Thursday, 5 June 2014

Buzz Rickson 1942 HBT Trousers

Summer is here.. even in England. A good thing,  however my trusty 19oz Pike Brothers jeans are getting a my legs a little too toasty. I do have lighter denim, but to give me a break from indigo I began looking for something different.

Buzz Rickson's Herringbone Twill 1942 Trousers

Herringbone Twill (HBT) is just as rugged as denim. So much so that the material was widely used by WW2 era militaries for their uniforms.

Introduced by the Americans in 1941 to replace denim working dress, US HBT uniforms are still widely reproduced - today the best by far are the stitch-for-stitch recreations offered by Buzz Rickson's. 

Buzz Rickson's Herringbone Twill 1942 TrousersBuzz Rickson's Herringbone Twill 1942 Trousers

So, for me, they were the natural place to start for an alternative to denim. Buzz Rickson's produce HBT trousers in several different patterns. I opted for the US Army 1942 version.

Made from high quality, military spec HBT, Rickson's argue that they feel and wear like a wartime original.

Buzz Rickson's HBT 1942 Trousers - coin pocket

Buzz Rickson's don't appear to have the '42 pattern on their site any more. However, they now do a '41 US Marine Corps (USMC) version.

The '42 Army pattern differs in that obviously they don't sport the USMC logo on the back pocket, have army buttons and a natural white twill lined waist band. Rather than utilitarian patch pockets they sport smarter sash pockets - including a coin pocket.

Buzz Rickson's HBT 1942 Trousers

So they don't feel too military - useful if you don't want to look like you're about single-handedly re-take Guadalcanal.

Confusingly these trousers, in cut and detailing, are exactly like the first 1941 pattern that gradually replaced pre-war denim fatigues, so I'm not sure why they're billed by Rickson's as 1942.

There were several shades of Olive Drab (OD) used over the years, and these are in the early war lighter sage green shade.

Buzz Rickson's Herringbone Twill 1942 Trousers

In any case, several patterns were worn widely until the end of the war - soldiers just sported what they were issued by the QM. So, unless you're a geeky re-enactor and get het up about such things, you need not worry.

As with several other items of military clothing their rugged utility, mixed with a pinch of nostalgia, give them an enduring stylishness that transcends the garment's original function as a working uniform. Simply put, for chaps seeking an excellently made vintage inspired pair of trousers, these are for you.

I found mine from Burg & Schild in Berlin, one of the city's best shops for quality denim and heritage menswear - and they still have a few pairs left. I urge you to go and visit these guys if you're in town, however if you can't make it the trousers are available online here.

(With thanks to Thomas at Burg & Schild for all the help. Pix ©Burg & Schild.)

No comments:

Post a Comment