5-Pocket Style

Over the last 6 months I have been making an effort to improve my casual rigs. First that meant that I had to re-adjust my thinking in terms of what casual actually means. What I already knew was that most people do not consider chinos quite as casual as us Trads making it a good place to start. I was not ready to go full denim so I started with a pair of 5-pocket cords.
5-pockets in actionI mentioned in last week’s post that I purchased a pair of J.Crew 5-pocket cords. Specifically I got the Vintage Cord in 770 fit. Previously I had shown the green pair (Island Pine), but I also purchased the khaki pair. I have not worn the green cords, but just yesterday I tried out the khaki ones.

In short, I could not be happier with them. The fit is slimmer with a narrower leg opening (7″ in on a size 30″ waist) and lower rise than the 1040 chinos that I wear to work, but this is exactly what I was looking for in casual pants (I did size up from a 29″ to 30″waist for those of you wondering). I wasn’t thrilled with the color right out of the box, but liked it while wearing them (I also think that they have lightened up after another wash. See second pic below for reference.). I paired them with a well worn OCBD, LL Bean Signature Blucher mocs, and topped it off with a pair of Wigwam socks.
5-pocket cordsafter-wash5-pocket pants have never been my thing. I am not sure if it is the Steve McQueen connection (his style doesn’t do a whole lot for me), their period assocation, or if I was simply happy to just wear chinos instead. Whatever the case I now know that I was wrong, have discovered the joy of 5-pockets and the casual world that they have opened up to me. These 5-pocket cords in particular will pair well with my flannels, Wallabees, camp mocs, green bubble vest, and will fit right in with my fall tendency to draw on the late 70’s prep look (The Late 70’s Prep Check List).

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

25 Comments on "5-Pocket Style"

  1. George says:

    Perfect for going into work on a Saturday when no one else is there. But, please, tell me you don’t do that too often! Everyone needs to get out and about, and this outfit says and does it all. Like the facial scruff, too…fits right in. In a word, you look “ready.” Nice presentation.

  2. Tom says:

    The day you start wearing or posting about denim is the day I ask for a full refund on my subscription to your blog. Seriously though, please don’t get into wearing jeans, it’s a very slippery slope and once 501’s get into the rotation they’ll quickly become your everyday go to. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to rid myself of them but it doesn’t take long before they’re back out of the donate pile.

  3. Lennart says:

    Hi Jerrod, Nice looking five pockets, I like the beige brownish color. Five pockets to work or not is much depending on where you work and how the spoken or non spoken dresscode is. I work at a manufacturing company within logistics and general dress among male white collars are denim five pockets and shirt/polo. Around here is chinos and blazer/sportscoat a bit in the upper range, I wear that but also denim and shirt/polo and also inbetween those rigs. My fivepockets are tan or denim or cord and I wear them several days a week.

  4. oxford cloth button down says:

    I appreciate the comments. I especially appreciate the concern that I will become too casual. I don’t think this is a concern as there is nothing I like more than donning a tie. I plan on primarily wearing My 5-pockets on Saturday mornings and the occasional casual Friday.

  5. Fading Fast says:

    I think you look great in them / they are a great classic look. (The color after washing looks spot on.) The historical record – pictures, movies, etc. – support five pocket pants as being part of American classic clothing, at least from the ’50s on.

    And you need something other than chinos or all your efforts to dress well disappear as you’ll look the same every day to the casual observer. I don’t want my clothes to stand out, but I don’t want to look like I’m wearing a uniform.

    I rotate between chinos and five pocket pants 80% of the time with jeans about 15% and traditional dress trousers 5%. All are part of a classic American look – but if I didn’t mix it up, I’d bore myself and, I think, those who see me regularly.

  6. Fading Fast says:

    Sorry for the second comment, but what do you think about McQueen’s style in “Bullitt?” I thought he nailed it in that movie as he wore classic clothes but personalized them by his fit and his combinations. He did, in that movie, what I’d love to have a talent for, taking the classics and somehow combining them in a way that personalizes them without being showy or goofy.

  7. Childdoc says:

    Jerod, FYI Sid Mashburn has some very nice 5-pocket cords in a variety of colors this fall–and, made in U.S.! I ordered a pair in light gray and they are very well done indeed. He has free shipping and returns if sizing is an issue. P.S. Loved the 70’s flashback posting!

  8. Roger Russell says:

    I realize that you are not concerned with retro clothing. However, I can’t resist. The fellow in your photograph facing the camera wearing the pants with no belt loops has on the pants that Steve McQueen wore. Those are the Lee version of Levi’s Wheat Jeans.

  9. oxford cloth button down says:

    Roger Russell – I would be going too far by saying that I am not into retro items. I think that a better way would be to say that I don’t want to look as if I am in a period costume. I had lumped 5-pockets into that category, but after this foray into them I can see that I was wrong. I do not think that I came out looking like an Ivy reenactor.

