The Superlative Khaki – Andover Shop’s Essex Pant

Editor’s Note:  These are in stock.  record needle scratch  No, for real, in stock.  No waiting until Thanksgiving, no only-size-we-have-fits-your-kid.  In stock.  Now.  For real.  

These are khakis that you can build your entire wardrobe around.

My first professional writing gig was for an investor relations company, which, in a branding blown tire of the imagination, named themselves The Investor Relations Company.    The bad news was that this was a pool of very, very serious writers with an even more grave editor.  It was competitive, modeled after the writers’ room on Saturday Night Live.  That’s not a metaphor.  The editor literally fashioned his system after the writers’ room on Saturday Night Live, complete with having to pull at least one all nighter a week, pitching and stealing each other’s ideas, etc.  The editor’s name was Lindsley.  What Lindsley did not factor in was that the writers on SNL had laughter as an exit ramp from the strain.  Lindsley allowed no laughing by means of his own countenance, thus no exit ramp.

There were two bits of good news, though.  The first was that Lindsley was a cigar smoker and we could smoke in the office.  All day.  Like all cigar smokers, Lindsley was easily “influenced” if you gave him a cigar, and he was Ebeneezerly (not a word give me a break I am the creative around here) tight-fisted so a cheap cigar worked just as well.   The second bit of good news was that Lindsley, a most unlikely mentor, gave me the best bit of writing advice I ever got.  I handed him a press release I wrote, he read it while I stood there, then he handed it back and said, “That is the worst thing I have ever read in this office.”  You don’t start losing testosterone til your 40’s so I answered, “How can that possibly be?”  And he said, “I don’t even know what this is about.”  Then…

“What are you trying to say?” Lindsley glared.

“<whatever the subject of the press release was, give me a break, this was like ‘86>,” I answered.

“Then… say THAT.”

So here is what I have to say about the pants I am wearing today, the Essex from the Andover Shop.

These khakis are so good I refuse to roll them up.

Here’s a link.  Take a look.  I made it open a new window so you can swap your gaze between the uber-khaki and this page.  Go ahead and open it.  I’ll wait.

Let’s get the specs out of the way, so you know what to expect.

1.     Plain front (of course) with on seam front pockets.  I have seen other pants take a shot at this on seam deal and two bad things can happen.  Either (1) the pocket is SO on seam that it is hidden, and you look like you are wearing a cheap Italian sports car or (2) it misses the seam and looks like it belongs in the Flawed bin.  Or just a bin.  These pockets are on seam which adds to the energy that you did not just pick out the first pair of khakis that you saw this morning, but the way they are constructed both you and the-person-admiring-your-khakis will know you have pockets.

2.    Two back pockets with horn button through closure.  Here’s a photo of that:

So I asked around. Do people really notice buttons on back pockets? I mean, are they looking? Yes. So I asked why I never see anyone checking the buttons on my back pocket and the answer was “because you have no… back pocket.”

This is the pocket feel I was talking about, and these are the horn buttons.  It is hard for Ivy to communicate success, it is a humble style, and most elements on an Ivy piece that try to do so look immediately out of place.  These buttons are one of the few elements that I have ever seen do both – plant one foot in the Ivy sobriety side  and the other foot in the These-pants-ain’t-Old-Navy side.

3.      Bull nose fly.  What’s a bull nose fly?  It’s got a rounded edge, and feels better, and lies better.

4.      Unfinished bottoms so you can tailor them.

5.      10 oz combed cotton which is heavy but not daunting.  These pants hold a crease for real if you want one, but re not a suit of armor either. Mine are creased.  I am wearing creased khakis.  That is how good these are.

6.      They are made in the USA.  Massachusetts to be exact.

7.      They are handmade in the USA.  Massachusetts to be exact.

8.     They are handmade for real handmade not hands pushing them into a machine handmade, in the USA, Massachusetts to be exact.

A quick review of why handmade is something important.   It moves and hangs better.  The way that food made by a chef with their hands tastes better, except this you can see and feel.

I am not saying the Essex Pant tastes good.

But I have to show you these up close.    Here are the pants in my office.  I am about to meet with C Level management at Amazon who wants to buy Ivy-Style.  Ok, I am not about to meet anybody. But if I were, look at these pants.  They are the perfect walk in between a suit and just pants.  Actually…

A word on that last point.  The Essex is the only khaki I have seen that has the pedigree to pull off both applications equally well.  You crease these, like mine, and they hold up to any tie and jacket combo you can throw at them.  You let them run around in the dryer a bit, and they are the khakis that tell people you are casual but not lazy.

