By Ian Clifford
10 minute read

26th of February 2021

19 months in the making.

5 different factories trialled until we found the right one.

17 fabrics tested.

5 different versions of the final trouser made just at the factory we finally settled on.

Lots of small detail revisions until we made something different. Something that we couldn’t find. Something no one else is making.

In house, we’ve called it the ‘not-a-chino’.

It’s not a chino.

It’s so much more.

And we’re very proud of it.

So why?

Most of our journey as Elgin so far has been about our ‘why’.

The reason we started making clothes.

In essence, we’re on this adventure because we couldn’t find the clothes we wanted at the quality we felt was needed at a price we could afford.

So we decided to make them ourselves.

That’s what we’ve done with this trouser.

As with the rest of our range, there’s been a very simple question nagging at us.

In this case, it was this:

Where can you buy a quality casual trouser that’s not-a-chino or a pair of jeans?

Your options are either poor imitations of a work trouser that someone has tried to dress down or a high-end luxury brand that is horrifically expensive, and where you’re paying three times what you should to cover branding and wholesale costs.

That’s galling at prices above two or even three hundred pounds.

Why doesn’t someone make a trouser that is properly made from quality fabric and that is both casual and unfussy, but which can also pass muster in a formal setting without looking try hard?

In other words, a bit of legwear that you can wear everyday, no matter what you’re doing and that doesn’t make you look and feel as though you’ve given up and plumped for the unimaginative and ubiquitous chino for lack of a better option.

That’s what we wanted.

And we couldn’t find it.

That’s why we’ve made the Elgin trouser.

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The not-a-chino.

Using the construction methods found in high end luxury trousers, cut to flatter and made from soft, comfortable and flexible but hard-wearing fabric, the Elgin trouser is everything you’ve been looking for in your wardrobe staple trousers.

Just as suited to when you’re out and about, maybe riding a bike or taking a daily constitutional, or lounging about, taking it easy.

It’s the option for those who want more than a chino.

The truth is we’ve been quite rude about chinos in the last two years since we started Elgin.

We had sworn that we weren’t ever going to make one.

Not that we hated the chino per se.

It was just that we wanted a trouser that wasn’t just a chino.

There’s plenty of menswear brands making chinos. Some are pretty good. Many are not.

But, regardless, we wanted a trouser that was both an alternative to the jeans we all wear pretty much every day, but that could also work as a formal trouser without feeling overdone.

So that’s a casual everyday trouser that you can also wear to a formal do or an important meeting.

Smart, but also casual. Tricky.

And then, we wanted them to be extremely comfortable. Not a replacement for those jogging bottoms you might have relaxed into over lockdown (we’ve got those coming…), but just snug enough to feel great.

But that wasn’t enough.

Because we needed them to have a proper cut. So that there was a semi-fitted line and a shape to them that you don’t get with a chino.

So, we had a lot of ‘must-haves’.

A few factories and many fabrics later...

We tried a bunch of factories and they were getting closer, but they hadn’t nailed it.

And we kept trying different fabrics.

Until we settled on a 280gsm peached cotton from Lancashire’s finest weavers who’ve been making exceptional fabric for nearly 200 years.

Good enough for us.

Soft, with a little stretch, but hard wearing and resistant to creases. A perfect starting ingredient for a superior trouser recipe.

Then we sat down with some lovely artisans in Wales. (Well, we say sat down, but given there was a pandemic going on, we sent a lone wolf to steer the development through, facemask and hand sanitiser at the ready. And there were Zooms, obviously).

We talked about luxury Italian handmade trousers that we couldn’t afford.

What did they have that made them fit so well and what gives them that feel of pedigree and robust quality?

And how could we get some of that?

It turns out that a flat front likes a double closure at the waist.

It holds the front of your trouser the way it’s been designed to be.

That’s why we have an extended waist tab at the front and a second closure hidden inside the left of the waistband to hold everything just so.

But, you’ve got wide belt loops should you want to add a belt as well.

Third time's the charm.

Towards the end of development (Welsh version 3, in fact) we added a dart in the rear seam. That makes the shaping during construction easier to perfect and allows for adjustment over the years should your dimensions vary…

Our Welsh wizards also helped us get the line we wanted on the rear pockets. Jetted, so there’s no external flap, but with concealed buttons so you can secure them and keep the opening from sagging

And the buttons; we had our own made by the masters in Panama, from Corozo, a natural material made from the nuts of a tropical palm tree.

Completely sustainable and hard wearing.

We had these made to our spec and engraved with our logo for just a little hubris reflecting what we’d managed to pull together.

YKK, the king of zips, was a natural choice for this premium garment. Last a lifetime and give no bother.

The last detail we obsessed over was the pockets.

Both the founders of Elgin have a bugbear over pocket bags that wear out. When your keys wear a hole and you end up doing a rubbish home repair.

We wanted to avoid that, so we found some super hardwearing cotton poplin (125gsm in fact, nearly twice the strength of your common or garden pocketing) from another renowned English supplier. And then we made deep pockets that don’t spoil the line of the design.

Every necessary detail from high-end trousers was considered and added if it was merited.

We made the choice to make the trouser in single inch increments so that everyone could get their perfect size.

And we did what all the best trouser makers do when it comes to length. A 34 inch inseam. You can hem it to your perfect length or turn it up for the most casual style. Just know that the fabric folds perfectly flat and stays rolled just how you like it.

We purposely chose not to add a further layer of lining to the internal waistband. We tried it and decided it was too fussy and unnecessary.

The road was long. Often it was tedious and frustrating.

But we got to the end.

And, when the final size set came to us to be signed off for production, we were smitten.

We’ve learnt a lot in two years and we’ve had our fair share of problems climbing a steep cliff of a learning curve.

So, when you get something right, it feels great.

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This is not a chino.

It’s the perfect everyday trouser.

No ripples at the waistline. No crinkles in the crotch.

Soft, but hard-wearing, yet they stay crease free.

Just slim enough, but not too skinny.

Hem it or roll it up. Looks great either way.

Wear them anywhere.

At home, at work, in the pub (soon…), at a family do or a work thing.

Smart and casual.

I think you’re probably getting the message.

A lot of love and care has gone into these and we’re not shy of telling you how proud we are.

Look, we’ll probably make a chino at some point.

But, right now, who needs yet another brand just knocking those out?

Shapeless, boring canvas twill in a generic cut and three colours, no matter the brand, and a style that’s almost become an off-duty uniform for the masses?

And where’s the alternative?

Well, that’s what we’ve done.

A trouser made by skilled hands, that fits you the way it should, that makes you feel good and gets admiring glances and ‘where are they from?’ enquiries from friends.

It’s taken a long time, but that’s what we’ve managed to create. For ourselves and for you.

Proper trousers for proper people.

Time to give them a try.

Get 15% off a pair.
Use the code below at checkout: