You’re looking at the most underrated pair of khakis on the market.
Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed something interesting relating to these particular J.Crew chinos. After randomly talking to three people who work for three different clothing companies (who are not J.Crew) I began to notice a pattern. Curious, I had asked each of these people a simple question “who makes your pants?” One by one they all told me (in a hushed voice, seriously) that they are from J.Crew. It was almost as if these pants were some sort of speakeasy and they didn’t want the rumor to get out. I understand that they didn’t want to be seen as a defector, but this was an amusing situation considering we are talking about a pair of cotton pants.
All of the intrigue around these khakis led me to the J.Crew Liquor Store to take a look for myself. I ended up leaving with my own pair and have gone to wear them roughly 25 times in the span 30 days. I had to ask myself had I joined a secret club of amazing pants?
Produced under the Wallace & Barnes sub-label (which is J.Crew’s workwear slanted collection) these khakis are made from a narrow-loom Japanese selvedge fabric which is so rigid that it can basically stand on its own. The selvedge bit matters only if you are concerned with visible details at the cuff and the potential for quality that selvedge normally signals. To me selvedge is a nice to have, not a need to have. I’m more concerned with the fact that the fabric is so rigid, and in a way, raw. These pants are going to wear in like a pair of raw denim jeans, which is an attractive proposition for people like me who like to do the breaking-in themselves. (J.Crew is recommending 60 wears before washing and I would execute this method of care.)
The average guy who is looking for a worn-in and soft pair of pants does not understand these chinos at all. Though, the rigidness is exactly the aspect that makes them so appealing to me. I also appreciate the way the fit and stiffness of the cloth interact. It’s also just nice to know that for once you’re in on the secret.