Oldsport

Super Member
When you try on Chinos, are there some indicators you use to determine if they fit you the way you prefer? For example, pull material a mid-thigh and see if there is xx" of material, etc.

Also, if you were asked to write a catalog description for Chinos worn by college students in 1960s, what would you write? I see a lot of information on sites that discuss classic fits and such, but, most of those are too baggy for me. At my age, I don't need any help looking like a fogey. I like taking advantage of being thinner/athletic.

The reason I ask is that I am finding out that my perfect fit (even for Chinos, and my Wife finally won't complain about wearing them) is embodied in the Levi's 502 Jean fit. Oddly enough, and God help me, I just picked up a pair of the new Levi's XX Standard Taper Chinos and they seem to have to perfect fit for me. They are very casual though.

Thanks,

MC
 

drpeter

Senior Member
My own taste in cotton drill trousers -- Chinos and Khakis -- runs to somewhat wider legs than yours. I also like higher rises (11"), and bottoms which are 18" around (or 9" when laid flat and measured).
Bill's Khakis are ideal for me because they offer a variety of fits and styles. I have dozens of them, usually forward pleated or flat front, and featuring plain bottoms as well as turn-ups or cuffs. I also prefer the heavier, military-style weights in Khakis, although I have a number of trousers which are summer-weight poplin. For a somewhat more formal style, I like the English drill and poplin models put out by Ben Silver, again with the kind of fit and measurements described above.

Although I really like the texture and colour of denim, I find the generally tight fit of jeans rather uncomfortable, especially as I have grown older. My basic daily wear has almost universally been Khakis and Grey Flannels. Recently, I picked up a couple of pairs of old stock Lands' End jeans that have somewhat higher rises and looser legs, and these I find reasonably comfortable to wear.

As for a catalogue description of the 1960s college student style of Chinos, here is what I would write:

The material used in these versatile Chino trousers is medium to heavy weight (8-10 oz), 100% cotton drill cloth. Cut in a style reminiscent of World War II Army uniforms, these trousers have a neat silhouette and a trim fit, with a comfortable rise and medium-width cuffs. They feature a flat front and can be finished with plain bottoms or cuffs. The front pockets are slightly angled for ease of access, and there are two hip pockets at the back. Belt loops and a French fly with a strong zipper round out these classic trousers. Suitable for a variety of occasions, you can dress them up with a navy blazer, poplin shirt, and burgundy lace-up Oxfords, or dress them down with a lambswool sweater or tweed jacket, OCBDs, and Scotch-grain loafers. The neutral colours of these trousers -- British Khaki, Beige, and Stone -- permit an endless variety of colors and textures in sweaters and shirtings to be matched with them. And they wear like iron.

I would also recommend the excellent chapter on Khakis in Bruce Boyer's first book Elegance. He provides a number of basic details about the old-style khakis that constitute a fine introduction to Chinos and Khakis. I also have a strong personal association with them: As a young man, I did National Service in a paramilitary unit with the Indian Army, and Khakis were, of course, the essential uniform. Besides, they were invented in 19th century India, for camouflage in the desert landscape of the northwest frontier. In fact, the word khaki (pronounced khaaki ) comes from the Urdu/Hindi word khak, which means mud. Boyer describes this history rather nicely in his essay. So I wear them with a bit of pride in the old country!
 
Last edited:

August West

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I've yet to find my "perfect fit" chino, but with trial and error have learned how to come pretty close with alterations. I start with a higher rise chino. Anything that sits below the waist on me = big time ball crushers. Jack Donnelly original fits, one such example. With those, I need to have the seat taken in, and have them tapered to a hair under 8 inches at the leg opening with 1.5 inch cuffs. The end result is pretty near drpeter's wonderful catalog description.

Dr Peter, as to jeans, try the Levis 541 fit. I had completely moved away from jeans until I saw a post on Ivy Style about them. They sit at the waist, but have a tapered leg so as to avoid the dreaded "dad jean" look.
 

DeltaTango

Starting Member
Hello! I posted this earlier to a thread from 2017, so it might not be viewed... posting a portion of it here w/r to the Khakis I recommend!:.....

I too am a long time fan of Bills, when they were long ago in in Reading, PA. Still have a few. However, recently I've gotten 9.5 oz, heavy/thick, all cotton khakis form Orvis. Love them! VERY comparable to the original Bills. I purchase two at a time when they have the promotion. save $50.

Per their add: "Our exclusive two-ply 9.5-oz. twill is more substantial than that of ordinary khakis, so they hold up longer. Yet they undergo our perfected prewash for the soft, broken-in fit and feel you love, right from the start. Just like the khakis your father or grandfather wore."

