I chose Outlier’s 60/30 Chinos as my one and only pair of pants in my 1 Year 1 Outfit experiment for a number of reasons. First off, Outlier as a brand embodies the ideals I was trying to achieve in building the smallest functional wardrobe possible for me. They are a small company working hard to push the boundaries of how we think about clothes, being able to do more with less. They are based in New York City and plenty of their clothes are made just across the bridge in the city’s garment district.
Outlier’s clothes may look fairly standard on the surface, but each garment is made with the newest technical fabrics to improve both their comfort and functionality. The cuts are clean and modern with a focus on mobility; the original idea was to be able to bike to work and go straight to your office all without changing outfits.
Fit for wear
Outlier’s 60/30 Chinos were exactly the pant I needed for this year-long challenge. They look like a smart tailored pair of chinos and they fit in perfectly with any situation from backyard barbecues all the way up to boardroom business casual, but their true strengths are hidden away inside their technical cloth.
The 60/30’s are made out of a blend of cotton and polyester that makes them extremely comfortable and functional with four-way stretch, increased abrasion resistance, and a water and stain shedding outer coating.
The fit is exactly what I look for in a chino, they have a slim-tapered leg without being too skinny. They are fairly generous in the thigh and the four-way stretch allows them to accommodate different leg sizes with relative ease, they then taper down to a decently slim leg opening which means they avoid looking like frumpy khakis. These fit true to size and Outlier’s site has detailed measurements so that you can compare to your other pants.
I probably should have hemmed my pair by about 2 inches, but once I started the challenge I couldn’t exactly be without pants for a few days while the tailor was working on them so I switched between cuffing and letting them stack up a bit.
Pants that can take a beating
For this challenge I needed a pair of pants that I could wear hiking up a mountain and then go out for dinner in them later that evening; the Outlier 60/30’s easily tackled each obstacle I threw at them.
I literally wore these pants for 365 consecutive days, even on hot summer days when I was wearing shorts I would change into these pants in the evenings. If most people wear a pair of pants 2-3 times per week this would be akin to 3-4 years of wear.
I’ve had crotch blowouts and pockets holes form in jeans and other cotton pants in a lot less than a year’s worth of just average wear so going into this I was a bit concerned that I was going to end up looking like Deets in Lonesome Dove with my patchwork pants by the end of the year. Even the guys’ at Outlier were questioning if I shouldn’t choose their more durable pant, the Slim Dungaree, but I wanted the slightly dressier look and cotton feel of the 60/30’s.
These pants have been through a lot, they’ve been on daily walks, hiking in Costa Rica, skiing in the Rockies, and out for dinner in NYC. And, at the end of the year these pants are still going strong.
They never had a single rip, hole, or tear, the zipper held up perfectly, and I never even popped a button. The one place where they are showing some wear is in the crotch, where if I stretch the fabric tight I can tell that it is thinning out. I think they’ve still got a decent amount of wear left before a blow out, which is pretty extraordinary considering.
The one weakness I felt wearing these pants was that they were a little too breathable during the colder months. Over the winter I definitely had times where I wished I had some heavier weight pants or some long underwear to wear underneath. A pair of merino lined M-back Climbers might be the way to go if you’re looking for a warmer winter pant.
The key to the 60/30’s is their blended fabric. They are exceptionally comfortable with the four way stretch, yet they still have enough substance to avoid the yoga pant feel that I felt wearing Outlier’s Climbers.
Some of Outlier’s other pants may have more technical features like increased water resistance and durability against abrasion, but for this challenge I wanted something with a traditional feel. I figured a more natural fabric tends to mix a little better with other natural materials like the wool shirts and leather boots in the rest of my outfit.
The 60/30’s do fade a little bit, to me I like the worn in slightly faded look and lighter highlights that appear along high wear areas. It’s certainly not high contrast fading like you might get with raw denim, more of a light dusting, but it’s something to note.
Worth the price of admission
Outlier’s prices are a decent step up from department store fare, but they are pretty much in line with other higher-end fashion brands with first world production. Given their stylish cuts and performance fabrics there really isn’t much else like them on the market.
The 60/30 Chinos lasted me a full year’s wear and never faltered, plus they had the versatility to fit in at every occasion I happened across. They are the perfect small wardrobe pant and are excellent for travelling light, I can’t think of any other pant that could have accomplished what these chinos did.
If you routinely mix your active lifestyle with business casual or are looking for a way to comfortably dress-up your wardrobe then I would say these are a sure bet.