus, the M3 comes with slash rather than on-seam pockets, which I don't like.

The M2's are offered in many different fabrics and colors, and they last for-ev-er. Sometimes I buy them from the Bill's Khakis website and sometimes from one of the better online clothing stores such as O'Connell's or North River Outfitter. There is also a terrific men's store in Newburyport called John Farley, where I often shop when I am in town.

Bill's Khakis shrink! So it is important to wash and dry them a few times before having them hemmed. They are more expensive than some brands but I have never yet worn them out. I still have every pair I ever purchased.

I've heard that Jack Donnelly's are excellent. But I have not yet tried them.

Michael Rowe said...

J. Press. I buy a couple of pairs at a time whenever I'm in New York or Boston. Cuff 'em and let 'em get soft. And if I could find a way to get the Banana Republic logo off the back of some of their chinos, I would wear them more often, too, because the fit is loose and comfortable, and surprisingly classic. That said, I'm looking very much forward to rereading the comments in this thread to hear where other guys are getting them.

John said...

Eternal question for me too. In the early 90s I left for the Peace Corps with two pair of Banana Republic khaki pants. They used to make their clothes for that sort of thing. Those were my favorite pants ever, and I wore them to tatters.
I am slim and prefer slender fits. I tried Bill's M3, I loved the fabric, rise and construction. However, I could never get them tailored to my liking.
I found a couple pair of "Save Kahki" pants that I liked somewhat.
J Crew long ago stopped pleasing me. Every now and then I order something, and then promptly return it. Same with some of the BB clothes.
If I ever find the perfect pair of khaki pants, I'll buy a dozen.
For now, I may give the M3s another go and revisit the tailor (I am not happy with the leg width--still too much fabric for my liking).

Bryan VanGilder said...

Bill's M1s are not voluminous, they are designed very well and are traditional normal straight leg fit that ride right at the waist. Donnelly's ride a little high on the waste, but oh, the material is much more comfortable than Bill's. Bill's become stiff as they age, Donnelly's become soft, but keep a nice sturdiness to them at the same time. The slightly higher waist fit is not a big deal. I have developed a great appreciation for Donnelly's.

Bryan VanGilder said...

Oh, I take my comment back about Bill's M1s. Mine are M2s, sorry!

The Dancing Starfish said...

My husband is die-hard for Dockers..I'm not too sure why. Honestly, I think alot of it is pure lainess. We often shop w/ 2 small kids in tow & he knows his size & can just grab & go. But I will say that they last FOREVER! So that helps.

I am more of a Gap girl. I am short & need the short lengths & just don't have the time to see a tailor. Plus, the fit of all Gap pants have always just worked for me. I find other brands too bulky in the hips, bottom & waist.

Elizabeth H. said...

I may try some slim-fitting men's khakis, and let my lovely alterations lady work her magic. Is it just me or does the no-wrinkle finish on many clothes make them feel odd. That has been one of my many khaki problems.

JSprouse said...

About 6 years ago I bought 2 pair of Bill's Khakis, one year after the other from Vantressca in Doylestown, PA They have been worn almost daily. The oldest of the two I now use for gardening. They are plain front with 1 1/4" cuffs. A few pair of khakis -varis brands- are from thrift shops (you can't beat $6.) that I have used for gardening, but still plain front with cuffs.

Bitsy said...

I think I have at least one pair from almost every maker of women's khakis. There's something wrong with each pair -- most commonly, too much fabric in the hips or legs that are too floppy. I just can't bring myself to spend money having them altered since I only wear them for casual wear, so I just make-do. I recently tried out the boys' departiment at Ralph Lauren, and found they fit pretty well, plus I was able to get a pair with embroidered dogs (Goldens and Black Labs!) which was fun. But I am still looking for the perfect pair, and when I find them, I'm going to engage in what Muffy calls gentle stockpiling. Or maybe not so gentle!

Anonymous said...

The Trad ran a chewy series on khakis a couple of years ago, a lot of information from several solid sources. I'll link your readers herein to several key posts. But there's more to be had by going to the site and opening all posts under the khakis heading.

http://thetrad.blogspot.com/search/label/Blind%20Chino%20Tasting

-Flo

NaturalShoulder said...

