"Honey," I ventured timidly. "When is the last time you washed those pants?"
My boyfriend was in his closet, looking for a button down to go with his slim-cut Outlier pants. They were a bit wrinkled, which meant that the answer was probably a long, long time ago.
"Um ..." He straightened and looked at them. "Well, let's see, I guess it was, last week? Why? Are you saying they look bad?"
"Well, I just think you should look nice today for your meeting, and I know you love them and usually they look great, but they need a wash now."
Oh, the Outlier pants. They first came into our life last summer, when I figured I was deep enough into the relationship to gently prod my tall, slim boyfriend toward some nice pants that fit him. The only thing is, at 6'5", it's not easy to find pants that fit him well. (Nudie Jeans is another good, sustainable choice for tall men, but we were looking for dress pants.)
The hunt was on. I emailed him a link to Outlier, a performance apparel company that manufactures right in the Garment District. Outlier tends to market to the type of dude (and dude-ette) who cycles everywhere, including his job, but needs to arrive looking ready for a creative pitch to the client. And my boyfriend fits the bill--he likes to cycle to work in the summer, and often has to show his architecture firm's work for approval to the client. But beyond that, we also spend at least two nights a week dancing in places ranging from clubs to sweaty, crowded warehouses. He wanted a pair of pants that could hold up to a lot of sweat, beer spills, and movement.
And one more thing, he's a bit of a Metrosexual. He likes to look good.
At first he balked at the price--pants start at $198 and go up from there. But when we found out the studio is literally around the block from his apartment in Williamsburg, we had to stop by. You know, just to take a look.
To get to the Outlier space, you climb up an old, concrete stairwell in a warehouse-like building, following paper signs. The actual studio and store is in a brightly-lit loft, with large screen Apple computers, prototypes laying about, and a room with industrial shelfs stacked with merchandise. A boombox played early 90s hiphop, as a couple of down-to-earth-dapper guys helped my boyfriend choose just the right pants and fit.
Of course, once he put on the pants, he fell in love. They come in a length fit for a 6'5" Venezuelan, and from there, you can get them tailored shorter to fit more average guys. He managed to wrench himself away from a slim cut, sweat-wicking, button-down shirt to match. (Budgets, we has 'em.) But when he realized he could put his phone in the back pocket without it falling out, that the pants would dry quickly and the seams would hold up after year of going back and forth over the Williamsburg Bridge, he couldn't hold himself back.
"Hey, can we talk about my being your DJ/architect spokesperson and you sponsoring me?" he half-joked to the sales guy. (Offer still stands if you're interested, Outlier.)
Now the pants are on heavy, heavy rotation. He'll throw them in the wash, and wear his Express pants on laundry day and his cargos on, "I hope Alden doesn't see me in this," days, but then the Outliers are back on the next. He's been wearing them almost non-stop for four months now, and the only blemish is a small thread pulled out by the kitty. Let's see, if he wears them five times a week (conservative estimate) then he's down to $2.50 per wear, and falling.
And you know what? This uniform doesn't bother me, because damn, he looks good.