 

In my office this morning. That’s an Andover shirt, too. No, that’s not Taylor Swift playing. Ok. That’s Taylor Swift playing. She just released a 10 minute version of All Too Well and I don’t care, she is a genius. Nights and weekends when I play out that is one of my two rants. (1) Mental Health Management and (2) Taylor Swift is underrated.

 

 

This is not me in the photo.  I don’t wear checked or plaid shirts because I can’t pull them off.  The rest of you, it seems, can.  If you click on this photo you will learn more about these khakis, which are… wait for it… in stock.

Here is the on-seam pocket.  See what I mean?  The design is right down the middle, elegant enough to wear with a jacket, khaki enough to wear with everything else.    Click on the photo to see The Essex over at Andover.

The perfect pocket. The photographed it empty, and I used to wonder why marketers didn’t photograph more real life situations then I did the math on college tuition and the now-proposed “gap year” and realized empty pockets ARE a real life situation.  Click on the photo, and buy real pants.

 

The interior.  Pretty on the inside.  Click on the photo to see The Essex over at Andover.

 

Oh, you noticed that is a 36 that used to be a 42?

 

The whole shebang.  Click on the photo to see The Essex over at Andover.

 

There’s this old joke about what chairs would look like if your knees bent the other way.

 

 

About the price.  First, yes, these are not cheap.  Which is the point, they are not cheap.  These pants were not made with chemicals that you can find elsewhere in khaki production that both harm the earth and aid in the erosion of the pant over time.  How old are you?  32?  Our site analytics say the odds are that you are 32.  Buy these pants.  You will have them, in good form, when you are 72.  What’s 40 into 235?  It’s about $5.90 a year.   These are the khakis you pay a premium for, to support your country’s economy, to get the premium… everything, because its ANDOVER, and because these pants will outlive you, oh average aged Ivy-Style reader.

Next week I will show you these in a few other applications, but for now, your collection deserves a centerpiece.

39 Comments on "The Superlative Khaki – Andover Shop’s Essex Pant"

  1. JB from what I can see on my end you are right in that they do look one step up from khakis. They look professional on you. What are the shoes? I am heading to the site to grab a pair this afternoon.

    • Florsheim that predate… probably you. I should have cleaned them up for the photo. And do treat yourself. It was like the WOCBD review. You need at least one Andover, and you need an Andover khaki too.

  2. HELLyes, DAMNED-STRAIGHT,
    BY-GOD
    YES.*

    *(I approve).

  3. These trousers do look pretty swell, though the price is steep. Can you compare them to J. Press khakis? I’ve never owned a pair of those, but they seem like a good option. I had a pair of O’Connell’s khakis, and while the quality was great the fit did not work for me.

  4. Barry Carter | June 22, 2022 at 11:41 am | Reply

    Interesting, if was looking for khakis. However, I just bought 4 pair of Clark khakis from BB and have a bunch of bulletproof Orvis khakis in the closet. So I have a plethora of khakis. I do have a question though: Why doesn’t the vendor also show us a picture of the interior front of the pants? I’m always more interested in how a pair of pants button, the length of the zipper and the rise. (Most pants don’t have a long enough rise imo.) After that, I like a good curtain waistband.
    These trousers look great on you, John. Wear them in health.🧔👍🦉

    • I’ll second that: I’m always hesitant to buy a pair of pants online when there isn’t a photo of the front rise and the inner waistband. It’s also nice to be able to see whether there’s a tab closure (admittedly more of a dress trouser feature, but still nice to have on chinos).

  5. Those look like some great pants! It’s also nice to see the Andover Shop’s website has been overhauled, updated, and streamlined since I last looked at it.

  6. As a native Bay Stater, I’m filled with pride to know that menswear is not just made in the USA, but made *well* here.

    I’m starting to save money so that I can pick up a pair of these khakis, along with some Alden Cordovan wingtips, and a Joseph Abboud suit.

  7. They look great. Are you planning on doing comparisons like you did with the WOCBDs? (While I’m sure these are fairly priced, they are definitely outside my price range.)

  8. Echoing others: they look fantastic, and I have no doubt that they’re worth every penny. But that’s an awful lot of pennies. For khakis.

    PS – Taylor Swift is, indeed, a songwriting genius. Not to mention a cold-blooded shark of a businesswoman.

  9. Hey JB,

    Those khakis might be just the ticket, and would look great paired with James’ Magee Donegal in the fall. and if they last 40 years…

    I have a pair of Florsheim beef-roll pennies just like those. That’s the look.

    Speaking of loafers, I have a pair of mid-80’s Florsheim black kidskin tassel loafers. Real kidskin, not plastic, with glove leather lining. MJ dancing shoes. I wore them to work a lot, in all kinds of weather. They are not Ivy at all IMO, but, will make excellent bedroom slippers.