My favorites are Bills in the M2 fit. I especially like the poplin and Cramerton limited edition fabric.

I also have a pair of the RL GI Chinos. The fit is quite voluminous and the fabric is quite substantial.

Cubanchem said...

Orvis Ultimate Khakis, but they wrinkle an insane amount.
O'Connel's are great too, just wish they offered a slightly softer cotton.
Those are the only two I buy from.
PAB

Unknown said...

For men: first of all I NEVER pay list price for anything. So, bills khakis from sierra trading, polo ralph lauren at marshalls or macys, ll bean on sale, and jcrew when the have crazy markdowns (as little as $10 a pair). They're all fine quality. I wash and dry them inside out and fold them on a hanger immediately. I prefer this to getting them pressed. I like classic fit, not tight or tapered.

Anonymous said...

I stick with Gant, Jack Spade and Duck Head

Luke said...

If you are looking for some great inexpensive everyday khakis, Dockers are great value. Slim fit are my favorite (I am 28 years old 6'2 and about 185 pounds) since they are revamping their khakis you can get them at Macys for around $30 or you can go to bloomingdales and get the better quality material for around $80 (the material is a lot better) I tend to go for the work horse $30 macys Dockers. I wash them a couple times and since I saved on the upfront cost, I get them tailored to fit exactly the way I want. They may not last as long as some my favorites I wore everyday in high school but they are very simple, soft and reasonably durable. You can probably get a couple years out of them if you wear them about 3 to 4 times a week which is what I would expect for around $30. Or you can go to J Crew and spend way more for way for cheap material.

Luke - http://newporttonewport.blogspot.com/

Paul Connors said...

Brooks Brothers now has several different cuts for men's pants, so if one wants a fuller, more traditional flat-front trouser, they need to buy the "Hudson" fit. The MILANO is for skinny kids and the other cuts like the CLARK aare also cut very slim.

I stopped buying from Lands' End quite a while back and find that their product quality has been degraded to the point of laughable when compared to their respective price points.

Khakis, by their very nature are supposed to be "functional," so on the one hand, they should theoretically fit that bill while also being a cost effective purchase. I have found functional and less costly khakis in several different stores, some with brand names not once discussed here.

I've even purchased usable and
good quality khakis in Army-Navy stores and I often lamented the day when the U.S. Army did away with the overall khaki summer uniforms because back then, the trousers were even easier to find and of better quality than what is available today.This was due to the fact that uniforms were required to be manufactured in the USA to meet military specifications.

With so much manufactured offshore, I personally think the "best" American khaki for men today comes from "Bill's."

Fred Johnson said...

Bills M!, flat front cuffed, I buy them from Ensons in New Haven and nothing is better for a more refined look. For day in day out, Ralph Lauren Classic POLO Chino. I buy mine at the Outlet in Clinton, CT but you do have to look carefully as RL makes several models. the classic chino has the above stated label and the inside leg seams are made to be ironed "open flat". I can live with the slightly quarter top pockeks for the price although I do prefer theon-seam type.

Anonymous said...

Gap Mens' Vintage cut, made in Sri Lanka, seem to wear reasonably well. You can buy them with a 30% reduction several times a year.

Best

Herts

Oxford Cloth Button Down said...

I have given a lot of brands a try over the years. I would like to try many more, but with my size 29 waist finding a decent pair that isn't "low-rise" has been an issue.

I have fairly happily settled with the J.Crew essential chino in classic fit. It has a decent rise, sitting on the waist and is neither too tight or too baggy. It can also be purchased with a cuff and comes in a variety of lengths.

Although I see they have removed British Khaki and I don't know if Honey brown is the same.

Happy hunting all!

Woofboxer said...

I find Bills far too voluminous, even the M2 'slim fit' does not provide the profile I seek without severe surgery by the alteration tailor.

Lands End chinos work for me; mid way between slim and relaxed fit, a good rise and taper. I have found them to be reasonably hard wearing, but at two pairs for £20 (about $32) from my local LE outlet who cares if you have to buy some new ones now and then?

Greenfield said...

