Men's Fashion | The Reconnoisseur

Great chinos, and service with a cyber-smile

The trousers are terrific – but it’s the returns policy that clinches the deal

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Great chinos, and service with a cyber-smile

August 04 2011
Mark Ellwood

I’ve always resisted buying fashion online – I want to feel an exact fit before I spend my money. But I was lured to sample trousers from Bonobos for two reasons. First, the gimmick: the purpose of the entire brand was making slacks with a waistband that would actually fit, and not gape at the small of the back. Each pair I’ve bought has lived up to that promised premise – snug-fitting, but not tight. I have a pair of stretch-fit chinos that wear well with anything, but I’ve started rationing how often I wear them since I’m dreading the day I spot a threadbare patch.

But it isn’t just the preppy fashion that’s made me an evangelist. What really keeps me shopping is the service. Bonobos splashes its site with a generous boast: “Return anything. Any reason, any time”. But I didn’t really believe them until, on my fourth pair of pants, I bought some black chinos that seemed flattering until I shortened the hem. The silhouette changed and I knew I’d shove them to the back of my wardrobe, so I dashed off a quick email to the customer service reps (bizarrely, dubbed “ninjas’).

I expected a polite brush-off when I explained how the pants no longer fitted well. Instead, within hours, a staffer responded to offer me an instant refund and free return shipping. I was flummoxed, but grateful – and vowed to become a Bonobos regular. Everything I’ve ever bought and wanted to return since then has been accepted without question. It’s the ultimate risk-free, fuss-free fashion.

Trousers from around $88-$175.

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Trousers