Dear Maker of Khakis:

It has come to my attention that a number of designers, executives and creative directors in the apparel industry read this blog. Therefore I’d like to address you directly with an idea for how to get a quick sales spike this fall with an otherwise quotidian commodity item like khakis.

Put a buckle in the back.

Sometime around 1956, khakis with a buckle in the back became a huge trend among the young and collegiate. A useless and trifling furbelow, the buckled khaki hit the market like a starting pistol launching young men in a race to be the first on their block with a pair.

Buckled chinos (or Heiney Binders, or whatever you decide to call them) have come up in my interview with Bruce Boyer, and most recently in the J. Press interview and “Tea and Sympathy” posts below. An old discussion of back buckles was also recently resuscitated on Andy’s Trad Forum.

Designers, manufacturers, retailers: The American man has spoken, and he wants to see the return of khakis with a buckle in the back. Will he pay $10 more for it? Of course he will: Fashion demands it, and fashion is a tyrant.

You don’t even need to alter the pattern of the ones you’re already making. Simply have your patternmaker create the specs for the buckle and tab and e-mail it to your factory. Approve the sample ASAP (no need for a hard sample for such a small addition; just approve the 3-D virtual sample), and you can have buckled chinos in stores this fall accompanied by marketing fanfare.

Do it today. It’ll be good for America.


Christian Chensvold

PS: And now an open post-script to readers: Use the leave-comment feature to put the following companies in the order in which you think they will bring out khakis with a buckle in the back. You can put them in three categories: Yes, before Christmas; Yes, but next spring, or No, will not introduce them before next spring. If you’re right, I’ll personally make sure you get a pair.

a) Brooks Brothers

b) Ralph Lauren

c) LL Bean

d) J. Crew

e) The Gap

f) Lands’ End

g) Dockers

h) Abercrombie & Fitch

i) Orvis

j) Old Navy

k) Uniqlo

l) Target