Khakis are the main thing I buy from L.L. Bean these days. Their recent offerings for women with a number of different fits (rises, mostly) brought me back as a customer. I have a small waist but larger hips, and their "curvy" fit in both khakis and cords works great for me. I'm also one of the last fans of pleated, probably because I wore them in school and they still make them and they still look great. All of my khakis from Bean wear like iron--I am using some for barn pants now that must be over 20 years old. Most other labels I've tried on are cut for "fashionistas" and are not classic; ditto what someone said above about Brooks' being too "office-y." Not thrilled by a lot of the changes at Bean, but they're still the only place for a useful pair of pants!

BlueTrain said...

There is an obscure but 100% American-made brand called "Stan Ray" that is close to the old style US Army khaki pants, thought they are trimmer and a little thinner (not a bad thing in hot weather). They are made without a waistband, which is a slight archaic style but they are all-cotton and guaranteed to wrinkle.

I don't think anyone makes good wash and wear poplin casual pants as were available when I was in college. And have you noticed the labels in many imported clothing products say "wash in cold water?" What happened to Sanforizing?

Great Lakes Prep said...

I stick with the Brooks Brothers Clark fit or Bonobos but I have also heard great things about Jack Donnelly. I'm tall (6'5") but with an athletic build so I've always found it difficult to find a pair that fits right but those seem to do the trick.

j.mosby said...

My choices are: Ralph Lauren, Orvis, Bill's Khakis, Filson!

Anonymous said...

My SO likes Lands End. He tells me the size and I pick out the colors - khaki, stone, olive. Once he wanted grey ones, but I hated them - they reminded me of gas station attendant.

Ne Cede Mails said...

I wear Bills M3's, flat front. I miss their Field Pant.

While the M2's are huge, I don't find the "slim" fit of the M3 to be as slim as, say, BB Milano.

Jourdan said...

As a woman, it has been very difficult in the past 10 years or so, to find quality khakis. For over 20 years I bought them from L.L. Bean. But that stopped when the styling and quality standards went to some third world country. Now, I get the Bill's Khaki's M2 and have the waist and hips altered.
I want 100 percent cotton. I want a fairly heavy fabric. I want them to last. This is an impossible criteria to find in an appropriate style, fabric and fit for women.

Anonymous said...

I still wear LLBean's Sunwashed Canvas Pants for women in khaki.

John said...

I bought a pair from Jack Donnelly recently and am very happy with them. I had them hemmed by a local woman who does clothing alterations. I also buy Dockers and Gap khakis when they are available at a good price. Khakis are not something I go out of my way to be too fussy or exquisite about.

Anonymous said...

As a former khaki wearing woman, I am eagerly awaiting advice. I'm done with chest high waists, tight backsides, and billowy, oversized legs that have characterized recent choices. Thus, I have stopped even trying to find a nice - never mind a great pair. On the other hand, should I ever want a pair of micro khaki shorts these seem to be for sale everywhere.
Best,
Allegra

Anonymous said...

Thank-you so much Muffy for posting this question! Sadly, most of the suggestions have been for men's pants. I think perhaps I will give a pair of Bean pants a try. The journey continues....

Bethany Hissong said...

Lands End just updated their chino offerings for women. Normally I don't like the quality at Lands End but decided to try them. They offer plain front with your choice of rise and most importantly, your choice of inseam, cuffed or uncuffed. I am 5'10" and a 33 1/2 inseam so I have a terrible time finding pants that fit my legs correctly. I was happy to find that the fabric is heavier than normal women's chinos lately so they hang better. I'm not sure the inseam I asked for is right on and there was only minimal if any shrinkage after the first wash. They came out wrinkled but I steam them anyways. I decided to keep them as they are the closest thing to straight leg classic plain front of decent weight that I've found.

Bethany Hissong said...

I have to add that at only $50 (or $55 for tall) Lands End does make theirs a good affordable option!

John said...

The last pair of JCrew khakis I bought was about two years ago and I have not bought any since. Not because I don't want to, but because I haven't had to. In all honesty they are just about the only khakis I have right now. The two pairs I wear most often fit perfectly and have been tempered to that soft feel.

I've always wanted to buy a pair of Bill's and have always heard good things, but their price is prohibitive, especially on a Lieutenant's pay.

I keep meaning to buy a pair of Double L khakis, but always seem to forget or buy something else instead.

