Lands’ End Spring Chino with Double Flap Pockets

Lands’ End has released a new pant called the Spring Chino that features double-flap pockets in the rear.

It’s a detail I wrote about previously, having spied them in the 1984 prepsloitation flick “Making the Grade”:

Curious about the origins of double flaps and how they might fit in the Preppy/Ivy/Trad/Americana pantheon, I asked around. Here’s what Bruce Boyer had to say:

The influence of back pocket flaps is military, and I remember seeing many family photos from World War II showing uniform trousers with flaps. I like the look of flaps, but can’t wear them because I think my posterior’s thick enough already.

There’s a history of flaps on the side pockets of Western trousers, and even a tendency for English tailors to put a flap on the waist-seam change pocket. Since WW II these flaps come and go merely as style trends, as far as I can see.

Hmm, no campus connection. Richard Press agreed: He has no recollection of double flaps being part of the Ivy League Look during the heyday.

Next I tried Ivy Style’s Elder Statesman Bill Stephenson, who had this to say:

My khakis had double flaps in the Air Force. But my impression is that the double flaps originally started with hunting clothing. Much prep stuff comes from hunting garb, so probably a merger of the two. LL Bean boots morphed from the hunting world to the prep world. You see a lot of Bean hunting boots on PJ Clark customers, who have never been closer to the hunting world than the Bronx Zoo.

You might remember a superb brand of luggage and outdoor clothing called Hunting World,” originally designed for hunting types. It migrated rapidly to the jitney leaving for the Hamptons in the summer. Barbour outerwear started with hunters and equestrian types before become part of the trad genre.

It would seem that hunters/outdoors types preferred double flaps to keep contents secure in the field. To my knowledge, preps never insisted on them, as they did with cuffs, and plain front trousers.

Stephenson then said he owns a pair of these LL Bean chinos.

So military and hunting origins, and as everything in menswear ultimately serves a utilitarian purpose, the notion that flaps were added to keep pocket contents secure sounds pretty reasonable.

So the double-flapped trousers in “Making the Grade” suggests the outdoorsy, LL Bean-Lands’ End aspect of  prepdom, rather than the campus, country club or business dress.

Lands’ End also features double flaps on its new Cotton Linen Herringbone Shorts. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

12 Comments on "Lands’ End Spring Chino with Double Flap Pockets"

  1. Around 1985, I remember Lands’ End khaki pants had the two flap pockets, so I don’t think this is new to them. I wore their pants almost exclusively around that time. They cost about $ 25-30 back then, which was a good bargain on quality pants.

    My US Army khakis from 1971 did have the two flaps, but I remember seeing pants without them. The government surely used different vendors, for some pants also had button flies and others had zippers. All my pants had buttons. The olive drab fatigues all had button flaps, but some had zippers and others buttons. I can recall sergeants ripping the buttons off guys’ unbuttoned shirt and pants pockets. What insanity. A couple of years ago, I got to chatting with a recruiting officer at a car wash, and the BDUs of today have velcro, instead of buttons. I don’t know whether khaki uniforms are even issued today. Cheers!

  2. Double flapped pockets wear everywhere in the early 80’s.

  3. Filson tin and cover cloth pants have double flaps, so I guess Mr. Stephenson is right.

  4. Interesting how some posts generate so many responses and some generate so few.

  5. There has to be something to weigh in on and debate in order to generate comments. Product posts serve a certain purpose, but there’s not much to take issue with.

  6. H.K. Rahman | April 10, 2011 at 3:25 pm |

    I like this look. What I don’t understand is the single flap pocket. I’ve seen single flaps on both Dockers and RL chinos in the past couple of years, and it just looks bizzare and unbalanced.

    If anyone buys the Lands End ones pictured, please comment on the cut. I am not too big a fan of their “traditional” fit; too wide in the bottom for my taste.

  7. Bellavista | April 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm |

    @H.K. Rahman

    Thank God that LE still produces a traditional fit.
    A gigolo fit is widely available from other manufacturers.

  8. Bill Stephenson | April 11, 2011 at 3:36 am |

    My uneducated guess is the flap first appeared on the pocket where most men cary their wallet. (Could be a tip off to pick pockets, I guess.)

    The fit issue is a good reason to find a net source that makes more than one cut. We are usually different sizes, and “one size fits all” usually doesn’t work.

    Bills’ makes three cuts. Experiment until you find the one that works.

    It’s fashionable to beat up on LLB, but they have three distinctively different cuts: natural; classic; and neo anorexic, or some such. If you want, get one of each, and send the two that don’t work back to Freeport.

    Once you find the one that works, it seems that their cut is relatively consistent.

    Not familiar with LE, but the problem may be that they make one cut only, and it is too full for Mr Rahman. I guess you could go to Sears and try them on in advance, to see if they make anything that works for you. If nothing works, the tool department is always fun to poke around in. You usually find some tool that you didn’t know existed, that you realize that you can’t live without. Not a wasted trip.

  9. Alas for the decline of the sharp khaki era of Army uniforms… Even Abbott and Costello looked good. I joined in 1985, at the tail end of the OD “pickle suit,” but all tan was already long gone. Now on my fourth uniform, velcor and function rule, but without much panache. Even the old dress green Class A has skipped the retro khaki era and gone straight back to blue (intentionally, btw, as the traditional color of the army uniform for the first century and a quarter of our history).

    However, true prep is a state of mind and a worldview of service, and I will gladly wear whatever they issue, for as long as they will let me.

    And you younger set can still join the Navy if you want to mix service with a preppy sartorial sense — khaki everywhere.

    Side note: there is a young man in “Take Ivy,” in a library shot, with two-flap khakis.

    Regards to all, ken

  10. “velcro….” Sorry.

  11. They show unavailable on the website. Must be a spring release?

  12. Sorry. I just now realized that was a nearly 5 year old subject.

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