Va Au Diable: Go-To-Hell Pants In France

Paris-based contributor Matthew Benz, who recently wrote about Tommy Hilfiger’s “True Prep” pop-up prep experience, sent along this scan from the Mai/Juin issue of French men’s magazine Monsieur.

The copy discusses the “uniforme de WASP en vacances;” the phrase “go-to-hell” as coined by Tom Wolfe (“toujours vetu de blanc“); and “les pantalons flashys des Bostoniens… brodés de petits motifs évoquant la Nouvelle Angleterre.” — CC

38 Comments on "Va Au Diable: Go-To-Hell Pants In France"

  1. Michael Mattis | May 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm |

    You know, if they offered a fleur de lys motif I might consider it.

  2. Christian | May 17, 2011 at 12:54 pm |

    We should come up with a list of French things they could embroider on their trousers:

    Instead of frogs, frog legs

    Instead of signal flags, white flags

    Instead of crossed golf clubs, crossed cigarettes

  3. Great idea Christian! Will embroidered a chino with some crossed french sticks or some wine bottles and St-Nectaire cheese! Hahaha
    Will start a new collection with you!

  4. Christian | May 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

    Ha, I was almost going to say we should ask Francis what he thinks!

    Please start a new collection of GTH pants with French-themed embroideries.

  5. Christian | May 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm |

    How about little noses pointed upwards?

  6. Guillotines.

  7. Christian | May 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm |

    Good one.

    The Eiffel Tower is an obvious choice.

  8. Imagine Serge Gainsbourg in the go-to-hell pants with the crossed cigarettes (Gitanes).

  9. Old School | May 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm |

    Des croissants, peut-être?

  10. crossed baguettes, berets stitched in multiple colors….

  11. RoyRPlatt | May 18, 2011 at 8:39 am |

    Pierre Laval, Admiral Darlan, Marshal Petain, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn

  12. Michael Mattis | May 18, 2011 at 10:43 am |

    I was told by the system that my one word comment was “a bit to short” so I added this intro…


  13. Ellington | May 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm |

    I’m going to hell for liking this posting! Oh well what the frog.

  14. Perfect FInancial Sector | May 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm |

    These are the sorts of pants that make long summer days on the golfcourse fly by. keep eyes on the greens or on bf’s superb sense of fashion <—-sigh*

  15. Maybe you should change the name of your blog to Cornball Preppy Style

  16. Michael Mattis | May 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm |

    @allen: Why do some people always seem to construe a trend post as an endorsement?

    Anyway, don’t be mean to the French with your white flag jokes. Yes, they surrendered to the Germans in 1940 but they had already lost 94,000 men in a few short months. It wasn’t for lack of courage, just poor planning and leadership.

  17. Gentleman Mac | May 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm |

    I believe these pants will only work in the color brown.

  18. In regards to the white flags:

    There have been 53 major wars in Europe

    France had been a belligerent in 49 of them.

    In 185 battles that France had fought over the past 800 years, their armies had won 132 times, lost 43 times and drawn only 10.

    Giving the French military the best record of any country in Europe

  19. Old School | May 18, 2011 at 8:29 pm |

    Am I to understand that “IBM Ivy” and “Cornball Preppy Style” represent the two extremes of the spectrum?

  20. I do not know what the big deal is regarding the French surrender to Germany in World War II. Austria, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg also surrendered, or to use a more sensitive term “capitulated” to the Germans. Like those countries, France really had no choice. They had put all their eggs in one basket (the Maginot Line) and the Germans did not even attempt to cross it. They took over Belgium instead and swooped into France from the North. France, unfortunately had no Plan B. Just like in poker, you have to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em…

    And let’s not forget that Germany and Japan both surrendered at the conclusion of the same war. Is it somehow more palatable to surrender to Americans than to Germans?

  21. For sale 200,000 French bolt-action rifles. Rarely used, slightly damaged, dropped once.

  22. Michael Mattis | May 19, 2011 at 6:00 am |

    Okay, Martin. That was the laugh out loud moment of the morning.

  23. RoyRPlatt | May 19, 2011 at 7:57 am |

    When the French army and navy was lead by aristocrats and gentlemen they sometimes actually won. The French haven’t done well militarily since their revolution, when they cut off the heads of all their proper officers, as well as cutting off the head of Lavosier, their greatest scientist. France became a third rate nation and the joke of the world when they exterminated their Preppy-Ivy-Trad population. There’s a lesson to be learned from this……

  24. A French army officer was talking with a British army officer, and asked him why the Brits wore red tunics. The Brit responded by saying hat if they were shot, they could keep fighting and no one would know that they had been shot, because the blood would not show.

    And so ever since that fateful conversation, French army pants have been brown.

  25. Gentleman Mac | May 20, 2011 at 4:58 am |

    @Henry: Thus my earlier reference to brown pants. I’m glad someone else knew the joke.

  26. Poking fun of the frogs has a long and honorable history among the English-speaking peoples, and I have greatly enjoyed this thread for that reason.

    But I’ll stick up for them as I would for any other member of Western civilization. I appreciate their enormous contributions to the arts, sciences, and more: Berlioz, Bizet, Braille, Cezanne, Chopin, Curie, Debussy, Degas, Descartes, Diesel, Foucault, Matisse, Monet, Offenbach, Pascal, Pasteur, Ravel, Satie, and many, many others.

    But I’ve never thought of picking on the pore lil’ cheese-eating surrender monkeys to be “macho.” That’s just weird.

  27. Christian | May 20, 2011 at 10:09 am |

    Ditto, Henry. If I were stuck on an island with the music, art and literature of only one nation, it would be France.

    Always fun to laugh at them, though:

  28. I’d think that pétanque balls or pastis bottles would be most in the spirit of the thing.

  29. Michael Mattis | May 20, 2011 at 10:32 am |

    He’s even funnier on Scotsmen:

  30. Christian | May 20, 2011 at 10:42 am |

    Yeah, the golf routine is hilarious.

  31. ZUT ALORS! Everything sounds better in French.

    I wish I could leave muggy Boston and visit the Polo store in Paris tout de suite.

  32. Robin Williams on the French:

  33. Boop McSnoot | July 11, 2019 at 12:40 pm |

    Just packed a few pairs of GTH trousers for a week back at the ancestral home in Maine, “en vacances” from New York City. Always welcome an opportunity to wear them.

  34. Old School Tie | July 11, 2019 at 5:39 pm |

    Garlic and onions. And make those pants “scratch n sniff” for added authenticity. To be fair, I have had a couple of lovely French girlfriends in the past and I am still in contact with my French pen-friend from school. They’re not that bad…..

  35. Trousers embroidered with little mimes, looking like Marcel Marceau?

    I wouldn’t wear critter pants with a patch madras jacket.

  36. I would like to see critter pants with geese on them instead of ducks. Foie gras.

  37. For those of us of French descent that live in the South, we just choose to believe our critter pants have crawfish on them rather than lobsters.

  38. Michael J. Lotus | July 24, 2019 at 4:23 pm |

    Yes, but, with CRAAAAZY pants a solid color blazer must be worn for balance. Always: 2 plain, 1 fancy.

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