I own two pairs of Mountain Khaki's Alpine Utility Pant from when I was a rowing coach (I liked how they felt compared to Carhartts, but were just as rugged) and loved those. I can only speak to the utility pant, which is great, but have also heard really good things about their original mountain pant.

Anonymous said...

First picked up a pair of Izod's "Saltwater Chino" in 2008 and was surprised by their fit, finish, and durability. I've tried other brands before, but these consistently get those little details right; 100% medium-weight cotton (that rumple, and will subsequently fray, perfectly), on-seam pockets, and undetectable logo. Recently picked another pair for school this semester and fortunately Izod have continued produce these pants without changing a thing (aside from the newly-added repp striped pockets)

For those interested, Izod also produce a 100% cotton wrinkle-free version...so to each their own.

Anonymous said...

I'm a twenty-something, and of my four favorite pairs of chinos, three came from Banana Republic and one came from Target ('Merona' brand, I think).

The Target/Merona pants are a great, sturdy material, albeit a little coarse. They were ~$30 and have held up well.

Two of the Banana pairs, ~$70 each, have served me extremely well over the last 4 years -- the material still feels very nice and has aged gracefully.

One pair of the Banana pants were $30 casual chinos, bought already soft & broken in, so I don't expect much of them, but they are comfortable.

Katahdin said...

Bill's and Orvis

Anonymous said...

Gap, Talbots ( til death do us part, but I order less and less from that vendor. I can still find an occasional gem),Boys department at RL for anything except a rare blouse from petites; and a locally-owned shop here in my city in Texas called Witt's End (ha!).

Laurie said...

I have found shopping for khakis almost as painful as shopping for bathing suits. As a petite, middle-aged woman, I find the selection horrible just about everywhere. Found a great pair of Dockers only to have them change the styling the following year.

I agree with Anonymous 11:22. The sun-washed chinos at Bean's feel wonderful. I did, however have to have them altered.

Come on Muffy! Help us out here!

Anonymous said...

How is the rise of the Orvis Ultimate? I've heard that the rise is short - both front and rear.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy with the Savane brand; have no idea where it comes from, just department store stuff.

I think most of mine are Brooks Brothers, and this is good, since BB's stuff fits on me as if it were tailored: my body's lucky.

The Wonder Of It All... said...

As expressed in a number of comments, I am also a Bill's Khaki's fan, but I prefer the M1 (plain front) version. I love the weight of the cotton twill.

Shan said...

As a short female (I wear a size 0), I have a very difficult time finding khakis that doesn't look like elephant pants on me (LL Bean, Land's End are just way too huge on me, their latest collection of chinos was larger than usual). After a lot of trial and error, I recently found a pair at Banana Republic (of all places) that fits well and is of a heavy twill material that I can wear for fall.

Kathie Truitt said...

Brooks Brothers. But even then I have to have the legs tapered. What is up with all the 'bell bottom, flared pants'? I don't want 'skinny' but I just want a classic straight pair of khaki's? Is that too much to ask?
Wait - there is a store called Christopher and Banks. I don't find too much that I like there, BUT there khaki's are awesome.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried Mountain Khakis' Teton Twill Pants?

Marcus Smith said...

The only item that survived my recent wardrobe purge (where I decided to dress like and adult and try to have fewer, better items) is a pair of "George" khakis from Wal-Mart. Of all of my khakis, this one is my favorite. The cut and fit are good, the fabric is just the right weight, and they have held up very well. I've yet to see any more pants like these there.

I have some Izod khaki shorts that I really like. I'd like to try some of their chinos out.

As another poster commented, looking for khakis is a crap shoot. To compound that, I try to get everything at thrift stores/consignment shops/discount places/salvage stores/etc. I've found I can get better stuff cheaper that way. However, all the khakis my size at those places seem to have freaking pleats. I hate pleats.

Unknown said...

The best khakis I ever owned were Sweet Orr all cotton chinos in the mid to late 60's. They had a gusset for freedom of movement, I'm guessing they were more than 10 oz per yard, and came with 1 1/4 inch cuffs.. 100% indestructible. Someone should revive this brand.

shinyshooes said...

For women: Theory. It's also the designer of my suits as it is equally, if not more difficult, to find a quality woolen suit for women. They're slim fit, so it's not ideal for all women, but they will last you 10 or more years. The fabric is top choice, the cut is flattering and simple (again, albeit slim), and you can mix and match it to various Theory jackets. If you purchase through a department store, you can usually get a solid deal.

