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Dittoing August West - thank you for your thoughtful post.

I, too, lament that grey flannels are much less common and no longer really worn in casual day-to-day situations.

I even went so far as to buy a pair of Woolrich wool flannel pants as their's have a more casual vibe (and, on sale and from memory, were sub $100), but found that even with those, I was regularly getting comments about being "dressed up." (Sadly, during a move and renovation project, they got destroyed in a storage facility fire - you can't make this stuff up.)

While I'm a reasonably confident person, I don't want my clothes to actively call attention to me, so I found the comments discouraging. Even away from the comments, I felt a bit dressed up when wearing them - I just couldn't capture a "I'm wearing chinos" nonchalance vibe. I just felt too dressed up in them to simply hand around the apartment wearing them.

I love the old pictures of college kids playing catch football in OCBDs, grey flannels and weejuns, but it's hard to capture that casual comfortableness as an outsider to what everyone else is doing. Sadly, my flannels stay on their hangers except for "nicer" occasions.
 

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Sorry to hear about the fire. Hopefully someone's insurance covered it.

Would removing the center crease make flannels roughly on par, formality-wise, with chinos? I would think that to an uninformed person, it could look like you're wearing gray fleece sweatpants. :devil:

I don't often find myself on the receiving end of sartorial barbs. My approach is to double down and turn it around on the snippy individual, i.e. about how he is under-dressed. Not in so many words of course.

Emphasis that is one of my approaches. I started this thread to talk about pants, not how to win friends and influence people.:)
Thank you and, yes, for one of the few times in my life, insurance word as it is supposed to: I paid a premium for years, an event happened, the insurance company covered it (simple, but amazing how rarely it works that way - kudos to Chubb).

The flannels from Woolrich all but didn't have a crease which did, IMHO, increase their informality, but they didn't look sweatpants like (which I'm glad for). But I think this gets to the crux of the issue in that we (or, maybe, just I) are trying to circle a square.

Grey flannels might have been on par with chinos in Ivy's heyday (although, I wonder if that isn't a bit of an exaggeration), but they simply won't be today. They will be seen as dress pants unless they are so scruffy that they no longer really look like Ivy flannels. Which is the square that won't circle: I want the flannels to look like flannels but be accepted like chinos are today.

Good on you for your approach - I sincerely respect your confidence.
 

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My friend, I understand your conflicted views about wearing your flannels.

In my younger days I had the same mental hang-up about the better clothes that were hanging up in my closet. Then I asked myself, "What am I waiting for? Am I waiting for 'someday'? I'm not getting any younger; what if 'someday' never comes for me? Either I enjoy these clothes in this life, or I don't enjoy them at all. I have a choice: I can wear them, or I can keep them in pristine condition for the stranger who finds them in a thrift shop after I'm a pile of ashes. I vote for me. Upon my death, I want the clothes in my closet to be worn-out."

Time's a-wastin'. Wear the flannels and learn to love the old-world vibe. Don't overdo it, of course; keep the chinos in rotation. But now and then, make a point of padding around in the flannel trousers...just because.

(You'll find that as you age, "just because" becomes a good enough reason for doing more and more things.)
Good advice and I've moved in that direction over the years as I no longer "save" clothes for some Elysian Fields of sartorial need that will never arrive in my life.

So, I now wear my everyday clothes, well, everyday (not saving the "better" everyday clothes for a "special" everyday) and my "good" clothes at every opportunity.

The nuance (or excuse I'm making) here is that I don't enjoy wearing clothes that are far-outside the norms and garner regular comments. Also, I get no enjoyment from "dressing up" to sit around my apartment (I know some here do and I applaud that - it just doesn't work for me).

So, for me, it's a balance. I aggressively wear my clothes at every (to me) reasonable opportunity, (I got plenty of use from my O'Connell's Shetland and North Sea Diver sweaters this year - my nicest sweaters - in "regular" day wear, something I wouldn't have done years ago), I just can't stretch the envelope past a certain personal comfort level.
 