  10. Fred Johnson says:

    I tried the 5 pocket cords years ago and gave it up. The look just didn’t work for me at my age.
    I don’t dislike it for weekends on someone younger like you.

  11. Roger Russell says:

    Re: Fading Fast
    No Lee does not make those any longer. They were called the Lee Leisure pant. McQueen was a big fan of that brand. In fact, a lot of people really liked Lee products in the late 50’s and early to middle 60’s. I am an old movie buff and I see Lee all over the place. Paul Newman in Hud was wearing Lee jeans and Clark Gable in his last movie (the name escapes me, but it was the one with Marilyn Monroe) was wearing Lee jeans as well.
    There is a company in California that does make a knockoff of the Lee Leisure. The Company is called Mr. Freedom their prices are so high that it is just insane. I think the pants are about $275.00.
    The Levi Strauss Company still makes The California Bedford 519. The was actually the pant most people wore back in the day. The 519 Bedford is available in the Retro clothing selection offered by Levi Strauss.
    The Lee Leisure pant is highly sought after in Japan. As you probably know Ivy League style is a big deal to the Japanese.

  12. Roger Russell says:

    Google search (Sportsman Speedway Pique) by Mr. Freedom and you will find the pants offered for a price of only $275.00.

  13. Fading Fast says:

    Roger, thank you for all the information. I checked out the Sportsman pants – I’m always amazed at how many niche (and really expensive) brands are out there.

    They are a cool pair of pants – sort of a cross between corduroys and jeans – but not for me at that price.

    The Bedfords are also neat, but they don’t have the McQueen connect to them.

    Thank again, FF

  14. oxford cloth button down says:

    FF – I will admit that it is a cool pic and rig. I am not saying that he never looked cool, because that would be a flat out lie. It may be my age, but McQueen to me never looks like the boom Ivy era or the 70s preppy mountain parka style that I like. His style seems to fall somewhere in between. I think that if I were closer to his age that I may appreciate it more.

  15. Roger Russell says:

    The shame of it all is that McQueen’s pants were not some sort of special or pricey item. They were very modest and utilitarian. Most every young person of the era wore Wheat Jeans. Levi Strauss was trying to show the public they could do more than denim and they had developed the Bedford cloth for the military. The two things just came together at the right time.
    I’m with Fading Fast. I am a big fan of McQueen and his style. I was born in Nov 1967 so my parents got me hooked on McQueen.

  16. Fading Fast says:

    To be honest, I’m more of a fan of McQueen’s style than his movies. Other than “Bullitt” and “The Great Escape” and, maybe, “Soldier in the Rain,” I find most of them only okay. And it’s not that I want to copy his style – he has more cool in his pinky than…so that’d be silly – but he has two style points I try, with only occasional success, to mimic.

    One, he took classic America style and made it his own by coming up with fresh combinations and having his clothes tailored perfectly for himself. And, two, he looks incredibly comfortable and natural in his clothes. In a scene in “Bullitt,” he is getting dressed and does it with an incredible nonchalance that make him look so comfortable with his clothes – not studied or focused on them. Since most reports are that he was focused and studied, the key is that it doesn’t appear that way.

    Bullitt is, IMHO, where it all comes together with his just-lighter-than-navy blue turtleneck, spot on brown herringbone tweed 3/2 sack sport coat, tight-fitting charcoal pants and brown suede chukkas. That outfit does not work on paper, the colors fight and are too dark to go together – but they work anyway, at least on him. And because everything is perfectly tailored for him, they move naturally with his body which also feeds the second point – he looks incredibly comfortable and natural in the clothes, as if he didn’t give them a second thought.

    That’s what I am always after and rarely if ever get. That’s what impresses me about Steve McQueen. That and Ali McGraw.

  17. Nick T says:

    HI, What oxford shirt that you wearing ? it looks great .

  18. oxford cloth button down says:

    Nick T – Thank you. It is a more recent Hyde Park from Lands End. Since it had the smaller collar I washed and dried it on hot to shrink it up a bit for casual wear.

  19. Tom says:

    Where can I get that shirt in the last picture?

  20. oxford cloth button down says:

    Tom – I don’t know where you can find like that at this time. I would check Brooks, Press, J.Crew, and PRL. Eventually one will turn up!

  21. oxford cloth button down says:

    Nick T – Mine is a 14.5 x 32.Good luck!

  22. oxford cloth button down says:

    Tom – I was overthinking my reply. I don’t know where you can get a sport shirt in this pattern, but here is a post with a few pricier options: http://oxfordclothbuttondown.com/2016/08/end-summer-shirts/

I would like to hear from you