For The Suits Essentials: Sta Prest

It’s new feature time on For The Suits. We’re taking on the challenge of breaking down clothing essentials for all you sartorial sort of cats out there. We figured where better to start than the much vaunted sta prest trousers that too many get wrong nowadays. Far too many more don’t even wear ‘em.

First things first: Levi’s made the best sta prest ever. End of. Notice the past tense. That’s because the stuff they’ve deemed “sta prest” since the mid 70’s have been absolute garbage. But the mystique and admiring tones the original sta prest are discussed with make it quite clear they’re the best ever. Personally, we can’t vouch for this. We had one brief, fleeting, exciting fling with a pair of tonic Levi’s sta-prest that unfortunately ended in heartbreak when they didn’t fit. Alas we’ve since moved on and discovered another, but back on topic.

Let’s clear the air on exactly what sta-prest is. Cause it isn’t what most seem to believe. The shit polyester fabric that Wrangler and Lee make their sta prest with is garbage and all wrong. Sadly polyester Levi’s often appear on eBay advertised as sta prest, getting many hopes up and many cats buying the wrong trousers. Not only are they wrong, you’ll sweat uncontrollably throughout the course of a night out. Other mistakes these imitators make are the pockets, both front and back. One can’t be seen in such things.

So what should you look for in sta prest, if you want the proper look? Side slanted (or on seam) front pockets are a must. Frog mouth will also do in a pinch, Jump The Gun do a nice pair of sta-prest which feature frog mouth pockets with a notch for instance. But if you want authentic, slant is the way to go. Original Levi sta prest had a single back pocket, on the right side of the trouser, with a button closure. Most trousers nowadays will come with two. Fit has to be a straight fit, although slim fitting also suffice. Just don’t end up looking like an Italian waiter. Colors are all up to you, although British Khaki, navy blue and stone are personal favorites. And for the love of style, if you’re going to wear trousers named “sta prest” make sure they are in fact pressed. You should be able to slit a throat with your crease.

So now where do you get them? Trust us, it’s a lot harder to find a bad pair of imitation sta prest then it is to find proper ones. We recommend Brooks Brothers Advantage chinos first and foremost. They are top of the line. 100% cotton but specially treated to resist wrinkling they are the end all and be all. They feature slanted front pockets, a double back pocket, flat front without pleats and come in a host of great colors as well as straight and slim fit options. And they, gasp!, stay pressed. Worth every penny.

The sta prest on offer from Jump The Gun are another great alternative. They only come in a slim fit, which is too slim for our liking, with frog mouth pockets and the singular back pocket. Our issue with them, beside the fit, is the quality of fabric. They simply do not stay pressed in our experiences. Perhaps we should just be taking better care of them though, eh?

Warrior is also in the sta prest stakes. They are quite nice and a better quality than the Jump the Gun trousers in terms of fabric. They feature two back pockets as well as slant pockets on the front and come in the most wide ranging choice of colors, from tonic to Ruperts (if that’s your bag). Probably our second favorite.

So there you have it. No more excuses for not looking right next time you head out for a night, now is there?


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