A few years ago, we bemoaned the near demise of Bills Khakis. The fire sale of its remaining inventory seemed a harbinger of the company’s imminent closure.
When I found out that the company was to be resurrected, I imagined that it would be as a zombie brand, whose name and sterling reputation would soon be connected to a host of poorly made, imported goods.
How happy I was to be wrong. Bills is back, going strong, with a continued commitment to American manufacturing. In honor of that occasion, we’re featuring a pair of madras Bermuda shorts, which my lovely wife bought me recently for my birthday.
The fabric, of course, is not made in the United States, but that’s to be expected with madras, the best of which continues to be produced authentically in India.
A word of note on the sizing. I ordered the 34 (my usual size), and they are a touch big; I probably should have ordered the 33, but it’s nothing that a slightly tighter belt cinch won’t solve.
I like to think I keep myself fairly well up to date on makers of American made goods, particularly in their classic iterations. The downside to that familiarity can be an overwhelming stasis–an I’ve-seen-it-all-before sense of apathy and ennui. So it always brightens my day when I find a purveyor of American made goods whose presence has eluded my knowledge.
A few months ago, my wife and I encountered one of those, a surprise that enlivened her wardrobe to delightful effect.
We went to the Manready Mertcantile womens popup. It’s an annual event where Manready, which usually traffics in American made goods for men, opens its doors to female artisans whose domestically manufactured products are targeted to the fairer sex.
While there, we came upon a collection of blouses from Tutu & Lilli. She tried on one in black, a version called the Mollie with three quarter length bell sleeves, and we were hooked. I knew that it was a piece that simply had to be a part of her clothing collection. The fit was perfect. The design was first rate. And the fact that it was made in Houston sealed the deal.
She’s already worn it on a couple of occasions, including a wonderful night of dancing.
If there’s a defining element to Tutu & Lilli’s aesthetic, it’s a sense of flow and easy fit. They call it “casual lifestyle dressing.” Truth be told, we know very little else about Tutu & Lilli, save that its wares are made in Houston. Regardless, the blouse is a stirring exemplar of American manufacturing at its best.