EXPRESS Slim 365 Comfort Stretch+ Chino – $47.94 when 40% off ($79.90)
NOTE: These are currently at full price. But as is the case with EXPRESS, there’s always another promo train comin’.
About the Author: Brandon D. is a recently married trial attorney living in Houston, TX (but will forever be a New Yorker). Brandon has been wearing a suit to work for the better part of a decade, so he appreciates the insights into quality-yet-affordable style options for which Dappered is known. When not at work, he enjoys traveling with his wife, lounging with his dog Charlie (she’s half-Chihuahua/half-Dachshund, which has the added bonus of being known as a “Chiweenie”), and the weekly trip to Costco.
It’s now late-July in Texas, so the local weatherman is regularly saying things like “While it feels like 106, it’s only 95.” Okay … both are terrible, but just say it’s 106!! Anyways, because of my job, I’m always in pursuit of weather-appropriate dress pants, and I got word from Joe that Express may have something for me. I believe he said I was the “pants man.” (Editor’s Note: This is true. Brandon is many things, and one of which, to me, is “The Pants Man.“) Of course, you’re all encouraged to write about pants too, but this is my turf. You drinkin’ my sake, ke-mo sah-bee? And with that, onto the review.
Just five colors. (BR Core Temp has ten.) Some of which could be tough to pull off in some workplaces.
Made from 64% cotton, 33% polyester, and 3% spandex/elasthane, these pants look and feel much more like traditional chinos than a pure-poly option at Old Navy. But here’s the million dollar (or, fifty – sixty dollar, depending on sales) question: Are they as good as the BR Core Temp Chinos? I can’t go that far. But they’re approximately $10 cheaper when both are on sale for 40% off, and it seems like the EXPRESS option might go on sale more often. Banana Republic’s Core Temp? Almost always (but not always) excluded from their promotions. And these EXPRESS alternatives are still quite versatile. In fact, I would venture to say that many would prefer these to the core temps when taking price into consideration.
Size 36W x 32L on 5’11, 195lbs. Color is “Cobblestone.”
What jumps out to me is the look and the feel. These aren’t shiny. There’s no “swish swish” when you walk. To the naked eye, they are regular chinos (slanted front pockets and back pockets that fasten close). And yet, they offer plenty of stretch. They’re slim, but not too slim (those of us on Team Leg Day may rejoice!), look great with a casual-leaning blazer, or no jacket and just a polo, button down, or back-in-style print shirt from somewhere like Bonobos. And in terms of size, I recommend either ordering your normal size in chinos or going slightly down. (I normally take 34 or 35 … 35 isn’t available, and post-honeymoon, I was worried 34 would be too small. The 36 was good but I would definitely tailor to make smaller).
The chambray accent around the waist. Easily hidden by belt if you don’t like it.
Despite this praise, these pants have two notable flaws: the odd stripe at the belt-line and the color options. The stripe most likely won’t matter to you. When I saw it on the site, I thought the model was just wearing a really slim belt. When they arrived, I thought the stripe was an odd addition, but one that would never be seen because I always wear a belt (apologies to the suspenders community). Can you wear the majority of color options at work? I sure can’t. So 60% of the options would never make it to my office. And the “cobblestone” pants I received looked browner on the website and greyer in real life. I much prefer grey pants to brown, but I was definitely surprised and wonder if the other colors look different in real life too.
Overall, these pants are a welcome addition to the tech pants community. Slightly cheaper than the reigning champ, Express offers a versatile option I fully recommend.