Robert Hicks was always the smartest kid on our estate. With a shock of auburn hair and freckles in all the right places, he could cycle for a good half mile 'no-handed'. This was the kinda stuff that impressed me and the other 11-year old girls – and pretty soon he became the one we all dreamed of marrying. Faultless wheelies and high-speed skids aside, his dress sense was what helped set him apart, because unlike the other lads, he was never seen wearing patched-up jeans or balding corduroys. Hicksy was a Sta-Prest man who took trouser creases very seriously.
Scrabbling around to find the origins of this opinion-dividing look, there are two main theories floating about. Deliberate creases in men's slacks are clearly visible on portrait photography dating back to the 1890s and academic papers on the history of menswear attribute this to the invention of the trouser press. Predominately worn by trendy young Victorians hellbent on looking like they'd just stepped out of the tailors, it wasn't long before the masses wanted a piece of the action. For the poor buggers without butlers, trousers were stored under mattresses ready to be whipped out in the morning, freshly creased in all the right places. Other nutcases lined the fronts of theirs with a thin section of 'pasteboard', which made sitting down almost impossible – these guys would do almost anything to avoid the dreaded prole disease of 'baggy knees'.
The other version of events centres around the end of the American Civil War in 1865, when ready-made clothes and uniforms were made available for everyday folk in dry goods stores. Merchandising was minimal, with box-fresh trousers, shirts and jackets all kept folded-up on shelves or stacked on tables. Ironing wasn't really a part of the workwear agenda and rumour has it that those unintentional creases remained in the garments for weeks, sometimes months after purchase – giving birth to the notion of authentic, utilitarian chic.
Running vertically, a crease adds sharpness and sophistication. It has the power to transform and elevate even the simplest pair of trousers into something more substantial, more serious, more refined. This simple line tells the world you mean business. By adding in what is sometimes referred to as 'the traveller's crease', you give a flat front pant the edge. A single front crease elongates the legs and tricks the eye into making you look slimmer and taller – it's a win-win situation. For me, I'm the kind of freak who'd even chance it on a pair of jeans, but I realise I'm in the minority here, so will instead champion its use on chinos and smart strides.
Studio Nicholson have gone full steam ahead for AW19 with the Point Crease Front Slack. An ideal everyday trouser made from yarn dyed Italian twill, they've been factory pressed with a subtle, light crease to keep things looking crisp and clean. Designed for wearable versatility the wool/cotton blend is substantial enough to bridge the gap between casual and formal. Angled pockets at the front and traditional welts at the back, mean these neat fitting wardrobe heroes will add structure when worn with sloppy knits or oversized shirting. Available in Camel and Dark Navy, they're guaranteed to set the tone for a neat and tidy winter.
Leanne Cloudsdale is the Studio Nicholson Editor-at-Large