In Praise of Alex Mill’s Pleated Khakis
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It’s hard to say who fired the first shot in the battle of Big Khaki, but if we had to pinpoint a turning point in the war, it would probably be the debut of J.Crew’s Giant-fit chinos. After the brand introduced its instantly viral pants in the summer of 2022, all hell broke loose—and by “all hell”, we mean a surge of ginormous khakis duking it out for prime of place in your chino rotation. Looking for a pair that offer more than just bonus fabric? Look to Alex Mill and its sneakily high-minded menswear staples, whose latest report from the front lines feels destined to bring peace in our time.
A couple of months ago, we plugged the brand’s Ryan Reynolds-approved tapered-fit chinos. But if those were billed as a can’t-miss starting point for getting back into pleats, these pants—bigger, wider, even more pleated—are the logical next step. The relaxed leg feels true to the old-school source material, and the snazzy double pleats provide plenty of extra room in the hips and upper thighs. (A welcome boon for guys who’ve been squeezing their prodigiously-sized quads into flat fronts for the last decade-plus.)
Crucially, they also feature a crisp crease straight down the leg, which improves their drape and up the fashion quotient considerably, whether you’re wearing them with chunky retro runners or beefy lug-sole loafers. (As a general rule, big pants + big shoes = perfectly harmonious proportions.) Still not sold? Well, that’s where things really get interesting. Because the true X factor here is the fabric, a pre-washed twill that feels mercifully lived-in fresh out of the box, and already looks faded around typical high-friction areas like the pockets and seams. That extra care helps them feel like pants you’ve owned for years—or a vintage grail you’d otherwise pay through the nose for—which is all the excuse you need bench the raw denim for the summer.
Are these joints little more statement-driven than most of the clothes in Alex Mill’s usual line-up? Sure, but that’s exactly why we can’t stop thinking about ‘em. They hark back to the type of pants popular in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, a particular sweet spot in menswear right now, and an era when the silhouettes du jour would be classified as “baggy” by today’s slim-stretch standards. It’s too soon to tell if they’ll actually put an end to the Big Khaki battles, but don’t be surprised if the competition retreats to shore up their flanks before launching the next counterattack. Trust us: Their loss is your gain.
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