About the Author: Jason P. spends his days working in the creative marketing department of a big telecom company. He also does a bit of real estate investing on the side. He believes in curating a timeless, classic wardrobe with subtle modern touches for today. He and his wife love hiking with their dog and shopping at local small businesses and antique stores when they travel. Jason is a practitioner of muay thai and traditional boxing, and his favorite drink is a hoppy New England IPA.
It’s a pants off!
The OG versus the new kid on the block. The foundation upon which Bonobos built their empire against the next generation. When Bonobos introduced the “2.0” version of their beloved stretch washed chino, it was met with many raised eyebrows and hushed voices. What exactly have they done different, and why? The original is so highly adored, it hardly seemed like a good idea to produce a sequel. After all, this IS the pair of pants that created a mass following for the brand, and is arguably the primary reason the company blossomed into a $300 million acquisition by Walmart. Surely, to tinker with such an item would be to improve it, no? Let’s find out.
Size 33×30 ATHLETIC fit on 5’8″/190
Also available in slim fit, or an even trimmer “tailored” fit.
18 colors available at post time.
Enough ink has been spilled about this particular pair of pants, but we’ll touch on the basics. This pair of pants is the product that rocketed Bonobos and its rabid fanbase to where they are today.
*TIME WARP TIME* Yes, it needs to be acknowledged that long, long ago, Bonobos used to make 100% cotton washed chinos (cracks open Dappered sarcophagus… [Editor’s note: Jason! Don’t look in there] ), and the addition of a bit of stretch to their fabric came along a bit later. But for the purpose of this post/comparison, the 98% cotton / 2% lycra “stretch OG” is what we’ll focus on as their foundation. *END TIME WARP*
In 2007, Bonobos launched the pants with the signature curved waistline. They had a small cult following, but really came into popular appeal around 2011-2012. The fit was an epiphany – pants that moved with your body and not against it, and offered in a HUGE breadth of sizes and cuts compared to the competition. The fabric blend is a now commonplace 98% cotton, and 2% Lycra to create plenty of flexibility for beloved all-day comfort. This type of blend is common now, but in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, it was a bit of a revelation.
The Original Stretch Washed Chino Pants always came with a premium price, but legions were willing to pay it because they were a cut above other menswear product offerings. The competition has heated up, especially at this price point, but Bonobos continues to be a go-to for many men who appreciate the variety of fits in a well-built, reliable pair of pants. They look great dressed up or down, support natural movement, and can feel like a personalized pair of pants with the variety of fits. These OG chinos are a stalwart in the category, for good reason. No debate about it – I highly recommend you get yourself a few pairs. Your wallet might take a beating, but you won’t regret it. But that isn’t the question, is it?
Size 32×30 (size down) ATHLETIC fit on 5’8″/190
Also available in slim fit, or an even trimmer “tailored” fit.
New side zip pocket. 14 colors available at post time.
Calling this the 2.0 insinuates a sort of evolution to the original stretch washed chino pant, but it feels, fits and wears more like an entirely new pant.
After wearing both around the house for a bit, it makes sense as to why Bonobos is continuing to sell both these pants. The 2.0 should be seen as a complement to the existing OG version in your closet; not a replacement. The “stretch” fabric is 8% spandex compared to 2% of Lycra in the original stretch washed chino. For you math wizards, that’s 4x the stretchiness, and boy does it feel like it, if not more. The OG pair wasn’t lacking, but these own workout-pant levels of stretch. No movement was restricted, and I mean absolutely none.
That 8% share of fabric the spandex owns changes the functionality, feel, and fit of the pants. Whereas the original chino is like a classic pair of premium do-it-all chinos, these are more akin to a modern “performance pant.” There are no swish sounds, but you would be forgiven for confusing the 2.0 for a pair of hybrid commuter-tech fabric pant. There’s even a zip pocket, a common feature for that category. Heck, that might be what these actually are.
Fresh out of the box.
Most will want to size down in the 2.0 to compensate for the new, more generous fit.
Boots are Grant Stone’s Cap Toe in Forest Kudu.
Because of this new fabric blend, the pant has a far more generous fit. In the original, a 33×30 athletic fit is an ideal cut and size for my 5’8″ 190 pound frame, complete with #thunderthighs. In the 2.0, the same size has excess fabric and a baggier fit, and I had to size down to a 32×30. Perhaps this is due to a difference in colors – I’ve found across the Bonobos catalogue, different colors of the same pant in identical specs can fit a bit differently. Regardless, sizing down is advised. Thankfully, Bonobos continues to offer free return shipping to aid in the convenience of multiple try-ons. Maybe this is starting to see “ghosts”, but I also felt like the 2.0 had less taper below the knee.
The 2.0 still feels premium, but in a different manner than the OG; and that brings us back to where these reside in the closet. The 2.0 is the pair you throw on with a nice tee or slub cotton polo and retro trainers while running errands or popping over to a friend’s house. You can do that with the original pants, too, but the 2.0 does the job in a more casual form. That isn’t a bad thing, but it’s important to keep in mind when considering this pair versus the original.
TL;DR: So what’s the difference between the OG and the 2.0?
- The 2.0 seems to fit more generously. Larger. Baggier. Might want to size down.
- The 2.0 has 4x the stretch woven in, and it certainly feels like it.
- The 2.0 feels more like a modern performance pant, and less like a washed chino.
- The 2.0 seems to have less taper below the knee? Maybe?
- The 2.0 now has a side zip pocket, like many modern “commuter” style pants.
If you’re a Bonobos devotee and want to dip your toes into the commuter pant trend (if you haven’t already), the Stretch Washed Chino 2.0 is a fantastic place to start. It has a lot of the familiarity you may love in the original version, but in a tech-forward remix. I don’t recommend the 2.0 as a replacement – but they make a worthy complement if you want chino aesthetics and performance pant functionality. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this, but we don’t have any confirmation on the long term plans Bonobos has for the original stretch washed chino. If you love them – as so many of us do – it might be wise to “stock up” on a few pairs if you need a closet refresh in the new year. I sure hope they don’t get put out to pasture, but buyer beware.