I get mine laundered and starched, so they are heavy and stiff, ( I was in the army when we had starched cotton fatigues and Khakis) . Eventually, I let the older Orvis khakis get machine washed at home and they are buttery soft after a few years of wear and the starch washes out!

I might add, I am ordering a pair of shorts, $99, from O'Connells in NY; they sound decent.
Along the lines on classic cotton items - may I recommend Proper Cloth for a decent ($85 ish) OCBD shirt!
 

drpeter

Senior Member
I've yet to find my "perfect fit" chino, but with trial and error have learned how to come pretty close with alterations. I start with a higher rise chino. Anything that sits below the waist on me = big time ball crushers. Jack Donnelly original fits, one such example. With those, I need to have the seat taken in, and have them tapered to a hair under 8 inches at the leg opening with 1.5 inch cuffs. The end result is pretty near drpeter's wonderful catalog description.

Dr Peter, as to jeans, try the Levis 541 fit. I had completely moved away from jeans until I saw a post on Ivy Style about them. They sit at the waist, but have a tapered leg so as to avoid the dreaded "dad jean" look.
Thank you for the kind words, August West. I'll check out the 541 jeans you recommend.
 

drpeter

Senior Member
Hello! I posted this earlier to a thread from 2017, so it might not be viewed... posting a portion of it here w/r to the Khakis I recommend!:.....

I too am a long time fan of Bills, when they were long ago in in Reading, PA. Still have a few. However, recently I've gotten 9.5 oz, heavy/thick, all cotton khakis form Orvis. Love them! VERY comparable to the original Bills. I purchase two at a time when they have the promotion. save $50.

Per their add: "Our exclusive two-ply 9.5-oz. twill is more substantial than that of ordinary khakis, so they hold up longer. Yet they undergo our perfected prewash for the soft, broken-in fit and feel you love, right from the start. Just like the khakis your father or grandfather wore."

I get mine laundered and starched, so they are heavy and stiff, ( I was in the army when we had starched cotton fatigues and Khakis) . Eventually, I let the older Orvis khakis get machine washed at home and they are buttery soft after a few years of wear and the starch washes out!

I might add, I am ordering a pair of shorts, $99, from O'Connells in NY; they sound decent.
Along the lines on classic cotton items - may I recommend Proper Cloth for a decent ($85 ish) OCBD shirt!
I too prefer my heavy khakis laundered with a fair bit of starch, and well-ironed, very evocative of the old military style of knife-edged front creases (and of course mirror-polished toe-caps on our ammunition boots). I can still remember the drill sergeant screaming into the face of some hapless fellow who happened to have "bad turnout".

Khaki shorts were also de rigueur in warm climates. I have a couple of pairs of French Foreign Legion surplus shorts that are very tough and very nice.
 

DeltaTango

Starting Member
drpeter ...
Khaki shorts were also de rigueur in warm climates. I have a couple of pairs of French Foreign Legion surplus shorts that are very tough and very nice. ...
Sir, I’d love to have your connection to FFL surplus shorts! I have one pair of very old US Army issue khaki shorts from my dad ( he served active duty 1942-‘72), with button front; they are so soft and wearing quite thin now, I’m afraid to wear them anymore, for fear of seams “fading away”!

I’ve had no luck in locating surplus issue shorts, or even long legs, that I could cut off to make shorts! So, would appreciate any leads of surplus khakis.

I do have one old pair of Dutch army cotton khakis from a buddy I served with... we traded: a pair of his khakis for a pair of my camouflage pants! They Have a unique sleeve inside the pants along the pocket seam-used for inserting a ‘billy club’!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

drpeter

Senior Member
Sir, I’d love to have your connection to FFL surplus shorts! I have one pair of very old US Army issue khaki shorts from my dad ( he served active duty 1942-‘72), with button front; they are so soft and wearing quite thin now, I’m afraid to wear them anymore, for fear of seams “fading away”!

I’ve had no luck in locating surplus issue shorts, or even long legs, that I could cut off to make shorts! So, would appreciate any leads of surplus khakis.

I do have one old pair of Dutch army cotton khakis from a buddy I served with... we traded: a pair of his khakis for a pair of my camouflage pants! They Have a unique sleeve inside the pants along the pocket seam-used for inserting a ‘billy club’!
I bought those FFL shorts several years ago on eBay. I did not save the information about the seller, since it looked very much like a one-off deal. You can keep checking eBay. Currently there are one or two FFL uniform items, but no shorts.

