Thursday, November 02, 2006

Who's Wearing The Pants Now?

With the gardening season effectively over for the next 5 months in Zone 5 – barring an early spring for such bulbs as Galanthus (snowdrop), Eranthis (winter aconite), and Crocus – I’m going to talk about something almost completely different: Pants and where to get them.

I’ve been looking for flannel-lined khakis or blue jeans, because I don’t find separate long underwear very comfortable (it always seems a bit stuffy in the manhood department). We haven’t used our furnace yet, just a gas fireplace to warm the living-room some mornings (this economizing due to the prospect of paying heating bills on a 3,000 square foot Victorian with 10-foot ceilings). And somehow 60 F, if it's indoors, feels F'ing cold!

I went to the new Peebles in North Adams on opening day, and I suppose they do a pretty good job trying to provide every kind of garment, from men’s suits to little girls’ pajamas, in a modest space, but it’s just not possible. They have a Carhartt section for work clothes, but no lined pants; thankfully a salesperson did tell me that Tractor Supply Company, in Bennington VT or Pittsfield MA, would have a wider selection.

A subsequent visit to the mall in Lanesboro proved fruitless, so I went to Bennington yesterday, where TSC had all kinds of utility and casual clothes at great prices (like 100% flannel shirts for $12), including lined blue jeans for $45 (Carhartt) or $30 (TSC’s own C. E. Schmidt line, which I found especially comfortable and well-fitting), both of which appear to be pre-washed and very well made.

They’re not the very heaviest of pants, but they’re a lot warmer than unlined jeans or khakis. They have a checkered blue lining, which seems a lot more sensible to me than my old L.L Bean khakis with a checkered red lining, which I’m never sure whether to wash with the reds or with the neutral colors.

While there I noticed a couple of the women’s garments, which seemed a particularly outré example of Western kitsch, perhaps suitable for Halloween, but I wasn’t really paying attention to whether any of the women’s stuff would appeal to ex-yuppie women for their casual clothing (sorry wife, but I did have two pre-schoolers antsy to get to the Bennington McDonalds with the indoor playground).

In short, for any man looking for clothes for gardening or weekend wear, or for a casual work environment, I heartily recommend a trip to Tractor Supply Company (or

Note that I have no financial connection whatsoever to TSC or its agents, but if they wish to pay a bribe for my bringing my legions of fans to their doors... let's just say that "prices are low." I do not currently own their stock (Nasdaq symbol TSCO), but I may look into it one of these days as they seem to be a well-managed firm with more potential for growth (and reportedly better employee relations) than, say, Wal-Mart.

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