Anonymous said...

RRL Officer's chinos--the fit is pretty classic, the quality is incredible, very tough and study with real heritage elements, but at the same time able to double in a slightly dressier context--a real winner. I get the sense that I could wear them forever.

Mike Volz said...

I buy my chinos almost exclusively by Ralph Lauren. They're cheap and staying with me for a long time. There is also the chinos in many beautiful colors. Not only in khaki.

Anonymous said...

I'm still wearing my well preserved khakis from Eddie Bauer and Bean that were purchased over 5-10 years ago. Just hate all these flared and boot cut styles for women these days, including the awful fit. The Bean khakis are cut way too generous in the hips and thighs these days. Sure wish someone out there is listening to us for some decently made, well cut khakis!

Anonymous said...

Ben Silver is currently running a sale on some great men's khakis.

Anonymous said...

Hubby likes any flavor of the Ralph Lauren lines of (flat fronts) khaki's, they fit well and the material is great. He also has a few Dockers and Izods. After getting him hooked, he now loves the embroidered critter pants from Murray's Toggery, as do I :) I have several pairs of khaki flat fronts from Eddie Bauer and a few critter pieces. --Holly in PA

Anonymous said...

For weekend wear, I go with Bass. That's right. 100% cotton, good year round weight, and affordable.

Anonymous said...

Anyone try men's new Bean's 1912 khakis? - heavy, no treatment, no crease.

Brian said...

For men, I have to recommend Kevin's clothing house brand plain front chinos:
http://www.kevinscatalog.com/Kevins-Plain-Front-Khakis/productinfo/17-0621/

They're 8oz. combed cotton twill, well-constructed, traditional and MADE IN THE USA; all for $69 (currently on sale for $54).
I've owned Bill's M2 and M3 fits. I find them overpriced and over-hyped. The M3 is so slim in the seat and thigh, it's unwearable for all but the slimmest of men. The Kevin's brand is slightly slimmer than the M2 with a shorter rise. I find it the perfect fit.
Of course, khakis are to preps/trads (and anyone else who isn't ashamed of their adulthood) what jeans are to everyone else, and they're equally hard to get to fit right. Not to mention, everyone has their own preference on how they should look. It takes lots of experimenting, and it helps if you, or someone you know, is handy with a sewing machine. But if/when you find that perfect pair of khakis, buy every pair in your size (and a few sizes bigger) you can get your hands on!

Anonymous said...

Bill's Kahkis are hard to beat. Living in South Carolina, you can also purchase Charleston Kahakis.

R.A. Sasayama said...

Finding suitable chinos is rather difficult, especially since the only brown that I can really wear is taupe. Any ideas?

It's frustrating how so many "regular" or "high" rise chinos actually have a low rise, but here are some that really do have a regular rise.

Buzz Rickson
John Lofgren & Co.
Tuki West Point
The Real McCoy's
Toys McCoy

Sartre said...

I prefer Bills. They look fine right out of the dryer. I order them online from Hansen's and they cuff them for free.

They are rather heavy for summer wear.

Pete said...

I live day in and day out in my RL for the Preston’s flat.

They fit perfectly, wear well and look great.

As for price, I never pay full price for any clothing, I stock up during the summer and after Christmas sales.

Anonymous said...

Waiting for Chatham Ivy. Coastal inspired clothing made in the USA ...coming soon.

www.Chatham-Ivy.tumblr.com

Birddog said...

It's almost Fall: Filson briar pants.

Craig Sevde said...

I think the Tiger is a nice Princeton touch. A little Nassau Street going on!

Anonymous said...

LL Bean 1912 because of the fit , not so much the quality. Fortunately, I have some old RL chinos from the early 90's that have held up incredibly well and they are a treasure...had I only known how badly clothes quality would decline I would have bought many more.

--love your blog, you're the best on the web, reader since post #2



Anonymous said...

I find it impossible to find decent women's khakis. A number of years ago Ben Silver attempted to encourage women to try Bill's khakis. I purchased a pair and was not entirely satisfied. Apparently the advertising was not successful because it never appeared in another catalogue. However, I just purchased a pair of Jack Donnelly's and they fit perfectly. A word of caution, I think they may fit best for women with rather "lanky" figures.

