A Review: Bluffworks don’t wrinkle, they don’t rip and they don’t stink after one day’s wear. Take that, Unnamed Company That Rhymes With Tockers.
Every once in a while, I like to check out Kickstarter.com. As you probably know, it’s a site where you can invest in up-and-coming products by promising entrepreneurs. There’s some really exciting stuff there (and some truly weak ideas), but one that caught my eye was a project for men’s pants called Bluffworks by Stefan Loble.
The unique selling point of Mr. Loble’s revolutionary trousers? They don’t wrinkle, they don’t rip and they don’t stink after one day’s wear. These are pants for guys who don’t have time to fuss over laundry, but still want to look presentable most of the time. I figured that was me. I work in an office and I pride myself on looking decent. (Mind you, as a civil servant, my bar is low. We are the worst-dressed profession on earth, after heroin addicts and college professors.)
I am also an avid traveler, and I really hate traveling with jeans. They’re heavy and hot and just aren’t useful enough to justify cramming into a small suitcase or pack. Particularly for me; I work as a cruise ship guest lecturer during my holidays and unfortunately, jeans just don’t cut it.
So I ordered me some Bluffs, and they arrived just in time for my fall trip: three weeks sailing to Alaska and back.
Here’s the deal: laundry facilities on a cruise ship are kind of non-existent. I mean, you can hand your laundry off to your room steward who will make it magically re-appear 24 hours later for the price of a small sports car. Or, you can do it yourself in the sink. Guess which I do? (And by “I”, I generally mean my partner Tommy who graciously offers to take care of the laundry in exchange for getting to ride shotgun for free around the world.)
Anyway, as you can imagine, having a pair of trousers that a) I can hike around Skagway or Gibraltar in; b) look terrific in a semi-formal environment; c) I can even wear while I’m on the podium presenting and d) can do all of the above for several days in a row without washing… Well let’s just say I love these trousers.
My favourite feature? The “mobility gusset,” an extra panel sewn into the groin to give your little buddies some extra room while you hike or cycle around. (So many flat-front pants are built like a cheap hotel: there’s no ballroom.)
They’re made of some polyester that is not of this earth, but the fabric feels pretty good against the skin. They’re tough and light and smooth, and the material is reasonably stain-resistant, a fact I discovered recently while on assignment for Toque and Canoe at the Bill Reid Gallery. It was a swell evening affair, and I was interviewing the Director of Aboriginal Tourism BC. There we were, chatting away when along came a server with these fantastic bannock and salmon canapés from an aboriginal restaurant here in town. Yum. So I smoothly reach for one and it collapses in my hand and falls into my lap, leaving a giant unholy spooge of mayonnaise all over my, um, mobility gusset. It was not my finest hour. We took a time out from the interview while the Director went off to find me a few napkins so I could, you know, clean myself up. God. So a few minutes later the mayo was gone, the interview and the evening concluded pleasantly, and I had no major dark greasy stain where I might have had one with another fabric.
At any rate, three months into my relationship with my first Bluffs, they are in near-perfect condition, after nearly constant wear to and from work, with stops at my community garden plot along the way. Contrast that with my last two pairs of trousers from that company that rhymes with Fockers, that haven’t lasted a month without ripping as soon as they catch on a doorknob. I’m sorry, that fabric is crap.
The only casualty with the Bluffs is the left rear pocket of my grey ones; there is a small hole and I can’t for the life of me figure out how it got there. I take full responsibility for it and I suspect an unwitting encounter with a blackberry bramble is to blame. (I have a small addiction to juicy wild blackberries in the fall—but those giant thorns will eff you up.)
It was in corresponding with the good people at Bluffworks about their international shipping on Version 1.0 of the pants that they mentioned the upcoming improved Bluffs 2.0. I offered to review the new style, and Stefan the proprietor got in touch with the promo code. Sweet.
I had read that the new style were a bit more capacious (that means bigger), and I was worried that they had compromised the profile. The slim design of the flat-fronts really looks good, and I had gotten a surprising number of compliments on the fit of the first version. So imagine my delight in trying on the new style this afternoon to discover that the look hasn’t been compromised at all—though my mobility gusset is now gone, there’s actually a bit more room around the hip, without compromising the slim profile.
They’ve also redesigned the pockets. There’s now a teeny secret side pocket that is exactly the size of my iPhone 5, and a sleek zippered back pocket which is pretty smart for travel documents. The front left pocket also has a secret zippered sub-pocket. The right rear (wallet) pocket was sewn shut—I believe basted shut is the correct term—which kind of freaked me out, but apparently that’s not unusual for trousers that you don’t buy from places like K-mart. Who knew? It keeps them in shape while on display, apparently, or something. I just snipped it carefully.
Should you buy these pants from Bluffworks? Hell yes. They’re not cheap, when you calculate in the shipping, but you will wear them every single day. You will wear them hiking and traveling, you will wear them to the office, you will wear them to your in-laws’ for dinner, you will wear them with a blazer on an evening out; you will wear them six ways from Sunday and they really stand up to a lot of wear between washings. And they really look good.
Just try to keep the mayonnaise off your crotch.