Where did my pants go?

A special investigation.

Where did my pants go?
Last month I discovered that my go-to for the last several years, Dickies’ “FLEX Relaxed Fit Straight Leg Twill Comfort Waist Pants,” had been discontinued. As a result, I fell into a state of crisis, a familiar quagmire for many skateboarders and regular pants-wearing people alike. The foundation of your fit, the base of your body and style, the right pair of trousers is paramount.
This isn’t the first time this has happened, though, nor am I naive enough to think I won’t be blindsided again. The last time my favourite pant went off the market was in early 2018; at the time, I conducted an investigation to find out where they had gone. So it only seems fitting that while I surface from my latest crisis (thanks to Polar’s “'44! Pants”), I publish my findings from the previous.

I called Mark’s office. No answer. I emailed Mark’s work address. No response. I went to his store, but his employees knew nothing. Or they said they knew nothing, which was hard to believe. I mean, this should be standard information shared throughout the company. Shouldn’t everyone involved in this twisted corporation at the very least be aware of the fate of the products they’re selling?

The Man at The Till claimed not to know the pants by name. He asked for a Style Number.

“You don’t recognize them? They’re on my body right now. They used to be on your shelf. Look. Please. See the breathable, soft, stretchy navy cotton covering my legs? These are the Denver Hayes Elastic Waist Rugby Pants. They are the best pants I’ve ever owned, and now I can’t find them at any Mark’s Work Wearhouse in the lower mainland.”

The Man at The Till said nothing.

“MWW-S9902YW.” I recited from memory. “There’s your Style Number. Help me, please.”

He typed into Mark’s database. “Looks like they’re on clearance, which probably means they’re getting discontinued.” He said without any lamentation in his voice.

“Do you know if they’ll come back?”

He didn’t.

“Is this just a seasonal thing?”

He couldn’t say.

“Do you have Mark’s cell?”


Denver Hayes is one of Mark’s Work Wearhouse’s private labels, a brand sold exclusively at Mark’s. Which, of course, means Mark was likely directly responsible for the imminent death of my beloved Elastic Waist Rugby Pants. The pant’s description on their marks.com webpage read like an epitaph.



“FULL ELASTIC WAIST WITH INSIDE DRAWCORD” nearly brought me to tears. These pants don’t come in numbered waist sizes, just S, M, L, and XL. A universal sizing system for people all over the universe. Its drawcord is an excellent alternative if you don’t like having a belt digging into the tender flesh of your hips—what a gracious, accommodating garment.

Also on the webpage was a space for customer-submitted reviews. I left my own, a plea.


For the past five-years, this has been the only pant I would ever wear. I used to buy them in bulk. They fit great, stretch in the right places and wearing them just makes me feel good. I can be myself in them. Confident. Composed. Something I haven’t felt in weeks since they went out of stock. It may seem unhealthy to rely on a pair of pants in that way, but shame on you for judging me. It breaks my heart that they’re getting discontinued.

Please don’t do this, Mark.

After submitting my review, I scrolled down. Most of the other comments were glowing, likely unaware that the Elastic Waist Rugby Pants were now more memory than cotton. But username Papaduke from Bjorkdale, Saskatchewan, had a different opinion. Papaduke had given the pants a two-star review, which caused the pant’s cumulative star rating to plummet to 3.5/5.


These pants do not fit at all, too long in the crotch, short zipper and three inches longer than I ordered. Sending them back.

It was maddening. Papaduke gave the pants a lousy review for what was clearly a shipping error. Oh, the pants you ordered were a size too large? That’s not the fault of the pants, Papaduke. Does PJ’s One Stop, which a quick Google search revealed to be the only store in Bjorkdale—population 199—ever mess up on orders? And when they do, do you blame the family-size barrel of Slim Jim’s you’re now the accidental owner of or do you fault PJ for charging you for the wrong product?

After a few deep breaths, I posed that question in the form of another review titled: DEAR PAPADUKE.

As much as it hurt me, I could see why Mark wouldn’t want to keep around an underperforming product from a business standpoint. The Denver Hayes Classic Khaki Pants, Modern Fit Khakis, Everyday Chino, and even the Stretch Zip-Off Pants had higher star ratings than the Elastic Waist Rugby Pants. Goddamn Papaduke. I needed to talk to Mark directly to make an appeal.

I called the Mark’s Work Wearhouse office again. This time I would ask for the eponymous Mark himself. There was a case to be made here if he could just hear me out and listen to the passionate, authentic voice of the consumer.

The customer service representative from Mark’s asked me if this was a joke. I told them no. If Mark was around, I’d love to talk to him. It was important. Urgent, even. My well-being dependent on these pants. Their sigh crackled through the phone.

“Mark Blume has been dead since 2002. And they’re just pants; you’ll find more. Have you tried our Modern Fit Khakis?”

The starter sewing kit from Dollar Land had everything I thought I needed to learn how to sew. I would fix the heap of tired, torn Elastic Waist Rugby Pants I had in my closet. A pile of at least ten. The tattered remains of a better time when demand was met with supply. Why had I kept these cotton corpses? Maybe I felt this moment coming. Perhaps I just couldn’t let go. These pants were like ashes in an urn or a taxidermied cat that can only ever make people feel uncomfortable—a gesture of my reverence for the deceased.

I tried my hand at resurrection, doing my best to shape the remains into human form. Instructional Youtube video after instructional Youtube video showed me how to reattach torn belt loops and patch blown crotches and asses; my fingers became pricked and tender from the needle. But as I tried on each pair after I’d finished, they were all a strange fit. Tight in one area, draughty in another. My patches wouldn’t stay, slowly peeling, revealing scraped skin and hair that poked through the holes.

Sitting on the bed alone, surrounded by pants I couldn’t wear, watching the sun move cautiously across the floor of my apartment, I wondered if maybe it wasn’t shorts weather.