If you’re looking for a really classic item of clothing, there are certain brands/manufacturers that are known for specific, iconic pieces with which you can’t go wrong. E.g. if you want a classic pair of sneakers, you can pick up some Chuck Taylors, Keds, Nylites, etc. and call it a day. If you’re overwhelmed by the seriously countless varieties of denim that are now available, you can just grab a pair of Levi’s 501’s (LVC’s for the purist), and know that you’re getting a timeless, classic piece (although you might wanna get ’em tapered) that will still be cool long after you feel compelled to bring your snakeskin print Jil Sander T-shirt to the consignment store. (Not takin’ shots; that tee is actually really dope IMHO, but obviously not a “timeless classic.”)
Well, say you’re looking to get your Miles Davis on, but you want some real khakis. We’re not talking about those poorly-made Gap joints that they always ruin with weird details. We’re talkin’ the kind of khaki that a G.I. fresh off the plane circa WWII would wear. Not all khakis are created equal, you ain’t know?. Case in point: this “blind chino tasting” documented by The Trad sorts through the options so you don’t have to:
“Seven companies provided 13 pair of trousers to The Trad for a “Blind” tasting judged by men’s style writers, G. Bruce Boyer and Robert E. Bryan. LL Bean, Bills Khakis, Brooks Brothers, the French Foreign Legion, J Press, Lincs and Martin Greenfield all put up entries with the requirement they be all cotton and plain front.
Due to the size of the venue, Le Veau d’Or, the inspection was limited to a tasting. That is, a close inspection of the pant with a focus on the fabric, manufacture, hand, details, and authenticity. A 1-100 point scale was used for five categories: Most Traditional, Most Original, Best Dress Chino, Best Khaki and Best Overall.
Winner for Most Traditional is the Bullard Field Pant by Bills Khakis. (Larrimor’s carries Bills Khakis, contact your sales associate!) A whopping 10.2 ounce twill, authentic yet simple design and details that remind me of khakis issued at Ft Jackson; seam on seam pockets – high rise – wide belt loops. I can’t wait to see what these look like with heavy starch.
Robert Bryan gave the Bullard a 97 commenting, ” washed fabric, heavy trad, high rise, authentic khaki.” G. Bruce Boyer gave the Bullard a 98 and noted, ” best fabric + color, standard styling; well made; most authentic.” No tags were left on the pant to give away it’s maker or origins and so the Bullard won on its own merits (and weight) with the consensus afterwards that while some entrants tried, “too hard for authenticity” the Bullard kept it simple and pure.
I’d say the Pennsylvania terroir contributes to a beautiful hand feel while the twill shows nice legs. This is a huge khaki that reminds me of Silver Oak’s Napa Valley release. It comes on big and the finish lasts forever. No need to decant. Pairs well with a rib eye at Peter Luger. At $165, this is a special occasion khaki but unlike $100 Silver Oak, you can open the Bullard more than once.
And even though Nordstroms (and probably the French) will tell you not to cuff plain front khakis — I say cuff these babies big time. An inch and a half is perfect.”
Photos and text via The Trad