Yesterday evening I was meeting one of my childhood friends and her lovely family for dinner. They were visiting from overseas and since they were going to be in the Union Square area, we ended up deciding that Westfield Mall would be a great please to meet up and then pick a location.
Being not from around here (San Francisco), they got lost a little and that gave me an opportunity to walk around the mall. I had nothing in particular I needed except I had a few minutes to kill. For some odd reason I ended up in the Dockers’ company store. I say odd because I don’t wear Dockers’ pants – chinos or otherwise. My formal trousers are either Canali or custom made. And since I don’t need more than three pairs – gray, black and blue – I am okay splurging on these.
For everyday pants, I often order stuff from J. Crew, which has been consistently making great chinos. Sometimes when I am feeling adventurous I would buy casual pants from Brooks Brothers, but for me J.Crew is best value for money. What more they hem the pants to my exact specifications for free, which allows the pants to be a better fit.
Anyway, back to Dockers, a brand owned by Levi Strauss – I walked around the store and found a great pair of chinos that are just outstanding. I am not sure how they are going to stand the rigors of time, but the K-1 straight fit pants I tried out were perhaps the best fitting pants I have ever slipped on this year.
“Based on a vintage military pant from our archives, we included an authentic button fly and combat-ready cotton twill,” is how the company describes these pants that can set you back by about $68-a-pair. It is the unbelievable soft three-ply cotton twill that got me, and I was also taken in by the hook-and-eye front closure and the button fly. The only thing that doesn’t meet my standards – the deep front pockets, which look odd after you slip a blackberry and a bill fold.
Nevertheless, there is something timeless about these pants, reflecting a bygone era. Being a bit of a nostalgia-buff, I like these contemporary-spins on older fashions.
Beyond the K-1, it seems Dockers has updated the look of its entire line-up of pants, many of them priced right for today’s down economy, like $38 for a basic white shirt. I think it might be worth a visit, next time you are shopping for a pair of chinos.