How these unlikely pants became the new J.Crew’s first big hit

Much of Babenzien’s first collection wouldn’t feel out of place in J.Crew’s Liquor Store in the late aughts—which makes sense, since Babenzien has talked at length about not wanting to mess too aggressively with old-school J.Crew vibes. But these pants are unmistakably different. The fit “was just different than any of the other product offerings,” Morales explained. “It felt fresh and bold.” The pants didn’t just stand out for Morales either. Online, they already have become the subject of memes– and seems to have become the item that lures guys into stores and dressing rooms to test drive the new fit.

You can tell a lot about your appetite for the new J.Crew based on how you feel about Giant-fit chinos. The comment section regarding the brand’s Instagram account has evolved into a game of tennis between pants lovers and haters. “The pants 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥,” reads one comment, immediately followed by “Terrible baggy pants.” J.Crew understands that Giant Chinos aren’t what typically fly off the shelves. “While we know the slimmer chinos are historically best sellers, we’re trying to create a more universal representation of what’s authentic to the brand,” says the spokesperson. “A single fit is not fair to the brand or the consumer. By taking a fresh approach to the nostalgic ’90s fit, the ‘Giant-Fit’ style opens the door to wider pants that we’ll see more of in the future .”

It seems safe to say that the giant chino doesn’t find fans with classic J.Crew customers, but with people interested in a more aggressive style of fashion. These are pants for people who have more than a casual interest in menswear, who know about Babenzien and have been eagerly awaiting his first collection, and who even listen to menswear podcasts. (“I heard Babenzien on ‘How Long Gone,'” Heldman said; Chris Black, one of the podcast’s hosts, runs a consulting companies that lists J.Crew as a client.) Making a menswear splash these days often means making a splash online with people like these—who are just as excited about the online discourse of a new J.Crew collection , as they are about actual clothes. J.Crew knew it could expand its comfort zone, leg opening and customer base in one fell swoop with these chinos. “We are now attracting new customers who are already interested in a looser fit,” says the spokesperson. “They feel fresh.” But J.Crew’s real success will be defined by the guys who have no idea the brand has a new designer — the ones who stumble into their local store, notice something’s different, and decide to give it a vortex.

For now, though, the giant chino feels more like a niche hit. When Heldman and her boyfriend came to the register, each holding a pair of Giant chinos, the woman checking them out was relieved. “Oh my God,” she said, according to Heldman. “We’ve been trying to push these like crazy, they’re on every man’s mannequin.” And while there’s an all-new J.Crew, some things are more resistant to change. “In classic J.Crew fashion, the store was having a sale,” says Heldman, “so she gave them to me for 30% off.”

J.Crew giant fit chinos

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