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Machine washable equivalent of grey flannel trousers?

teachmenononsense

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When I'm not in work, but am heading into town, I like to wear something more formal than jeans, but less formal than fine worsted trousers. I have small children, so pale colours aren't always an option.

In winter I typically wear heavier chinos in something like olive, or brown cords. In summer I will wear lighter weight chinos or I have some linen trousers too in colours like rust that are okay.

I find that chinos, linen, cords, etc. don't work for me in grey though. Grey jeans can be nice, but are not formal enough. Grey flannel trousers are the classic. I have some I wear for work and they go with everything. They are that really sweet spot for formality where they can be dressed down or up easily.

But I do not wear dry clean only clothes outside of work or adults only dates. It's just not practical with small kids.

So what are the grey trousers I should be looking out for to fill that formality and colour niche in my non-work wardrobe? Are there types of flannel (cotton?) that are machine washable? Should I be looking at things like cavalry twill? Any suggestions most appreciated.
 

Phileas Fogg

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You can get cotton flannel but the problem is that machine washing it will affect the hand of the fabric.

Moleskin is another option.
 

mak1277

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I used to feel the same way about grey cords, until I bought a pair of charcoal cords from Taylor Stitch that are really nice. They're a darker/browner grey than most cords that I've seen and I quite like them.

Unfortunately, I just looked on their site and they're not currently available. I did see these though, which might actually be a solution to your question:

 

johng70

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I used to feel the same way about grey cords, until I bought a pair of charcoal cords from Taylor Stitch that are really nice. They're a darker/browner grey than most cords that I've seen and I quite like them.

Unfortunately, I just looked on their site and they're not currently available. I did see these though, which might actually be a solution to your question:

I really like Taylor Stitch - but, my experience is like you describe - lots of good stuff is only available for a short time. I've bought several different limited run shirts and chinos and am currently waiting on some jeans. Great place, IMO.
 

standaloneprotein

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Fear of repercussions invaded my soul merely by thinking this, but you should check Uniqlo. (Almost everything they have is machine washable)
 
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teachmenononsense

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I used to feel the same way about grey cords, until I bought a pair of charcoal cords from Taylor Stitch that are really nice. They're a darker/browner grey than most cords that I've seen and I quite like them.

Unfortunately, I just looked on their site and they're not currently available. I did see these though, which might actually be a solution to your question:

Thanks for the suggestion. Those pants do look quite nice. A little casual in the 5 pocket cut but the fabric looks (from pictures at least) to share some visual texture in common with grey flannel. I'm in the UK so I'd have to look at shipping etc.

Charcoal cords would be too dark for me I think. I tend to wear a lot of navy up top and I like a little more contrast than you get with such a dark grey on the bottom.
 

teachmenononsense

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Fear of repercussions invaded my soul merely by mentioning this, but you should check Uniqlo. (Almost everything they have is machine washable)
I'm not averse to Uniqlo at all. I've had lots of items from them that are great quality for the price. And I'm not going to roll on the floor with my kids in a £200 pair of trousers. Was wearing a pair of their vintage chinos just yesterday in fact. I'll have a look and see if they offer anything suitable.
 

dieworkwear

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I like and wear Sid Mashburn's five-pocket cords. They don't have any grey ones at the moment, but they usually stock a wide range of colors and it may be available this fall. Before purchasing, call one of their stores and get measurements for your size. Sometimes a pair of pants from them are tagged in their actual size, not the wearer's size. In other words, a size 32 in their five-pocket cords might measure 32 across the waist. Most other shops will label pants with a 32 waist as a size 30 for vanity.
 
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mak1277

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Thanks for the suggestion. Those pants do look quite nice. A little casual in the 5 pocket cut but the fabric looks (from pictures at least) to share some visual texture in common with grey flannel. I'm in the UK so I'd have to look at shipping etc.

Charcoal cords would be too dark for me I think. I tend to wear a lot of navy up top and I like a little more contrast than you get with such a dark grey on the bottom.
If you don't like the idea of charcoal cords then I totally agree with skipping grey cords altogether. For some reason I never think lighter grey cords look good. I'd love to be proven wrong someday!

I'll also 2nd the suggestion of Sid Mashburn cords...they're excellent and have a great cut. Much slimmer than the Taylor Stitch cords but not skinny.
 

dieworkwear

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I'm also not crazy about the idea of gray cords unless you're going to wear them in a more directional outfit, such as workwear or something contemporary. If you're going to wear it in a more "classic" way (meaning, button-down shirt, sport coats, and anything that looks "dressy"), I think you're better off with classic colors such as brown or tan.

Gray cords don't translate the same as gray flannel. It's not so much about texture but how these pieces are used in various dress traditions. If you wear steel gray cords with a button-up shirt, it will just look kind of modern business casual. If you wear brown five-pocket cords with a button-up shirt, it will sit somewhere between tailored clothing and true casualwear, and have that kind of classic look you desire.
 
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maxalex

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Are your children filthier than average?

I raised two boys so I’m familiar with the possibilities, but I can’t recall an increase in trouser cleaning (mine as opposed to theirs).

That said, among the very few things I miss in America is the speed and economy of dry cleaning. Here in Italy, cleaning a wool garment can easily cost €10 and take ten days. If you’re in America, why not just wear the wool slacks and not worry about the $5 bill for next-day dry cleaning? Also, eventually your kids will learn how to eat an ice cream cone before it melts all over their trousers, or yours.
 

teachmenononsense

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Are your children filthier than average?

I raised two boys so I’m familiar with the possibilities, but I can’t recall an increase in trouser cleaning (mine as opposed to theirs).
I'm pretty sure they're the standard level of filthiness for under-5s!

My dry cleaner will do a pair of trousers for £6 (about $8.50) and turn them around in 2-3 days. The time is not a concern but, frankly, I can't afford to spend that much cleaning trousers on a teacher's salary. Especially when I might only have them on for three or four hours before they get dribble or jam or cheese spread ground into them! And even if could afford that, I wouldn't want to be paying it.
 

maxalex

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I'm pretty sure they're the standard level of filthiness for under-5s!

My dry cleaner will do a pair of trousers for £6 (about $8.50) and turn them around in 2-3 days. The time is not a concern but, frankly, I can't afford to spend that much cleaning trousers on a teacher's salary. Especially when I might only have them on for three or four hours before they get dribble or jam or cheese spread ground into them! And even if could afford that, I wouldn't want to be paying it.
Ah ok you’re in the UK, same high cost of dry cleaning as here.
 

mak1277

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Filth aside, there’s also the issue of just being down on the floor playing with kids. It’s much more practical to do that in chinos or cords than in tailored wool trousers.
 

Mr Tickle

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I've just sworn off dry-clean clothing for anything where I will be within throwing distance of my children until they are old enough to pay for my cleaning themselves.
 

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