22
Jul

Stupid Summer Pants — The summer in Monterey Bay isn’t dramatically different than any other season of the year. Temperatures rest between the high 50s at the coldest and perhaps will rise into the low 70s. Despite the lack of any noticeable seasons, I still enjoy wearing seasonally appropriate clothing. And for summer months, I do enjoy wearing some really stupid summer pants.

Don’t mistake this as an endorsement for them, nor should you consider them a wardrobe staple. You don’t need a pair — let alone six pairs — in your closet. They’re obnoxious and never really appropriate for even the most casual of workplaces. They likely will go with very little in your wardrobe, too. 

But despite not being able to justify owning them, their presence has multiplied in the past year — taking more space in my closet that ought to be filled with more of those wardrobe staples everyone keeps harping on about. The truth is that I really enjoy wearing them and they make me happy on my days off when I’m not bound by the workplace jacket and necktie.

They’re probably better known as “Go To Hell” pants — Ivy Style’s Christian Chensvold wrote on the history of GTH pants — but let’s just call them what they really are: stupid. Wearing them signals I’m not doing anything important that day; it’s my day off and I’ll do whatever I damn well please. 

Some are cut trim, others wide with a bit of break. Materials range from light chino cottons, cotton-linen blends or madras. 

I’ve been wearing them with long-sleeved rugby polos, popover shirts, untucked OCBDs, boat shoes, unlined desert boots, loafers, the occasional linen shawl-collar cardigan sweater and never with socks.

It’s a shame the stupidity can’t last year-round, but much like a mojito, they only feel right under the summer sun. 

08
Oct

khakiscarmel:

New J. Lawrence trim-fit trousers for fall

We’re really excited about our new J. Lawrence private label trousers for fall at Khaki’s of Carmel. Designed by Jim Ockert, these have a trimmer leg and slightly lower rise. We’re doing two new fabrics in a total of seven different colors. In a donegal wool we have a beautiful mid-blue and mid-brown, both half-lined to the knee. And our brushed cotton trousers offer a great casual alternative to khakis for the fall with a soft touch and our signature charcoal belt loop on the back. Brushed cotton colors include olive green, curry yellow, chocolate brown, tan and navy.

All of our trousers feature taped seams along the seat, oxford shirting cloth pocket bags and an interior pleated waistband to improve the longevity of the trouser. And, of course, they’re hand made in Brooklyn, N.Y., exclusively for Khaki’s of Carmel. 

I picked up the blue wool trousers myself. For those curious: they run true-to-size in the waist and I’m not doing any tapering at all in the legs. They run slimmer than the Incotex contemporary fit and slimmer than both of the American and Italian fits from Howard Yount. When I get them back from hemming, I’ll post a picture of their fit. 

07
Feb

Review: J. Lawrence Khaki’s of Carmel khaki trousers

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I want to make an admission: I’ve only owned one pair of khakis since getting into this whole menswear, dressing-better thing. 

I know it’s a wardrobe staple, the bedrock of casual workplace wardrobes across the country, but I’ve really only owned one and even that pair I ended up selling after a few months. My preference has always been to wear wool trousers or denim. 

(I will admit to buying a pair of beige canvas cotton trousers last year, however, I don’t consider them true khaki drill cotton trousers.)

For a while I was slowly considering several options from the usual suspects, but kept putting it off. After all, they weren’t a personal wardrobe staple for years, why rush a purchase now?

In a weird coincidence, Jim Ockert, the owner of J. Lawrence’s Khaki’s of Carmel, contacted me to ask if I’d be willing to review their new private label line of — what else? — khaki trousers. 

Khakis from Khaki’s. Sure, I’m game. 

(To get the obvious questions out of the way: No, they don’t just sell khakis at Khaki’s and the name “Khaki’s” was chosen by Jim because it was easy to remember — much in the same way “Polo” is identifiable with Ralph Lauren.) 

