Welcome back to the second instalment of Trouser Tuesday, this week featuring the Vauxhall trousers by British maker Old Town. Well, not strictly accurate, as my trousers are made by Tin House, the workwear label of heritage-style micro-maker Old Town. Apparently Old Town only make around 70 garments a week, and most of them are to order, which makes them quite special indeed.
The trousers I have are part of a very small selection of Old Town products carried by Labour & Wait in Shoreditch, London. Handy if you’re in the area, as you can try them on and take them with you. Usually the process of adding some Old Town style to your life involves mail-order, a few weeks of waiting, and then the thrill of opening a parcel, which is a heritage-style piece of excitement in itself in these times of digital downloads and instant gratification.
The ethos of Old Town fits very nicely into my my philosophy of ethical fashion. In a world where garments are produced at the lowest possibly monetary cost, with as much disregard to human and environmental cost as applicable laws allow, making garments to order, at a price that reflects the cost of doing so, holds a certain beauty. Knowing that these trousers were cut and sewn by someone that actually cared about making them makes me enjoy them even more.
And what are these trousers like? Well, the style is one of the staples of Old Town, the Vauxhall. A ruggedly plain pair of trousers, almost stripped to the mere basics. Two deep front pockets, no rear pockets. To my mind, rear pockets have only a single use: To reduce the visual impact of a big olde butte by breaking up the expanse of fabric a bit. If you consider it, the only utility a rear pocket has is to serve up your wallet to those that wish to relieve you of it.
You’ll also no doubt notice that these trousers are missing most of the belt hoops you’d be expecting to find. A mere two hoops, one either side of the hips. Not enough to hold the trousers up in a typically sartorially satisfactory style, but they’d certainly not slide down if worn with a belt. A belt might not be the way to go on these though, as indicated by the pre-fitted buttons for a proper pair of braces. Always a welcome addition, as I’m very much appreciate the style and comfort braces offer.
The fly is of course of the proper button-up type. And Old Town have their own “Tin House” buttons made up, which is a nice touch in these times where generic buttons could have added pennies to the profit margins.
What the rear of the Vauxhalls has though is a rear cinch, a staple of the heritage style. This could allow the trousers to be worn without a belt or braces, providing all the security needed to avoid gravitationally induced embarrassment (a word evolved from the traditional “bare-ass-ment”).
Connoisseurs of sewing will notice that all seams are flat-felled for extra strength and longevity. Another example of taking the time to do things properly.
The pocketless rear does also highlight the quire splendid rise of these trousers. Rise, as we recall from previous lessons, is the distance from the upper edge of the trousers down to where the seam starts to rise again between a mans legs. The higher the rise, the less chance there is of displaying ungainly plumbers butt. This is a good thing, and also a feature that enhances the manly look. It does mean that you need to select your size based on your tummy girth though, not your hips.
There are two types of cotton fabric used in the construction of the Vauxhalls, a rugged cotton twill for the outside, and a softer cotton for lining. I’ve used my pair a lot since buying them about 14 months ago and they still show no wear at all, so I’d consider this to be actual workwear quality and not the type of workyweary style adopted by a number of more fashion orientated makers. If you like proper stuff, you’ll appreciate this.
I’d also like to make special mention of the labels used. With garments made in small numbers there is an opportunity of adding a personal touch by using the combination of generically sizes labels and hand stamping. I’m not sure there is a big saving to be made, but it appeals strongly to my appreciation of things being done by hand.
My trousers are stamped 34″, and I measured them to about 35″, which considering the amount of use they have seen seems reasonable. Leg width at knee height is 9.5″ and my rolled cuffs at 30.5″ measure 8″, so a bit of tapering of the legs, though by no means skinny fit.
I think we can agree that I’m “keeping it real” here. Yes, the trousers could use an iron to present perfectly, though this is what they actually look like when I’m wearing them. The shirt saw an iron recently though. I think my stylist and photography team need to up their game.
Sizing and washing:
As mentioned, these are marked as 34″ and measure 35″. Given how much I’ve worn them, this is a quite plausible marking.
Wash wise, a regular 40 degree spin-cycle machine wash will be just fine for these. There is currently no cult claiming cotton twill of this colour needs special treatment. Quite a relief, eh?
- Fabric – Most likely UK
- Trouser – UK
Score (1-5, 3 being average):
- Assembly: 4
- Details: 4
- Quality: 4
- Value for money: 4
- Cool-factor: 4
You may already be wondering what fine britches will be the featured pair next week? I’ll let your curiosity fester for a full seven days, but can exclusively reveal that we’ll move from last weeks Japanese denim, though this weeks British workwear, to something quite special from the land of freedom, yet with hints of sushi and frog legs. My, that sounds like quite the feast, eh?