Dress trousers in linen suiting in wheat

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£190.00 — ex VAT

Trousers with legs of middling width, made in London, with deceptively simple but extremely high-grade linen of middling weight (9oz) from Northern Ireland, and with horn buttons and a sand-cast brass buckle from the West Midlands.


If in doubt with sizing, ignore what your current trousers say they are, and measure them instead. Lay them flat, straighten them out, run a measuring tape from one side of the waistband to the other — not along the top edge, but the seam joining waistband to legs — and then double it. That's your size (not to be confused with your own physical waist size).

Waist 30 32 34 36 38
Front rise 12¼ 12½ 12¾ 13 13¼
Back rise 14¾ 15½ 16¼ 17 17¾
Thigh 12 12½ 13 13½ 14
Knee 9 10
Hem 8
Inside leg 32 32 32 32 32
Inside leg unhemmed 33½ 33½ 33½ 33½ 33½
Putting aside the obvious aspects of the dress trousers — the double-pleat front, the adjustable waistband — what we have here is legwear cut in a traditional sort of way, meaning plenty of room in the seat to liberate the wearer from pull and stretch, and a leg of moderate width which tapers gently to the ankle.
The trousers fasten with a buckle at the side. The waistband keeps going, past the fly, and meets the buckle, attached to a small tab on the right side as worn. Works like a belt, gives a clean look at the front, and means you can adjust the size should you shrink or grow over the course of the day or week or year.
The trousers have a double-pleat front, though only the front pleats really make themselves known to the outside world. The other pleat is smaller, tucked around at the side of the trousers, near the entrance of the pockets. Thus the comfort and shape of a double-pleated front but with dressiness dialled down a notch.
There are five pockets on the trousers, the main ones of which are tucked into the outer side seams. They're barely visible, but are deep and sturdily made, so are exceptionally pleasing to plunge hands inside (even better, the displacement of cloth when using them is masked, absorbed, by that secondary pleat).
Never overlook the little coin pocket, which spans the gap in the waistband between the two pleats. It lurks ready for the storage of loose chain or keys, even a bank card or two, on the right side as worn.
With so much activity on the front of the trousers, the back is comparatively sparse. There are, however, two pockets lurking back there — tucked into the waistband seam on the left and right sides. No diminutive coin pockets, these: they're as deep or deeper than the pockets on any comparable trousers.
The buttons on the trousers are real horn, dark in colour and matte in finish. The trousers have a button fly of three such buttons, as well as two others, which fasten the fly-guard and the front of the trousers before the belt is swept across.
French seams can be found down both sides of the leg. Very durable seams, these: you'd have to do something dramatic — acrobatic, perhaps, even — to split them open. There is strength, too, in the abundance of bar-tacks on the trousers, with at least a dozen supporting the points of most wear and tear.
They are lined to the knee, front and back, with soft, breathable satin. The way this lining is constructed makes the trousers as tidy when turned inside-out as outside-out, as is cut on the selvedge for a flat finish. The lining makes it easy — nay, pleasurable — to slide one's legs up and down and all around.
The linen here is suiting cloth of the highest grade. It is a very fine, high-count weave of very fine, long-staple yarn, first mercerised for deep colour and silky lustre, then sanforised to remove shrinkage. It is thick and strong, and creases less than most cottons, let alone crumpled, unkempt linens of stereotype.

As worn

The gent here has a waist of 33" — an awkward size, but here he is wearing a size M, and with the belt tightened at the back. And it's a fair cop: these are the slim trousers, not the standards. They're almost identical, but these taper more from the knee to the ankle.

Makers of

The trousers are made in London by a factory which — since they are so sturdily built, particularly at the seams — specialises in heavy outerwear. Making them, in fact, can be a gruelling task, entailing as it does umpteen more stages than most trousers — at least five of which demand a hammer.
The cloth is woven by a linen mill, a few miles south of Belfast in Northern Ireland. The mill was built at the end of the 1800s, back when Belfast was "Linenopolis". That it's one of the last mills still standing in the area is testament to its exemplary work in the weaving, dying, and finishing of luxury-grade linen.
The brass hardware is made by a foundry in the West Midlands, which was founded in the 1800s. It is the last such foundry in an area once heaving with them. Its sand-casting method — which sees 940°c molten brass poured by hand from a crucible into sand-made moulds — is ancient and infallible.
The horn buttons were cut, shaped, and polished by the last such factory in Britain (now defunct). It was part of a tradition in the Midlands first linked to the meat industry of the 18th century. "It is no easy task," said William Hutton in 1780, "to enumerate the infinite diversity of buttons made in Birmingham."

So they say

The standard trousers arrived today. Man o' man — how in the world did you manage to surpass even my most wildest of expectations? Your obvious reverence for craftsmanship in addition to the care you gave me before, during, and after the purchase will always be remembered when I spring for additional purchases in the near future.

Standard trousers made in high-count cotton are what this man was describing in May 2016.

Thanks for the standard trousers that I received on Monday. They look great. Admittedly, they do make the rest of my wardrobe look like cheap tat, but that just means I'll have to buy lots more nice clothes from you guys in future.

So said a man who bought the trouser in Shetland woollen in February of 2015.

Thank you for the delivery of the standard trousers [and shirt]. I deeply appreciate the thought and effort that goes into creating the garments. I look forward to being a customer of S.E.H Kelly for many more years to come.

Words from a gent who bought the standard trouser in high-count cotton in October 2015.

Very nice [standard] trouser, nice fabric. I very much appreciate your idea of garments lasting longer than a season, hence I completely agree with your non-sale policy.

This chap bought some standard trousers in cotton in January 2017.

I received my standard trousers yesterday, and I am very happy, as I have been wearing them throughout the day today. Both the fit and the colour are truly beautiful, and it is a pride to wear them here in the cold Norwegian winter.

Comments courtesy of a gent who bought the trouser in a Shetland woollen in early 2015.

I just wanted to "review" the heavy woollen hopsack black trouser. The material is really something: the first time I've seen such a trouser with that quality and weight of fabric. Such a unique cloth. I hope they will last a whole life time and even, perhaps, be bequeathed to the next generation.

So spoke a man who picked up the standard trousers in the heaviest of hopsack woollens in black in March 2020.