Bills Khakis: comfortable, durable and 100% American
Photo: Bills Khakis (@billskhakis)
What’s the most iconic symbol of American life you can imagine? Apple pie? Fireworks? A 55 Chevy convertible? Well, we’ve got another one to add to your list. Touted as an “American Original,” Bills Khakis are a throwback to the WWII-era, military issue uniform that quickly became a hallmark of “America’s greatest generation.” Most of us can easily conjure up an image of our father or grandfather wearing the high waisted ubiquitous pants, often paired with another American classic - a well-worn leather flight jacket. And so, it’s no surprise that Bill Thomas (founder of Bills Khakis) recalls just such a photo in his family album. In fact, it was an old photo of his father, along with a pair of favorite vintage khakis he found at an army surplus store, that inspired Thomas to launch his own line of khakis – a line that has since been smartly updated for a contemporary look and feel.
In an interview with Inc. Magazine writer Jess McCuan, Thomas recounts how his story began one day in 1984 when he fell in love with a lucky surplus-store find, a pair of baggy, deep-pocketed, heavy-weight khakis. He knew right away he was holding a relic of a bygone era, one that was meant to withstand a lifetime of rugged wear and tear. He also knew the chances of him ever laying his hands on such a find again were slim. The combination of a tried-and-true product and a dearth of supply could only mean one thing – opportunity. So, on and off over the next several years, Thomas set about launching a new, modern version of the nostalgic work pant, pitching his vision and early designs at county fairs, horse shows, and golf tournaments. And all the while, he supported himself with a variety of other endeavors: greens crew, painter, ski lift operator, band manager, and free lance writer. The experience that served him best, however, was his time spent in advertising, learning how to build a brand. Armed with an unshakeable belief that consumers were starved for authentic products, particularly those mirroring America’s unique story and persona, Thomas moved back to his hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania, and officially founded Bills Khakis. In 1990, thanks to a loan and a strong vote of confidence from his mother, he was able to set up shop in a downtown, early 19th century brick building, a location especially well-suited to the brand’s early Americana vibe. Thomas felt so strongly about the need to preserve a piece of American history, he decided to intentionally omit the apostrophe in “Bills Khakis” because he recognized that the quintessential American pant is a part of our collective national heritage, and therefore, belong to us all. Some 28 years later, Bills Khakis is a perfect example of an American dream come true, not just for Bill Thomas, but also for the surrounding community. This increasingly popular manufacturer of classic, American-made casual sportwear has been named to Inc. Magazine’s list of 100 fastest growing inner-city companies five times.
Thomas attributes much of his success to a desire to make good on that first loan. Today, the well known menswear brand has successfully expanded its line of premium men’s sportswear to include men’s casual shirts, shorts, knits, boxers and belts. All are proudly cut and sewn in the USA and are available in hundreds of premium men’s specialty retailers across America, as well as from a select set of online retailers. Big believers in exceptional customer service, the folks at Bills Khakis choose their outlets carefully, and here at Epic Mens, we’re thrilled they chose us.
Visit www.epicmens.com to see firsthand all the style, fit and fabric options Bills Khakis has to offer. Begin by choosing a Relaxed, Classic, Straight, or Slim Fit, depending on whether you’re more comfortable in pants with a short or long rise, slim or full cut, straight or tapered leg, or pleated or plain front. Then move on to your preferred fabric. The 8.5-oz. Original Twill is the gold standard in khakis. Patterned after actual bonafide army-issue khaki pants, it’s a practical, long-lasting choice. However, if you’re looking for a more polished alternative, the 6.3-oz. polished Cotton Twill is soft, lightweight and easy to dress up. Or, if comfort is what you care most about, you can’t go wrong with either the 7-oz. Montgomery Stretch Twill (98% cotton and 2% elastane) or the Travel Twill, a unique blend of polyester, Tencel, and cotton. Both are wrinkle-resistant and built to move with you, wherever you go. Most options are available in waist sizes ranging from 30 to 46 inches and in a slate of neutral, easy-to-match colors: khaki, camel, navy, cement and stone. And, as is the tradition in luxury menswear, all arrive unhemmed so they can be fitted perfectly to your individual requirements.
Style, fit, and fabric. Check, check and check. You’re done. It’s that easy and that quick. But before you leave, be sure to pick up a new shirt or two to top off those new pants. You can’t go wrong pairing a freshly pressed set of khakis with a Bills Khakis classic Oxford dress shirt or casual polo. These pieces are so versatile, most men consider them to be the backbone of a well-functioning wardrobe. After all, what other sartorial combination can take you from the office to the golf course to cocktails and to that all-important dinner date without missing a beat. If you’re ever uncertain about what to wear, play it safe and pull on a pair of classic, thoroughly American Bills Khakis, now in stock and ready to go at www.epicmens.com.