The best pants I own

August 15, 2022

I wore my favorite pair of pants to my most recent high school reunion, complemented by a hoodie, denim jacket, and athletic sneakers. I’ve worn that same pair of pants to business meetings with a button-up shirt and dressier shoes. And I’ve worn them with a t-shirt when I’ve gone hiking and bicycling.

The first time I remember having a favorite pair of pants was in high school, when I appropriated a pair of Levi’s my dad rarely wore anymore. They had a button fly and were already about 20 years old, but they had a classic medium blue wash that was somehow textured without looking acid-washed or worn out, and they were an utterly perfect fit, allowing me to run, crouch, mosh, or sit with equal ease. But my current favorite pair is even more versatile.

Understand that I have yet to find any other pants like them, so they are somewhat difficult to describe. They were made by Calvin Klein, and they are black with a subtle heathered pattern. In shape, they are dressy joggers, ending at the ankle with a flex cuff. But they also have a button-and-zip fly, with belt loops, and front and back pockets. The label says they are constructed with viscose and polyamide, a fancy way of saying rayon and nylon. The label also says it should only be dry-cleaned, but I’ve ignored that recommendation with no ill effects. Other clues from the label suggest they might have been sold primarily in Europe, and I got extremely lucky to find them on the clearance rack at Macy’s.

Within weeks, I decided I was willing to pay a premium for these pants in other colors, but have never been able to track them down. Instead, to achieve a pale approximation of the style, I have purchased — and quite enjoy! — Amazon Essentials straight-fit joggers which, while less refined and versatile, are still miles better than most of the joggers one can buy at Marshall’s, Ross, and elsewhere because they, too, have a zip fly and belt loops.

As I write this, I’ve laid out my Calvin Klein pants on top of my dresser with the rest of my planned outfit for tomorrow. At my job, some days I discover I have to meet members of the public, some days I have to lift and carry items reasonably long distances, some days I put in 13,000 steps, and other days I have to be spend eight straight hours at my desk. I can be extremely comfortable in these pants no matter if I have a series of physical tasks or must present as “mainstream professional.”

Perhaps I am aided by a broad collapse of differences between “professional” and “casual” attire in the United States, but it remains that there are differences between the two modes of dress, and these magic pants are able to serve me in any purpose short of swimwear.

I am grateful for the pants, for what they have given me, and for the adventures we are yet to have together.

(Photo: "fashion army" by Klaus Friese. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.)