Where’s the bandwidth? In my PANTS!!!

Pants! Pants! Pants

Two notices, sensation-seekers. First, the site’s performance issues should be resolved shortly. Apparently, my host’s upstream provider was performing some maintenance, and a few nooks and crannies of the Empire are being hassled by uppity Skywalkers and their no-account friends. I am assured, however, that all of these issues will be behind us once there’s been a demonstration of the awesome might of this fully armed and operational battle station.

A kind link from Daring Fireball came at precisely the wrong time, o’course. Though I suppose I could turn the service slowdown to my PR advantage. In the New Media marketplace, no cachet is more desirable than “this site or service is so incredibly unbelievably popular that you practically need a reservation to get in. It is so very popular, furthermore, that this reservation will not be honored unless you happen to be a celebrity on the order of a recently-disgraced Senator or greater and paparazzi are available to photograph you as you cross over the club’s logo on the carpet.”

Yes, that’s an 80% lie, minimum. But lying about your stats is another one of those knacks that hopeful New Media moguls need to master.


In other news, I impulsively started an important social, commercial, and sartorial experiment over there on my Twitter feed the other day and I probably ought to bring you folks in on it.

“Stick my head in a basket full of rat traps, or go shopping for a few pairs of casual pants? So hard for the average male to decide…” I Tweeted, dreading an upcoming errand. For indeed I need pants, and indeed I would probably prefer to experience five seconds of intense pain all at once than suffer the same discomfort, stretched out across three hours and five stores and innumerable snide, giggling salesclerks.

One or two people suggested that I just go clothes-shopping online, but I balked. Buying pants without the benefit of a quick road test is a risky proposition. Why do so many designers of men’s pants fail to understand that our ladyparts are different from a lady’s ladyparts? That’s the impression I get when I’m there in the fitting room with a prospective pair of pants. They seem to fit fine until I try to walk or sit in them. At that point, I realize what one of those six superfluous pockets is for. Apparently, you’re meant to detach your balls and stick them in that side pouch next to your iPhone until you take your pants off again…at which time you’re certainly going to need the things back for the upcoming action.

But I got enough specific recommendations that I saw the opportunity for a grand experiment:


(Damn…if ever a line justified the banished-to-Hell “Flash” tag…)

Here it is: recommend me a pair of pants. I will purchase ONE pair from all those recommended — using the online store’s sizing tools, if any — and then carefully report on the success or failure of said item.

I am willing to let Internet consensus choose my pants, and Web 2.0 deliver them to me. But there are a few rules:

1) Pants must be available for purchase via the Internet. It’s OK if they’re also available via brick-and-mortar stores but purchase will be made online. Part of this is a test of buying pants without trying them on first.

2) Style is “casual.” Yes, there’s an awfully wide latitude. Suffice to say that boring, “good for school, or church!” pants are perfectly acceptable. But so are the kinds which are wired up to act as a WiFi repeater, and those which can be reversed to safety-orange for your Community Service days.

The basic style guideline is that if they shouldn’t be so upscale and fashionable that I won’t want to put them in the daily pants rotation. And if they’re so Alternative that I don’t think I can get away with wearing them to the wedding of a distant cousin — church service only, no reception — then that’s going too far.

3) Black/dark colors preferred but not required.

4) Price shouldn’t be so high as to provoke dumbfounded reactions from a parent who’s all-too-aware of how much a freelance journalist makes. Pants retailing at $60 and above had better arrive at my house hugging the sublime buttocks of the pre- or post-pregnancy Jessica Alba.

5) No kilts. Kilts are only pants if you were one on each leg. Even then, you’re probably going to create a bit of a stir at your next school board meeting without a strategically-swaddled towel.

So if you have a pair of Internet Pants to recommend, go ahead and recommend ’em. Call for nominees closes at 11:59 PM EST on Tuesday evening.

31 thoughts on “Where’s the bandwidth? In my PANTS!!!

  1. Mary Anne

    “Why do so many designers of men’s pants fail to understand that our ladyparts are different from a lady’s ladyparts? ”
    My assumption is that it’s because they can’t design women’s pants to fit either. Therefore, I have no pants to suggest. I only buy s-t-r-e-t-c-h-y things online: sweaters, socks, tshirts.
    This is why I learned to sew. If I’m going to spend money on clothes without trying them on first, I want to be able to take them apart and fix them. The pain of sewing lasts longer than the pain of shopping, but at the end of it I’m 95% sure to have something that fits.

    Good luck in your noble experiment.