  10. The price tag —

    There are good reasons to buy made-in-the-U.S.A. goods. Plenty. And there are very good reasons to support a stand-alone shop like The Andover Shop–lots. And let’s recall that Ivy– (well, the good stuff)– was never cheap. Never. I could reference the price of, say-for-example, a Norman Hilton blazer circa 1965, but I won’t. It will suffice to suggest that if Ivy is about quality and quality always carries a higher price tag (it does), then you can feel good about yourself for paying a bit extra.

    If The Andover Shop, Ben Silver, O’ Connell’s and J. Press are gonna thrive, it’s up to us to support them. Buy small and local — and as locally-made as possible.
    Here endeth the sermon.

  11. Frederick J Johnson | June 22, 2022 at 3:53 pm | Reply

    They are great looking khakis, but are they really worth almost $200 more that similar from OC, JP or JD? I seriously doubt it.

  12. Randy Ventgen | June 22, 2022 at 5:50 pm | Reply

    They do look good. Long time with OConnells that wear well. Maybe when one wears out.

  13. Frederick Johnson | June 22, 2022 at 9:06 pm | Reply

    Ops a typo: $200 should have been “$100”, however my point still stands.

  14. Lawrence, MA. Ah. Those of us who recall the old, days-of-yore Southwick/Grieco Bros. are paying close attention. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the manufacturer is using the old Southwick factory building–or perhaps even worked for Southwick.

    The lion’s share of U.S.A.-made pants are either Hertling or All American Khakis (I’m a fan of both) —

    — there’s more to the story of these great looking pants. I’ll order a pair tomorrow.

  15. @ Mitchell

    That’s right chum. Save your money and buy quality. The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.

    If they’ve got ’em is my size chums, I’m gonna be getting a few pairs. But quality when you can ol’chums.

  16. Sorry chums. I meant BUY quality.

  17. Woofter Boxer | June 23, 2022 at 7:48 am | Reply

    These definitely lòok a classic Chino, in comfortable Combed Cotton. Look to have  have all the benefits of comfort and durability, including the ability to hold a crisp pressed crease. They look like a year-round trouser. Love the plain front and medium rise. Best thing is they are proudly made in  in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Ivy is after all American. Let’s not forget that!

  18. A Fine Sad Man | June 23, 2022 at 8:28 am | Reply

    Perhaps, when all the hurly-burly’s done, we just accept that clothes have a huge amount of social significance. The WASP elite (whatever that amounted to) in the USA still has massive relevance
    FDR and Adlai Stevenson and JFK would have loved those kkakism
    The American influence might truly be on the rise. Count me in.

  19. Hi, I am one of the co-founders of LawrenceTrousers. We are appreciative and humbled that our khakis made such a strong impression. It was a proud moment reading to our hard-working craftspersons, the admiration 0f their work.

    We understand that the price point is an obstacle but please keep in mind that achieving this quality requires over 76+ process steps after cutting. In addition, the fabric chosen is of superior quality and weight. 90% of our sewers are former Southwick/Brooks Brothers staff and their years in premium garment manufacturing are in our organizational DNA.

    We are in the middle of the product development cycle in creating travel pants, with a modern classic look, and sturdy functionality at a lower price point.

    Please visit The Andover Shop when you can and see the quality of them in person.

    • Welcome Ed! Amazing work.

    • NaturalShoulder | June 24, 2022 at 6:27 pm | Reply

      I was not familiar with Lawrence Trousers until this update and will purchase a pair. As S.E. says, quality made goods are more expensive and the smaller manufacturers and retailers who carry the items we value need our support.

  20. Gibson Gardens | June 23, 2022 at 10:40 am | Reply

    Great look in the office, JB. Those khakis are reaĺly flexible. Genuinely smart casual. Can be smart or casual.

  21. Roy R. Platt | June 23, 2022 at 2:49 pm | Reply

    “How old are you? 32? Our site analytics say the odds are that you are 32. Buy these pants. You will have them, in good form, when you are 72.”

    I’m 75.

  22. Too bad they are not available in 35 or 37 waist.

  23. Oh, just saw Ed’s post.

    Bully for the Lawrence Trousers folks.

    Hertling will benefit from some competition. Free markets and such.

    Now if only they proceed with jacket tailoring.

  24. Modern classic is not an oxymoron, it’s a rather necessary aesthetic and cut for survival – Ivy and otherwise. Assuming the same rise and trimmer fit, modern classic is just a euphemism – as is “gentleman’s cut”, only one hasn’t let themselves go.

  25. Through great effort I am in a period of rapidly falling weight. Perhaps when I pass completely through my transition wardrobe a pair of these will be my reward.

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