I am always on the lookout for nice chinos in fun colors and I’ve been seeing these Machine Gun Stretch Trousers from French Connection for the last few seasons and was always intrigued by the array of colors that they come in (which is currently over a dozen).
They only come in even sizes (but do go down to a 28), so I tried on the 34. The waist was a good fit, similar to the AllSaints chinos that I reviewed previously, and I really liked the legline. It was a little looser than what I was looking for, but slim enough to not look bulky.
The unfortunate part of the fit is everything between the waistband and about mid-thigh. The crotch is a little saggy and no matter where I adjusted the pants on my waist, nothing seemed to help. But if the crotch is only a small problem, the rear is a much bigger one. It is incredibly saggy and shapeless and definitely not a good look. It doesn’t even fit particularly well on the mannequin, which is always a warning sign.
They are only available in a 34” inseam, but as I have said before, I like to cuff colored chinos. I think colored chinos lend themselves to that look (and I’m partial to cuffing in general). If the pants fit better, I would buy them in a heartbeat. The hand is great, it feels like a very gently brushed twill and the side slit pockets and button fly make it feel a little dressier than some other chinos on the market.
The back pockets are the now standard setup of one welt-one flap, which is nice for people who keep their wallet in their back pocket but a little annoying for those of us who keep a handkerchief there.
The care instructions are pretty standard - machine wash cold, tumble dry low. They are 98% cotton, 2% Elastane and the stretch that they provide is nice for comfort and $88 is not at all an unreasonable price.
Maybe the fit was just off on me. I think they are worth a few minutes to try on, I even went back and tried them on a second time because I like everything except the crotch and rear so much, but to no avail. I was, however, talking to one of the employees who said that he does see a lot of them getting returned, so maybe it is a larger problem.
The colors are the big draw here, because not a lot of places offer the same variety year-round at such a great price. That said, the fit was so bad on me that I would probably just head to Paige, Gant, or AllSaints and pay more for a better fit, even if I’m more restricted in my color choice.