  2. Rip Ragged


    I understand your troubles. I suffer from a similar malady. Alas, I spend my days in front of a classroom so my clothes must conform to established standards during the day. In my off hours, however, I can wear whatever I feel most comfortable wearing. I prefer formal pants – with a large Ballroom.

    I recommend this site:


    Pay particular attention to the Ballroom Jeans on the home page. They tend to apply that extra stretch of “comfort zone” to several of their trousers.



  3. Glenn

    Hi Andy,

    Try Land’s End . You got your high rise, your low rise, your cuffed, your uncuffed, your pants length to the nearest quarter inch, etc. etc. If you want expansion waistlines (not that you would, of course) they got them as well. 100% guaranteed.

    And if you want to spend a little more, they have a custom shop. Also 100% guaranteed. You can iterate your waist (I’m guessing that’s the first time “iterate” and “waist” have been used in a sentence) as many times as necessary.



  4. Moeskido

    Mr. I., you seem particularly proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed. Nevertheless…

    Having had to ameliorate the results of fitting two very differently-sized gentlemen in my wedding party (6.5 years ago) with matching off-the-rack pants, I feel the need to warn you that recommendations of any particular manufacturer will only carry the weight of authority (as it were) if made by gentlemen of your own dignified carriage and stature.

    I am 6’1″, 210 lbs., and if I tell you that I find utility and comfort in both Lands’ End and Eddie Bauer khakis, size 38 waist/34 inseam, that shouldn’t necessarily mean that those manufacturers’ respective patterns will equally meet your own needs. It just doesn’t work that way, unless you’re being fitted for tights while rehearsing a production of “Les Liaisons Dangeureuses,” which is how I first met my wife.

    I suggest you provide more data for readers who are hoping to be of assistance, and are suitably equipped to do so with authority.

  5. david

    I’ll go out of my way to second Moeskido’s advice that “recommendations of any particular manufacturer will only carry the weight of authority (as it were) if made by gentlemen of your own dignified carriage and stature.”

    For myself, I’ve found that Levi’s 559s feel just about perfect. They’re neither so tight that I’m uncomfortable nor so loose that they’ll fall to my knees without a belt. But that’s for a comfortably overweight guy who wears 38×32 pants, what that means to you, Mr. Ihnatko, or to anyone else is an open question.

    Best of luck with the search.

  6. Ihnatko Post author

    Oh, that’s part of the test: how easy is it to buy pants sight-unseen? How valuable is someone’s recommendation? And do the online tools on a store site truly help to get a proper fit and a good buying decision? Time will tell!

  7. Dave Pentecost

    All good suggestions above. Just wanted to congratulate you on leveraging your media mogul status – crowdsourcing pants shopping! The future is NOW!

    (and yes I am a new fan via Daring Fireball, obsessively hitting your server. Feel free to hit the Daily Glyph any time)

  8. Ihnatko Post author

    @Dave – I’m hoping to become one of those “upper echelon” bloggers who just get free pants in the mail every week. You know, like Scoble. The last time that SOB bought his own pants, they were acid-washed.

  9. zacksback

    When I read your Tweet the other day “Stick my head in a basket full of rat traps, or go shopping for a few pairs of casual pants? So hard for the average male to decide…” I had to read it to my wife. She surprised me: she didn’t laugh as I had. She looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘My God does he KNOW you?” Ouch.

  10. Michael

    Hey, Andy. I can vouch for these pants with all my heart.


    They are awesome! Sturdy as hell yet extremely comfortable, liberally supplied with pockets for every sort of gadget imaginable yet not at all geeky-looking or attention-grabbing, and compatible with a bunch of gadget-attaching gizmos.

    The mfr. is a cop supplier and they have opted to try to please the cop who has to wear these things for hours and hours and hours with all kinds of cop crap loaded in the pockets. The cell phone (.45mm clip?) pocket alone is a godsend, though maybe too small for an iPhone.

    Anyway — the big & tall sizes are a little more expensive but overall, based on what I find when I am shopping, these are the single best value in clothing I have ever come across.

  11. AC

    Ange, I assumed (and still do) that your site is served by a Mac Mini stuck back in your closet somewhere, probably using a DSL modem that’s on part-time. Now you want me to believe it’s a professional job? Oh, no. The internets are unreliable.

  12. colin

    http://www.zappos.com/n/p/dp/24085356/c/621.html“>Prana Nemesis Knicker (Sand) – Capri
    Prana’s most technical and rugged knicker, the Nemesis is defined by aggressive lines and intelligent details for climbing.

