21 May 2010

Chino Tasting- Best Overall



Trad Dad 1st Row Far Left

Dad's Khakis

Bills Khakis
The Bullard

We all bring baggage to everything we do and I certainly have a Mayflower truck following me. The desire to find anything today made with the quality of yesterday is what I strive for with The Trad. My taste and passions may not be yours and that doesn't make me right and you wrong. Until it comes to khakis.

I was surprised when my taste level in a simple cotton pant lined up with the judge's assesment of the Bullard by Bills Khakis. Easily taking the high score of 97.5, there has been a complaint from a contestant that they too could build a decent khaki for $165. Maybe.

When I pitched the chino tasting to a contestant I mentioned throwing some ringers in the mix. A 1970's US Army khaki and a 1950's French Army khaki. The maker emailed me asking for clarification. Did I want cotton or wool? Their khaki expert Googled my ringers and the description was for wool not cotton. I assured the maker I was looking for cotton.

I'm not a khaki expert. But Bill Thomas is. He didn't so much create the Bullard as much as he took an American traditon and improved it. Thomas didn't choke it to death with bogus details but by keeping it simple and pure he created a khaki better than any I've ever seen or worn. Better than what was issued to me at Ft Jackson, SC in 1976.

A Master Sergeant told me, "It's not what you do in life that makes you a man. It's what you don't let people take away from you." At the risk of sounding like a J. Peterman ad - I think that defines the Bullard.

13 comments:

TRAWETS NILTGEOV said...

Ha! Flirted with Bill's khakis via David Morgan's online shop, but the price (I can get a Filson mackinaw bib on eBay for less) has kept our relationship on hold.

Fantastic quotation from your MS. Smells a little too much like my deceased grandfather.

D.P. said...

Have owned several pairs of Bill's Khakis over the years and always been less than thrilled with their overall quality after a few washings...They just never held up as well as better quality Polo khakis....The $165 price tag seems totally out of line with the basic quality of the garment -- not bad but way over-hyped in terms of actual value.

DPHF

Peter Wilborn said...

I assume this is the M1? I have many pairs of Bills and prefer the M1 to the M2 because of the rise. When M2 fall to the hips they can be too sloppy, not at all GI. M1s are worn up on the true waist. Even though M1s are looser, they are less baggy than M2s. M2 are neither here nor there. Not a good compromise.

tintin said...

Stew- I hear ya. It's a big pop but I think they're worth it.

DP - That's totally unacceptable. Email Bill Thompson here:

customerservice@billskhakis.com

Tell him you paid $165 for his khaki and you're not satisfied. Then report back here. If Thompson doesn't make it right- I want to know. Feel free to PM me and we can discuss further.

Anonymous said...

I've been a fan of the Bullard for about 2 years now- am wearing a pair now and have several colors. Aesthetically, the cuff looks great, but given the weight of the material, the ones that I have cuffed almost feel too heavy around the ankle.

I had one pair of Bills regular khakis that seemed to fray prematurely at the hem line. They got converted to shorts (which you should never have to buy otherwise for this reason). I'd be surprised if the Bullards failed early though. And I don't doubt that if they ever did, Bill would make it right.

What kind of chinos do our esteemed judges wear?

David Letterman was reportedly a fan of Bills, by the way.

Anonymous said...

When I was in the service - Navy - I spent time on tri-service bases and recall the relative sharpness of the uniforms. We sailors usually looked slobs apart from dress blues or maybe well-starched whites.

In particular I recall how incredibly sharp the Green Beret sergeants at DLI Monterey circa 1968-69 looked in their starched khakis shirts with trousers bloused over spit polished jump boots. THOSE guys were the epitome of sergeants!

In contrast, seeing GIs today off base in their shirttail out camo BDUs with scuffed desert boots is,IMO, a disgrace to the dignity of 235 years of U.S. military uniforms.

Anonymous said...

Sunshine, Dockers made some pretty good khakis briefly around 98. forgot what they were called, but had a button fly, etc.

So bottom line sweetheart, where's the best place to get cheap khakis?

oldominion said...

Seems a good time to emphasize that the Bullard twill is HEAVY, far denser than the normal M1 or M2, so much so that I pretty much treat them as fall/winter and leave 'em alone in the Summer. However I do know people who only buy Bullards now as their year round go-to khaki. Go to your local purveyor and compare them to normal Bill's and you'll understand the hefty price tag. Whether or not you'll want to pay it is another matter, but the Bullard is not a normal khaki trouser.

Ben said...

I hope he doesn't pull out my heart and show it to me before I hit the floor, but why does your dad look like an Air Farce guy here?

Loved this whole series. I'm going to fortify my wardrobe with more khaki now. Too much denim these past few years.

LPC said...

Tintin, several of us women are interested in serious khakis for us. No stretch. No flare. No BS. But still deeply girlish. Any way we can interest you in advocating?

tintin said...

anon 21:12 Letterman was? I like the Bullard a lot and will spring for a pair this month. They're not for everyone but I've become a fan.

anon 14:46 Thanks for sharing a great memory. Glad to hear Special Forces NCOs looked as great at Presidio as they did at Bragg. I grew up watching those guys saunter around the PX, commisary and our quarters. I'll never forget how they looked. Regal with a touch of bad ass. 20th C knights with an intelligence and humor that was cutting. Quiet and never (almost never) boastful yet egos bigger than some Latin American countries. They were and are the shit.

Anon 18:46- Honey, do you just look at the pictures?

oldominion- good advice. I think a lot of folks get turned off Bills buying on ebay and Sierra TP. Fit is key and you need to try 'em on. If you're a heartless bastard, visit your local haberdasher and get the fit and style you like then go home and order them on line. People who do this usually cry the loudest when the haberdasher they went to goes outta business. These are the same people who call other people "sunshine" and "sweetheart."
At least that's been my experience.

Ben- We'll have to see if he comments. It does like a group shot of the Thunderbirds but I know that's impossible.

LPC- That's a great question. And there's nothing I'd like to do more than judge khakis for women but this time I'd insist on judging fit.

Tin-tin's phred/dad said...

Tin-tin's phred/dad
RE: Ben's Comment
Casual Wear for parties and such. We were at the "cutting edge" of hi tech missiles in the early 60's. When you're very good, and have proven it, you earn bragging rights. Strictly in-house and social. (Jackets also popular with the USA and USAF nurses.)

Anonymous said...

Might your undertake a button-fly chino comparison on the next go-round? Zippers but detract, in my humble opinion.