One good online source that specializes in vintage military clothing from all over the world is Broadway & Sons, located here (I can't give you any further information since I have not bought anything from them):


You could send them a query by clicking on Contact on their webpage. They currently have British Army pleated shorts (white drill), shown here for Euro 39 -- not too bad). They get consignments in limited numbers, so frequent checking is the way to go.


Searching thrift shops would also be good -- I have found many foreign military pieces in such places for a few dollars apiece, much cheaper than almost any other source.

Bonne chance!
 

richard warren

Senior Member
I wouldn’t worry about looking like an old fogey. A good part of the reason old fogeys might look bad is not the clothes but what is in them. If you are young and in good shape, you wil not look like a fogey even if you try. If you get a pair of straight, untapered pants, and your waist is small, the legs will be small also. That’s how us fogeys rolled back in the day before our waist size dictated that a pair of straight pants would have shall we say excess material in the legs.

It has occurred to me that tapered pants serve mostly to give an illusion or maybe delusion to young people (who seem to be the target customer) with large stomachs (which seem to be getting more common) that they are slimmer than would be indicated by a pair of straight pants sized in proportion to said stomachs. All too often it has the opposite effect of emphasizing the bulge in the middle.

So, situation normal. Skinny people can wear what they want and look good. Others have to suffer from fashions by which they are probably ill served.
 

drpeter

Senior Member
Alas, these days pretty much all of Levi's jeans are stitched outside of the USA....such seems the nature of the beast! :(
Yes, I suspected as much! Maybe I can also look at thrift shops to see if they might have Made in USA versions of these jeans from the pre-lapsarian period in our sartorial history. Or maybe that period is too close to the pre-Cambrian?
 

DeltaTango

Starting Member
I bought those FFL shorts several years ago on eBay. I did not save the information about the seller, since it looked very much like a one-off deal. You can keep checking eBay. Currently there are one or two FFL uniform items, but no shorts.

One good online source that specializes in vintage military clothing from all over the world is Broadway & Sons, located here (I can't give you any further information since I have not bought anything from them
):

Thank for the link to Broadway & sons.... actually, I should contact them and see if are interested in buying any of my old army clothing!! I have looked on ebay to no luck; partially since I am a large size.
 

August West

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
By the way, are the Levi's 541 jeans made in the USA? Or made somewhere abroad?
I have 2 pair of miUSA Levis 541's from a few years back. I don't know if they are still available though. They were made with Cone Mills denim, the company has since gone out of business.
 

frankmartin

New Member
Dearborn Denim jeans are made in the USA. They are stretchy (like Levis 541) and reasonably priced at about $65 per pair. There's apparently a sale on right now. They also hem to order which is great for me as I have an odd numbered inseam. I really like their dark stretch jeans. I do not care for their khaki colored jeans. My favorite pair is the Tailored Fit Dark Wash V2 which are dark (obviously) and do not have contrast stitching.


Not only do they hem to order, you can return them if you don't like them.
They also tell you where their denim comes from.
 
Last edited:

Patrick06790

Connoisseur
I'm not a jeans guy but I did take a shot at Dearborn and they're not bad.

My go-to chino now is the Orvis. They are tough pants.

But I have stacks of chinos -- Lands End, which goes up and down in quality and fit over the years, and old Bill's.

Many are cuffed but lately I've been opting for the plain hem. Not sure why.

Some of them are probably ready for the transition to fish pants, or for oblivion at the thrift shop.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
I'm not a jeans guy but I did take a shot at Dearborn and they're not bad.

My go-to chino now is the Orvis. They are tough pants.

But I have stacks of chinos -- Lands End, which goes up and down in quality and fit over the years, and old Bill's.

Many are cuffed but lately I've been opting for the plain hem. Not sure why.

Some of them are probably ready for the transition to fish pants, or for oblivion at the thrift shop.
Are you referring to the Orvis Ultimate Chinos. If so, I heartily agree with your assessment as to the durability of same. Orvis Ultimate Chinos are indeed "TimexChinos"...they take a licking and keep on ticking, for seemingly forever! LOL. ;)
 

Patrick06790

Connoisseur
^ Yes. I got the regular ones first, then the slightly less voluminous model, which the ever-optimistic ad copy describes as "trim fit."

Only in comparison with the regular can they be considered "trim."

Think difference between Bill's M1 and M2.
 
Your email address will not be publicly visible. We will only use it to contact you to confirm your post.

IMPORTANT: BEFORE POSTING PLEASE CHECK THE DATE OF THE LAST POST OF THIS THREAD. IF IT'S VERY OLD, PLEASE CONSIDER REGISTERING FIRST, AND STARTING A NEW THREAD ABOUT THIS TOPIC.