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When I first received the trousers, I took note of a few things. First, the fabric weight and density felt substantial. I’ve tried chinos and khaki trousers from several brands and some of their fabric just felt thin and cheap. Not the case with these pants, which are made of an English drill cotton. 

Jim said the twill fabric he chose is unwashed and won’t stretch or change over time like some cotton fabrics do (indeed, I noticed such things happened on a pair of chinos from Brooks Brothers). The interior piping and pockets are made from Italian oxford cotton fabric. 

In regards to the trouser’s construction, Jim said he instructed his manufacturer in New York to find details to add in rather than subtract out to save costs. 

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When it comes to fastening details, the trousers don’t cut corners. The trousers have a YKK metal zipper and a French fly with an extended tab on the front so the waistband stays straight. 

On the interior, a two-piece pleated waist curtain gives the trousers better fit just below the waist and the waistband itself is split so you can alter it if you gain or lose weight (most cheap chinos will have a single-block waistband that’s unalterable). 

The trousers completely lack branding with the exception of the center belt loop being a charcoal flannel material — a quirky signature from Jim (if this is too much whimsy for you, then a spare belt loop make of English drill is included, too). 

While details are nice, cut and fit still matter the most. While the J. Lawrence line will feature two cuts, I asked to try the contemporary fit rather than the slim fit. Over the past year, I’ve come to find that slim trousers aren’t very flattering on me and combined with my larger feet, they can make me look a bit awkward. 

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I’m really happy with the contemporary fit. It’s relaxing to wear, but still very flattering. The trousers come unhemmed and I had them altered to just a bit past “no break” without a cuff. There’s enough room for movement in the seat and thigh area without it looking too wide and after a few wearings I’ve found them quite comfortable to lounge in while sitting down at my desk. 

The rise is what I’d call a slightly higher mid-rise, which is another one of my preferences now. The legs taper slightly with a leg opening of 8” (on a 33” waist), which I guess one would call almost conservative by today’s standards. 

Jim informed me that the cut of the trouser is unique to Khaki’s and their slim cut features a lower rise and more tapered leg, which may be the preference of others who are looking for that look. 

"We’re not trying to make ‘candy clothing’ that looks good but you can’t wear it," Jim said. "It’s wearable and approachable anywhere in the world." 

I’ve enjoyed wearing the trousers with a simple OCBD and a cashmere cable-knit crewneck sweater and penny loafers or chukka boots (as seen above), which all seem coherent with a casual trouser. Of course, I’ve also found myself wearing it with a navy blazer and wingtips.

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Curious, I asked Jim how he’d choose to style the khaki trouser on one of the 98 mannequins in his store and he responded by styling three of them at his store with the trousers in their various colors. 

If you’re interested in purchasing a pair, Jim said you can e-mail him personally at jimockert@yahoo.com or call the store at 1-800-664-8106 and he’d be happy to chat with you. 

And if you haven’t read it yet, check out brokeandbespoke’s profile of Jim Ockert and J. Lawrence Khaki’s of Carmel. It’s a good read and after my chats on the phone with Jim I can honestly say it’s an accurate portrayal of Jim’s enthusiasm for menswear — and I genuinely hope to make it out to his store in the future to see it in person.  

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09
Nov

Haberdash in Chicago offering MTM Hertling trousers this weekend — I forgot to mention this yesterday, but now thru November 12, Haberdash is offering a deal on their made-to-order trousers from Hertling.

Besides being able to get sized correctly for a pair (or several) of trousers, you’ll also get $60 off two pairs, $140 off three pairs and $220 off four pairs. The selection is rather vast — there’s more than 100 different fabrics to choose from — and delivery is within three weeks. 

If you’re not familiar with Hertling, they manufacture trousers here in the United States — more specifically Brooklyn, New York. They’ve been making white-label trousers for several menswear brands for quite a while (the company was founded in 1925) but now have pushed to make more of a name for themselves. You can read an interview with their owner, Julius Hertling, here.