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...(I think the copywriter got a little carried away for a moment.)....
Maybe a bit. At least the editor took out the part about Adam wearing flannels in the Garden of Eden (pre the apple "incident").

... The grey flannel suit was a staple throughout that decade and beyond.
I still think it should be - over the years, the two suit materials I've gotten the most compliments on are heavy flannel and nailhead/birdseye (both always in grey except for a navy flannel and just-lighter-than-navy nailhead I owned at one time).

...As the 1950s progressed (if you can associate the word "progress" with the 1950s)...
Well, cars' tail fins did get bigger.
 

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...I think it's useful to remember 95% of the population (and I'm probably being generous here) are completely color-blind to the nuances of menswear. So as long as your pants don't look like tuxedo pants, I think you're quite fine....
This is so true. We'll debate the nuances of chino vs. flannel or the good or bad of a beef roll on a penny or the quality of this leather vs that leather here at AAAC (and I feel right at home when we are doing it), but then, out in the real world, if the conversation of clothes comes up (I never start it as I don't want to be "that guy" who talks about the things that only he loves), you quickly realize that the general public's telescope is set much farther back and they don't even see the details we debate.
 

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...And it isn't just what President Kennedy wore that fits into the theme of this thread; it's what he said as well. In a televised interview in the 1950s, then-Senator Kennedy was asked how people could get involved-perhaps seriously involved-in political campaigns. He replied, "The way to get started is to get started." He suggested they begin by simply handing out leaflets door-to-door.

So get started. Put on those wool gray flannel trousers, regardless of what other people think.

Then buy an estate in the Virginia horse country.

Edit: I forgot that Tim himself said "I think it's mostly in the wearer's head." So I also want to give Tim credit for working through to a resolution. Cassius would be proud.
We think alike, when I read Kennedy's quote about getting started, I thought, sure, first get a dad who is one of the wealthiest men in the country with a passion to have his son made president. Oh, and then start that door-to-door thing.

Kidding aside, I agree, just do it. Wear the pants casually and decide after a bit if you are comfortable doing it or not. See how you feel, what comments they generate and, then, decide.
 

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Thought our OP TimF would enjoy the below screen shots from the 1948 movie "An Apartment for Peggy" in which WWII vet - on the GI Bill - William Holden wears grey flannels casually - when cooking, sweeping up, running errands, etc. - with an open collar shirt and leather jacket (one assumes, his former flight jacket) when not dressed in jacket and tie.

Sorry, the pics aren't better as it's a color movie, but I couldn't find color pics of him in the flannels.

Human Table Standing Black-and-white Style
Flash photography Black-and-white Tableware Style Smile
 

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⇧ Only tangentially related, but in the movie I noted above, there are a few references to the students on the GI Bill being treated with less respect by a few college professors. This highlights how, post WWII, the culture and student population at colleges were evolving from one of scions of elite families to middle-America kids.

And there is a very pro-GI Bill speech given by the wife of one of the GIs saying how the Bill allowed kids whose parents never went to college - who didn't grow up in homes with books and education front and center - to get a higher education.

Add that to the overcrowding that the influx of the GI was causing (one of the themes of the movie) and you can see how the old college sartorial model of very expensive clothes (like Langrock's) paid for by - let's not kid ourselves - the parents of upper-class college kids wasn't sustainable in the democratic post-WWII world of college campuses where neither parent nor student could afford "the distinctive Langrock features" of "quality and tailoring" and, like Mr. Kluger, would feel more at home (and able to afford) a pair of Army-Navy store-bought khakis.

Since the movie was from '48, it fits in perfectly with Charles Dana's comments about when the evolution away from flannels to khakis took place. Bill Holden's flannel-wearing GI-Bill-student character was still modestly aspiring to the old standards of attire, but without the budget to do so. Had it been five or so years later, he probably would have tucked his flannels away for special occasions and, for daily wear, just worn the Army-issued khakis that you know were in his closet.
 
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