Welcome to The Esquire Endorsement. Heavily researched. Thoroughly vetted. These picks are the best way to spend your hard-earned cash.
Update: These pants just got fully restocked in a range of sizes and colors. If history teaches us anything, though, they won't be around for long. Time to get shopping.
Dead smack in the middle of summer, Bonobos did something that might have seemed wild to anyone who'd been living in sweats, shorts, or sweat shorts for the past few months: The brand introduced a new style of chinos. Pants? In the summer? During These Times?! Groundbreaking. (Really, though. Even for a company that built its reputation on trousers, the move could be construed as a little audacious.)
Ah, but here's the thing: These weren't your normal, everyday chinos. Instead, the Off Duty Pant, as it was dubbed, is done up with an elasticated waistband, a drawstring, and a cropped, right-at-the-ankle length. And it promptly flew off the digital shelves, necessitating a restock just a month after its debut. Why all the fuss? Sitting, as it does, amidst an ever-expanding library of soft-waisted pants of the chino-ish variety, the Off Duty Pant isn't mind-blowingly new or novel. It isn't the kind of statement piece that demands a pause as you scroll through the timeline. Instead, it's just...a very good pair of pants. Which is exactly why it deserves a place in your rotation.
Soft waistbands 4 eva.
I say this as a devoted sweatpants enthusiast: We are all, I think it's safe to admit, a little burned out on sweatpants. Do I advocate for their removal from your wardrobe? Hell, no! I simply encourage you to expand your horizons. Maybe with something that looks the part of a proper trouser but doesn't feel like one. Thanks to that stretchy waistband (plus a noticeable-but-not-weird amount of stretch in the fabric itself), these pants feel as comfy as your favorite fleecy ones. They just look a little more at-ease with non-WFH staples, like an oxford cloth button-down or (gasp!) some leather-soled shoes. Think of them as the pants you wear to visit your parents when you don't want to bother with the "explaining the vibe" song and dance.
The fit is just right.
Aside from being a sweatpants enthusiasts, I am a wide pants enthusiast. A weird pants enthusiast. The kind of person for whom a strange leg covering is an entirely welcome challenge. But sometimes, all I want is a well-calibrated, slim-but-not-too-slim pair of chinos. And I am very well aware of the fact that for most guys, weird isn't on the menu. They just want some good pants that fit well and go with everything else they have in their closet. These are those pants.
They're a great all-weather weight.
Bonobos is adamant that the lightweight cotton chosen for the Off Duty Pant is perfect for summer. That's not wrong! But thanks to the, er, let's say shifting nature of the climate these days, unseasonably warm temperatures are to be expected in the fall. And the spring. And, if we're all being honest with ourselves, in the winter, too. So a lightweight pair of chinos that can hang with a little heat and humidity but isn't so paper-thin it can't hold up to a brisk breeze? That, to me, sounds like an all-season option. Get 'em now, keep 'em in the closet when it's bone-chilling cold, and wear them with anything you like the rest of the time. Easy.
Photography and prop styling by Allie Holloway
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