28
Aug

It’s on sale: Brooks Brothers Milano-cut corduroy trousers — Perfect for the fall and winter, Brooks Brothers has their corduroy trousers on sale right now for under $50. There’s still a variety of sizes and colors available (including these two in wine and butterscotch). 

If you’re wondering how to wear them, I’d suggest substituting them in for where you’re usually be wearing chinos. Pair them with an OCBD, navy blazer and plain-toe bluchers. Or go more casual by skipping the jacket and go with a sweater (v-neck or cardigan) and camp or ranger moccasins. 

08
Aug
15
Jul
howardyount:

Summer pants are on sale at HowardYount.com

You should really go check it out. Lots of great deals there.

howardyount:

Summer pants are on sale at HowardYount.com

You should really go check it out. Lots of great deals there.

12
Jul

It’s on sale: Lands’ End linen-cotton trousers — Finding reasonably priced summer trousers can be rather tough (at least before the summer’s over). While cotton trousers are pretty easy to find cheaply, linen’s a bit tougher. 

These trousers from Lands’ End are really great. The pants are in their “tailored” fit and are a 54-46 linen-cotton blend, which means they’ve got the breathability of linen, but some wrinkle resistance from cotton. 

I’ve personally bought three of them already — that’s how much I like them. I wore them on my trip to Napa Valley earlier this summer in 90-degree heat and continued to wear them quite frequently this summer. The fabric is durable, feels great and is from the Baird McNutt mill in Ireland. I’m extremely pleased with these trousers and on sale they’re a great deal.

Just use code BANNER with PIN 2323 to get an additional 20% off the sale price and free shipping, which brings them to just $56 a pair. That’s a heckuva deal. 

Personally, I’m a fan of their “sand” color, but they’ve also got pairs in navy and blogger blue. 

Sale ends today at midnight.

29
Feb
07
Feb

So I read your answer to the ASOS pants being synthetic and therefore not of absconding quality. What is the correct type of fabric a trosuer should be made out of? I mean there is Flannel and such, but I meant trousers like the ASOS ones. Thanks!

- Asked by Anonymous

Wool, cotton, linen, mohair, etc. Natural fibers, ie: not man made. Beware of misleading copywriting from retailers though. Some call fabric “flannel” despite the fact it’s blended wool with polyester. Always check fabric composition. Subbing in synthetics means they’re taking a cheaper shortcut. I should add that construction and fit are also very important. Spend some time searching StyleForum and get an idea of who makes quality trousers.

05
Feb

As a follow up, should one avoid pants with any polyester mixed in them? I live in California, and I too am thinking of buying some work pants. Should I consider 100% cotton pants only? Also, I can't seem to find them anywhere. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks for your help.

- Asked by Anonymous

Yes, I’d recommend avoiding synthetic fibers in any tailored clothing.

As for where to find cotton trousers, I’d suggest Bonobos, Epaulet, Howard Yount, Brooks Brothers, etc., and look at dress chinos.

04
Feb

Are slim-fit smart trousers appropriate for an in-office business casual setting?

Not sure if that’s in reference to a particular company’s trouser, but in general trousers are perfectly fine for a business casual work environment.

EDIT: OK, you’re talking about these from ASOS. Again, yes, you could wear trousers in a business casual workplaces, however, I wouldn’t buy those trousers. They’re completely synthetic fabric, meaning they won’t likely last long, plus you’ll end up sweating in them. I also wouldn’t trust their construction to hold together very well.

27
Jan
23
Jan
11
Nov

Wieners & Wingtips: Lands End Tailored Fit Flannel Review

He points out that he should have gotten the pants unhemmed, which I something I agree with when ordering from Lands’ End. I usually get mine tapered anyhow, so hemming them at the tailor isn’t an issue.

About The Silentist

A menswear blog on finding your personal style, written by Kiyoshi Martinez.

I work at Khaki's of Carmel and live in the Monterey Bay area. Formerly from Chicago.

E-mail me, I'm fairly nice: thesilentist@gmail.com

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