Anonymous said...

I love Mountain Khakis Lake Lodge khakis for Summer and their Teton Twill for the rest of the year. These pants wear like iron!

Anonymous said...

I love Mountain Khakis Lake Lodge khakis for Summer and their Teton Twill for the rest of the year. These pants wear like iron!

LPC said...

Karen Millen. A British fashion brand, oddly enough.

Fen said...

Uniqlo for women's - their boyfriend fit khakis are perfection for my build. failing that I just buy a small man's style. x

Anonymous Texan said...

Bill's M 1, M2, Brooks Bros, RL, J Crew, Duckhead, & Old Navy. Old Navy probably represents the best value.
Starched with a knife edge crease is the only way to roll. Yep, cuffs are frayed. Enuff said.

Baltimore Prep said...

Like many of the other female posters, this is a frustrating search that has not left me with good options. I am a women's size 00 and unable to fit into any of the pant offerings at LL Bean, Lands End, etc. Within the past year, J Crew has started offering 00 in their khakis. There is one style that fits decently, but the pockets are terrible. The other styles are extremely baggy in the legs even when ordered in the proper size.

Well-fitting and well-made khaki pants for women is greatly lacking and would be quite profitable for any company who can properly tackle it!

RHW said...

L.L. Bean's Double L Chino in Classic Fit. Perfect fit for me in 38x32, BUT the no-iron stain proof treatment they apply now is terrible. Wish they would bring back the standard pre-shrunk cotton pant with no treated finish.

RHW

Anonymous said...

Sure wish they would start selling a real pair of khakis.The lined khakis without the lining would be terrific !! Wake up Bean !

Unknown said...

I just took delivery of a pair of LL Bean standard fit plain front 1912 chinos reduced to $35. I want to report I am pleasantly surprised by the great quality and fit. In addition, I got a navy check flannel shirt and an oatmeal wool ragg crew neck, and I think all three items are absolutely great. So, a small message of hope for long time LL Bean customers.

mhj said...

I just received a pair of LLB Double Khakis with Nor'easter fabric. The customer service rep told me that are NOT no-iron. They are water repellent however but none the less are very breathable, soft and comfortable. They fit me perfectly and am glad to find something that's not no-iron for $40.

Anonymous said...

I have not. Thank you!

skranish said...

I have khakis from BB and Bill's. I really like the Bill's fabric and feel, not so fitted and really very comfortable. Available in at least 3 fits, with or without pleats.

If the prices seem a bit high, check eBay - you can often find new or slightly used Bill's Khakis for 10 cents on the dollar!

Anonymous said...

For men try www.jlpowell.com. The fabric is excellent.

AKA.BoB said...

If you want or need a pair of pants that make sense, get better with age, fit like no other, are designed for a man, then stop being foolish and buy a pair of Carhartts.
The perfect pant for men who do more than sit

Anonymous said...

Murray's Reds in Khaki.

John D said...

I wear J Crew Factory Khakis. They do not shrink much at all and do not have the non iron finish to them.Great quality for the budget conscious person.

I wear them as a casual pant on a semi daily basis with an RL Polo or OCBD. I have tried a number of khakis and have always been disappointed. I can not bring myself to buy Bill Khakis because of the price point but have heard nothing but good things about them.

DMA said...

I am sure most trad guys would not take kindly to my suggestion for khakis, but I swear by JPress' Poplin plain front trousers. What I love about these pants is that they are 65% polyester, 35% cotton. I know when you spend the weekend at the shore or on the boat these are not the right trousers, but for Manhattan, I like these a great deal, especially in the summer months because numerous times I have gotten caught in a summer rain storm wearing 100% cotton khakis only to look like a wet rag, my trousers loosing their crease from the rain and humidity. These polyester trousers from Press keep their crease and look sharp all day, even in the rain. I have a very critical and discerning eye, and I didn't know these were mostly polyester until I read the tag.

I am also partial to Bill's Khakis. Saw a classmate recently wearing a great pair of khakis and when I asked him where he bought them I was surprised to learn they were Dockers from Costco! I would never have thought such a combination could exist, but with the hunt for the perfect khaki seemingly never ending, why not try Costco? I would have to try to find one first, but...