    Evidently for climbers, but who’s going to challenge a man wearing roomy, rugged, NEMESIS KNICKERS!!!!!?
    Check out the ‘aggressive lines’ they fairly scream! Pair me with an opera cape! And top it off with a pith-helmet! I am your nemesis! behold my knickers! No jodhpurs for this cat, neither technical nor rugged enough. Only Prana brand Knickers will do!

    And just for the hell of it, I’m going to write ‘knickers’ again: KNICKERS.

  13. Nik

    Here’s my top three choices for inseam-friendly pants:

    Columbia makes a very comfy casual pant. I recommend ordering it a bit large in the inseam for that hip baggy look. Fits fine right-sized as well.


    Okay, this is a bit out of left field, but how about yoga cargo pants? If you wear a shirt that covers up the drawstring, these look like styling cargo pants. But they’re actually super-comfy yoga pants with TONS OF POCKETS! Yup, if you carry a lot of gadgets, this is good stuff. Given that these are, indeed, yoga pants, be sure to order a larger size. They’re made to be worn baggy and cinched tight with a drawstring. Did I mention that they’re made out of hemp?


    Finally, LLBean makes very nice fitting slacks and jeans. I’m a fan of the Double L natural fit chinos. . The natural fit makes for less snugging around the parts, and you can also get the “hidden comfort” option to give you a little stretch in the waist to make up for those all-you-can-eat sushi nights. They also make all their pants fit-to-order and will take ANYTHING back if you’re not completely satisfied and send you a new one until you are happy. You may want to call them for better sizing instructions before ordering the pants.


  14. Kris

    Ron swears by Dickie’s and Carhart. And he’s worn Dickie’s to everything from going to work to going to a funeral. They hold up well and I haven’t killed them in the wash despite my best attempts.

  15. brian

    LLBean Katahdin Iron Works Pants. – Had mine since December.


    Great for cold New England winds, because the wind won’t go through the canvas (or damn close – long-johns can seal the deal here: 5° dog walks were nothing with the two in combo). Super solid stitching won’t bust when working outside. Side pocket sized right for secure holstering of iPhone in slim plastic hard case. “Timber” color is dark enough brown to be used in semi-casual situations. Plenty of space for what ever “lady parts” you may be carrying. I have similar sentiments to yours in this department.

    Bonus: I think they’ll match the hat just perfectly.

  16. Ihnatko Post author

    @Jose – Which pants? I’m familiar with the famous Tilley Hat, natcherly, but didn’t know that they had branched out.

  17. Dave Pentecost

    Only 24.5 hours to go and the stream of suggestions has dwindled to a trickle. But really, cargo pants?

    I’d give it a shot but I just bought my first new pair of pants in 10 years and can’t be trusted.

  18. Dave

    Bah. Who needs pants. What I need is more of Andy’s skilled and timeless coverage of the only dogsled race that matters. Where are those intrepid mushers?

  19. Jose

    @Andy – JohnnyQuest says it all.

    I think that a visit on Tilley’s website would answer your question(s).

    Lots of choice; you’d be surprised.



  20. Corrine

    You need to do a “review”on pants. Get a few loaner models to send back after a few weeks of testing.

  21. ed moore

    Re: the recommended knickers. The very, very last thing Western Civilization needs before its fall is male “kankle”. Capris are bad enough on women, but to be subjected to male kankle is too much to bear. When I am elected Maximum Leader, capri wearers will be sent to some Antarctic island wear they can bother each other.

  22. Alex

    Andy–obviously missed the deadline, but linked here from your Suntimes iPad review.

    3 comments: I have the Tilley Different Drummer Questor cargo pants, classic Tilley Shorts, Duluth Trading Co. Firehose cargo pants, and SeV cargo pants.

    Note: High cost of Tilley justified by lifetime guarantee. I’ve gotten my investment on the shorts, bought ’em 15 years ago. Cargo pants were 4 years ago. Approaching the age where lifetime guarantee vs. price needs to be compared with actuarial tables.

    Regardless, the Tilley’s are great. Pretty much indestructible, and even if I manage it, I get a new pair.

    Duluth: Just got ’em. They say, “We DARE you to wear ’em out.” Sounds like another lifetime guarantee–the pants are made of firehose material, the pockets are big and well designed. Also, half the price, maybe less, than Tilley’s. They do offer free shipping from time to time, that helps.

    SeV. Wanted to like them–couple of complaints. The front pockets are too complicated–two separate compartments, and the deep-deep compartment makes the wallet safe from pickpockets, and me as well. Also, they’ve frumped up considerably after a year or two–not quite suitable for the office anymore except on casual friday.

    I’ll the 5.11s next time I am buying pants.

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