Tea Time: Bills Khakis’ Younger, Trimmer Tea Label

Bills Tea2

Bills Khakis, an American brand that made its name with sturdy chinos based upon military khakis from the 1940s, has released a new line inspired by the early origins of khaki cloth itself.

The new line, Tea Label, is geared toward a younger customer seeking a trimmer fit. The Tea Label trousers have a lower rise and trimmer leg than the company’s mainline offerings, and fabrics are distressed, garment dyed, and faded, in pastel shades as well as classic khaki hues. The name itself is a reference to British soldiers using tea-staining to camouflage their uniforms during the 1840s.

Bills Tea

In addition to more standard-issue items, Bills Tea Label is offering trim-fitting shorts in Cramerton twills, tea-washed 5-pocket jeans, and tea-stained linen trousers. The line will also include button-down shirts in gingham, madras, and linen checks, as well as faded polos and t-shirts with the Tea Label logo.

Bills Tea1

While the company is actively seeking a younger market, Bills founder Bill Thomas says that the brand remains true to its roots and will not be swayed by the shifting winds of fashion. In an article for Philly.com, he says the new line constitutes an expansion of focus:

It’s important to be current and on target, but whatever way the breezes are blowing, we want to be pointed in one direction,” said Thomas, 52. “We aren’t going to get blown off the road because of what’s happening on the runway.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/living/style/20140312_Bills_Khakis_of_Reading_now_a_slimmer__hipper_must-have.html#1KJvUzcC6bThEUgJ.99

It’s important to be current and on target, but whatever way the breezes are blowing, we want to be pointed in one direction. We aren’t going to get blown off the road because of what’s happening on the runway. We are a touchstone of American values. We want our customers to identify with Bills Khakis on every level.

A selection of Tea Label is currently available for sale on the Bills Khakis website. — ZD

16 Comments on "Tea Time: Bills Khakis’ Younger, Trimmer Tea Label"

  1. I am surprised by the claims that Bill’s khakis fit better than Lands’ End or LL Bean khakis. I have found absolutely no difference, and–to be perfectly honest–wonder why khakis should fit well, to begin with.

  2. What a shame that Bill’s haven’t expended their energies and resources on making khakis that fit well instead of whatever this is. Don’t we already have the M3s to solve the problem of khakis with a rise designed for Ken Dolls with a smooth area complemented by an awkwardly pegged leg? What do these add to the picture, other than tea-bag puns?

    Bill’s purported great quality is meaningless when a 32″ pair of M2s easily contain enough fabric to mummify Precious once or twice. And you could make sails for an America’s Cup trimaran with a pair of M1s and have enough fabric left over to have a tailor make you a decent pair of pants. Perhaps this could be solved if Bill’s went into the big and tall market and started at a waist size 40″?

  3. The decline and fall of skinny pants is started.
    Read today an aticle on a Italian magazine that definine they “vulgars”.
    My fear is that now the crazy fashion pendulum can go on baggy pants.

  4. I think Bill just got swayed by fashion, but I’m glad he did!!!

  5. There are a million low-rise slim options, let us have ONE that is high-rise and slim!

  6. Will Bill’s ever make pants in size 28? I’d have a bunch of M1s if they did.

    Dan, John Simons might have what you’re looking for.

  7. Amen, Dan.

    Aizan, you must have a very strange build if you wear a 28 and M1s don’t look ridiculous on you. The legs on my M1s in a size 31 are equivalent to a size 38 – 40 in most brands.

  8. The fit on those first pair pictured is appalling! What the hell is happening in the crotch?!

  9. Dwdry, I’m 5’8”, 125lbs. One often reads posts on the internet such as, “I’m slim and need to wear slim clothes,” but I realized that this was not necessarily a good idea. The never-ending trend of slim clothing makes it difficult to find what I’m looking for.

    In the absence of a suitable American-made chino, I’ve resorted to Buzz Rickson’s. They look nice and traditional, not conspicuously baggy or anything like that. A 9.25” leg opening is fine by me.

  10. I miss the olden days when clothing became well worn & faded because you wore them for a few years & they didn’t come pre-worn like so many now.

  11. @ JWK I agree, of course. The pre-worn look makes everybody’s clothes look the same, and so unrelated to their lives or personalities.

    A related issue — if you see photos of a lot of people who work in the industry, such as the guys at The Armoury, their clothes are *always* brand new, even when they were them hard or nonchalantly. It looks like a costume because it never looks lived-in for more than a week. It’s more like the clothes are advertisements for the latest things in their shops.

  12. “… a lot of people who work in the industry… (wear) …clothes (that) are *always* brand new… It looks like a costume… more like the clothes are advertisements for the latest things in their shops.”

    That’s because their clothes ARE advertisements and/or class signaling devices.

    How long have you been visiting our planet @RJG? 🙂

  13. I always wanted to be wealthy for no other reason that I could pay the help to wear-out my clothing. WTF!

  14. @Mazama

    Clothing is indeed a class signaling device, which is why I suppose that I feel a bit ambivalent about people with decidedly non-WASP backgrounds trying to dress like WASPs. It’s almost like someone wearing a ranger tab on their army uniform just because they like how it looks, even though they didn’t actually go to ranger school.

    When I went to college (in the days of the Official Preppy Handbook), I was genuinely surprised to meet people who dressed like my high-school classmates did yet didn’t actually go to prep schools. And I recall thinking that I probably had a lot in common with certain people, and because they were just dressing the part, it turned out that I actually didn’t. When I was 18 and still trying to figure out the sort of social relationships that we now take for granted, that was more than a bit confusing.

    And for the same reason, I also feel (note that this means that it’s just an emotional reaction, and perhaps totally without a rational basis) a bit ambivalent about people who search the internet and thrift shops to find clothing that they otherwise couldn’t afford – when they wear it, it’s almost as it they’re engaged in a form of lying about who they are.

    But this doesn’t bother me like it used to. Growing up seems to help put that sort of stuff in the right perspective (although I don’t think that my mother ever attained that level of enlightenment).


    My older son, who is muscular and athletic, wears M1s and they fit him quite well, so there are definitely some people who the style is good for. I remember being astounded by that because M1s are like a tent on me. (On the other hand, my younger son, also muscular and athletic, although much, much thinner, needs to wear J. Crew slim-fit pants to not look fairly ridiculous.)

  15. @ Mazama I only just landed and everything looks so strange! :–)

  16. I like Bill’s quality and temper their roomy 40s era fit with a taper from the shop I purchase them from. They’re not trim, but the fit is acceptable. I tried the M3s and thought the rise was too low. The Tea Label probably isn’t for me.

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