Thrifty Yankee said...

No need whatsoever to look any further than LL Bean and Lands' End. Spend your time and money on better things than looking for and trying other brands.

WagnerJB said...

I have a pair of stretch, 5-pocket, jean style, straight leg khakis that I bought at Talbots several years ago that are awesome and never wear out. Wish they had them again so I could buy another pair.

Movingwater said...

Sure, I love my Bill's. But, at $140 a pair or so, they are getting a bit ridiculous. I found a pair of "Military style = 1940's vintage" chinos at an Army.Navy store that I absolutely love. The detailing is not as high quality, but the cut and fit is great, and the cotton twill is all one could ask for in a pair of khakis. Plus, I have no hesitation in wearing them while I scrape boat bottoms!

Anonymous said...

I bought several pairs of Orvis khakis last winter, and had a lot of trouble with buttons coming off when wearing, and even in the washing machine. The people at Orvis informed me that the problem was fixed, so I just bought another ten pairs. Well the buttons have begun to come off these as well. Muffy have you had a problem with the ultimate khakis?Any input would be very much appreciated! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I just got the wrangler 13 MWZ in the tan colour and I wear them as khaki pants. The 13 MWZ wranglers are only sold at horse and tack shops. Harrison Ford married in them according to the NY Times. Also I have khaki pants from Lilly Pulitzer and khaki pants from Ralph Lauren with ducks embroidered all over them. Speaking of Ralph, he wrote that it is the assesories that are the truest form of self expression. He also wrote that he is all about breaking rules. Knowing the rules, breaking the rules and making them even better. It is in that spirit that I wear wranglers.

tdivcr said...

Over the years I've tried Gap, Patagonia, Banana Republic, Landsend, LL Bean, J. Crew, Nautica, Dockers and Carhartt khakis or their equivalents. All seem to have had their peak moments of quality and durability. Many have declined.

Years ago I bought some Banana Republic driving pants that I remember fondly. Beans and Landsend have held up well, but lately their quality has been inconsistent. I want to like Dockers more, but I have a problem with the back pockets being a bit shallow, driving my wallet (not a Costanza-sized wallet, mind you) into my butt.

Carhartts are solid, but I've lost two small pocket knives from the shallow slash pockets. My latest, Nauticas, seem to be well made and look good.

I'm about to make another khaki run (I live in Costa Rica and buy during my trips to the US), and will be looking again at some of these brands.

My problem with the $90+ khakis (Bill's, Donnelly's) is that I use khakis year round; think eternal spring-summer. They get sweaty or dirty very quickly, especially during the rainy season: mud, wet dogs, muddy puddles, in and out of wet, dirty cars). One use and into the washer they go. Khakis are dirt magnets, and usually get relegated to "field/chore clothes" within a couple of years.

It would break my heart to have one of the expensive pairs stained within a few months of purchase.

Teejay said...

I read each and every comment here. Thanks everyone. Now that I decided to 'grow up' and start using really adult clothes, I am looking into office pants, khakis etc but the price tag stuns me. Don't you guys think, anything above $60 is little too much?

I wonder if its really worth that quality.

BlueTrain said...

Mr. Teejay raises the obvious question of cost versus value. The question can be asked about everything. Khaki pants for more than $60? Well, it depends. I happily pay over $100 (well, willingly, anyway) for Filson "tin cloth" khaki pants but they aren't for office wear. Filson's mid-weight khaki pants (including green) are much more practical and look okay for the office but they were expensive. However, they are discontinued, along with the dry finish tin cloth pants. I think maybe Filson had a change in ownership, not to mention a change in their customer base.

Cost, quality and practicality sometimes seem unrelated. A $100 shirt will wear out at the same rate as a $50 shirt, sometimes faster and may even require extra care. I have a silk Hawaiian style shirt that is "too good to wear," but my very expensive (by my standards) Pendleton thin wool shirt does get worn on all appropriate occasions.

Currently, the pants I wear to work include L.L.Bean's wool pants and Ralph Lauren wool dress pants. The R.L. dress pants at about $100 at Macy's represent the best value for the money of any dress pants I've ever owned, I think. They always look nice and hold up fairly well considering that they are light weight "year-round" (for indoors, that is). They's probably quit selling them.

For the khaki pants I wear on Fridays, I have Red Kap all-cotton khaki pants that cost less than $25. The no-iron variety won't hold a crease.

skiwithapro said...

Many, many wash cycles later, my 'Traditional fit, has to be ironed", Chinos from Lands
End ($49.00)are just beginning to take on that fabulous patina of great Chinos...

BlueTrain said...

Whether or not a fabulous patina is desirable may depend on your personal history. One writer on another blog, I believe, mentioned how khaki pants in the military were expected to be starched and perfectly pressed and not old and "broken in" looking, while the fatigues were just the opposite. They still had to be starched and perfectly pressed but they faded over time and became the sign of someone who had been around for a while. Of course, if khakis are your Saturday knock around pants, none of that applies.

Something I miss (and have complained about before) are the nice poplin pants that used to be available from several makers in both tan and navy blue. In fact, I miss some brand names of good quality clothes that one used to find in college town men's shops. But it's been a long, long time since I finished school and those things have probably been gone for longer than I realize.

skiwithapro said...

Blue Train, thank you for the reminder of the Chino military origin. Absolutely, a well-pressed and clean looking pair for the city, or worn with a blazer, or onboard any yacht over 200 ft...
But on weekends, or at any casual event, a 'broken in' pair of soft, vintage Chinos just make me feel good...
And I also agree... "Quality is hard to come by..."

Anonymous said...

Teejay
LL Bean has a wrinkle resistent dress chino for about $69 that used to be pretty good. I used to wear them frequently.
Bill's Khakis are great but require washing and ironing.
The Bills are made in the US. (Beans are imported and treated with something to make them wrinkle free.)
I wear the Bill's now and send them to a good professional laundry.
If I remember correctly Muffy and other commentators are successful washing their Bills at home.

V. Torch NapeƱas said...

After buying trying on so many khakis, my undoubted favorites are Bills Khakis and Eddie Bauer's Performance and Dress Chinos.

Alot of the Khakis that I bought and tried on either felt to stiff or restrictive on my legs.

What I love about these pants is that they felt soft in the beginning and got even softer (and still look great) after a number of washes.

Tom Fisher said...

Khakis are one of my weaknesses, (along with good single malt, but that's mother thread) I,ve got Bills, Orvis, Mt. Khakis and others. Bills still seem to fit and wear the best for everyday wear. Ideally I like the 9 oz Cramerton cloth. Still wanting to get some of their Bulllard Field pants. i've tried the Driver Pants and found them unsubstantial. Someone else on this forum mentioned Hansens and I fully support their customer service.
Tom

Anonymous said...

I have found Vineyard Vines khakis fit great and are soft and comfortable from day one .

James Reuter said...

I prefer Ralph Loren Polo the Andrew style in true khaki color with 1.25" cuffs. I am heavy so the pleated are great. They are 100% cotton and look great everywhere. I even where the shorts in the same style (uncuffed).

James III

Anonymous said...

I used to go with the Docker's no iron, but on the hunt for a replacement. They have started stitching their brand into the cloth, and I am not being paid to be a billboard. Additionally the quality has decreased remarkably; I have had multiple pairs that always wear through in the same places long before the rest of the pants are worn (back belt loop and trouser bottom). So thanks for the input above; on my way to find a new brand!

Anonymous said...

Update: Looked at LL Bean, Brooks Brothers, Orvis, Banana Republic and one other. LL Bean won on looks and wrinkle-free attributes

Anonymous said...

Great khakis listed here! My husband swears by Marblehead Greens from F.L. Woods in Marblehead, MA. The canvas is soft and I know he loves the deep pockets and the piping detail on the interior. I get these for him every year - and they are a great compliment to his 'Nantucket Reds'!

MOLLIE'S MOM said...

I was once again searching for 100 percent natural/untreated cotton twill chinos online this morning and discovered nantucketbrand.com . Their pants appear to have a wide leg which would be fine for me during the summer months even though I prefer a slimmer leg. I'm looking for a straight fit ( vs. curvy) Has anyone tried this brand that could provide a review for me please? Do you know where the clothing is made? If not, any other suggestions for traditional all-cotton chinos? Thanks!