Casatlantic ‘Mogador’ trousers: Review

Monday, May 24th 2021
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These trousers from young brand Casatlantic deserve to be in our chino series (previously Rubato; upcoming Real McCoy’s) by virtue of being cotton twills, in a fairly clean style. 

But they aren’t your everyday, classic chinos. They’re very high rise, with a wider tapering leg, in a slightly unusual material. 

I really like them. But they’re something I think I'll wear as a particular choice, leading the rest of the outfit, rather than an everyday versatile chino. 

They were inspired by the military trousers that founder Nathaniel Asseraf’s grandfather used to wear in Morocco, following the Second World War. 

Although Nathaniel was born in Sweden, and lives in Gothenburg, his family originally came from Morocco. It’s photos of his grandfather’s life in Casablanca, often wearing leftover French and American military clothing, that inspires the look and feel of the Casatlantic brand. 

Although the story actually starts before there was any consideration of Morocco. 

Nathaniel’s day job is working for Broadway & Sons, the longstanding vintage dealer in Gothenburg that was founded by his father in the 1980s. That’s Nathaniel modelling the clothes in many of the shots online

Nathaniel used to wear vintage military trousers a lot - high waisted, wide legged, softened over decades of use - and was asked by friends where he got them. Where they could get them. 

Of course they usually couldn’t, because vintage rarely comes in a range of sizes. So - as the story often goes these days - Nathaniel started looking to see if he could make some himself. 

That was when he found the pictures of his grandfather and his friends. And when he started trying to find a factory in Morocco that could make them for him. 

“When I first started working with this place, the guys were very unsure about the styles,” Nathaniel says. “They would say ‘Are you sure you want them this high? We’re not sure anyone will buy them.’ I had to insist on the height, the width. It was a lot easier knowing the popularity of the vintage styles.”

The trousers that resulted have a rise of 33cm (on the size 30 waist) which is what I would call a true high-rise - right up above the hip bones, on or above the belly button. 

There are three styles, with the biggest difference between them being the leg line. Tanger is the widest (24cm at the hem), Mogador the middle (22.5cm) and El Jadida the slimmer (20.5cm). Pictured in that order, left to right, below.

They’re all fairly generous, and even though it’s the middle option, I’d describe my Mogador as definitely a wide leg. That’s particularly obvious through the knee. Where tailored wide-legged trousers (eg my Sextons here) are pretty straight from the knee down, the Casatlantic ones are tapered, almost pegged. Which does make them look less dressy. 

There are other small differences between the models, with the most obvious with the Mogador being its side adjusters on the hips (not the waist) where the others have belt loops. 

“The original 1930s pair these were modelled on had these low side adjusters and belt loops,” says Nathaniel. “I guess it allowed them to be tightened at the hips, while the belt at the top could be more decorative. I didn’t think most guys would get that today though.”

The lower adjuster functions well, tightening neatly into the side seam. I ended up going for a very snug 30-inch waist, but I also tried a 32, and there the adjuster was very useful. 

That side seam also seems to be set a little forward, which makes the pockets easy to use even though they are cut vertically, into the seam. 

This is a very clean way to design pockets, but when I’ve used it in the past they are uncomfortable to use. Not so here. 

The make is quite simple in general though, which has its upsides and downsides. 

For example, the waistband is made as a single piece, with no seam in the back. This is the way jeans are made, rather than chinos, and looks great but has the disadvantage that the waist can’t be altered easily.

There is also no lining to the waistband - just two pieces of the cotton twill, inside and out - which is a little less stable. Both are used on military trousers I have too, but contribute to a feeling of it being a fairly straightforward, functional make. 

When I spoke to Nathaniel, he did say he was planning to change this: “The new Safi model that’s coming out this week will have a seam in the back of the waistband, and we’ll be using a cotton lining inside too. This is our first collection and we’re still learning a lot from feedback on what people want.”

The trousers currently come in three colours. I bought the white, and loved the sturdiness of the twill, which holds a sharp crease. Cloth is usually the hardest thing to get a sense of online, so it was a great relief.

Apparently the navy and beige are different, though. The cotton is bleached to make the white less ecru/yellow, but dyed for the other two colours, which makes them softer and drapier. 

All three have the nice dry handle Nathaniel wanted though, replicating the feel of new military trousers, which then soften as they’re washed and worn over the years. 

(If any readers are unsure what ‘dry’ means in relation to cloth, imagine something that your hand slides across easily, with no softness, friction or nap to stop it.)

I really like the Casatlantic trousers, but as I said they will be an occasional piece for me, rather than a basic chino. 

I particularly like them as a Summer option, with a polo and deck shoes - as shown. The material has a sailcloth-like feel to it in the white, which makes this style feel particularly appropriate. 

It also means I’m fine with the higher rise. I wouldn’t wear it every day, but as an occasional style option it’s great. I do the same with an old pair of Arnys linen trousers already. 

While we’re talking about high-rise trousers, though, I thought it would be good to illustrate why I find them limiting. 

The images higher up this post show the trousers with a PS Finest Polo untucked, which is natural with knitwear and looks great. The ribbing of the polo covers the waistband, lowering the visible rise by a good five or six centimetres. 

But when something is tucked into trousers this high - and not covered by a jacket or overshirt - the proportions are too unusual for me. The body is just too small; it looks odd.

I’ve deliberately tucked my polo in in the shots above, to illustrate this. Of course, the polo would spill out a little during the day, but those proportions between leg and body are still pretty extreme. And I believe I actually have a fairly low waist compared to the average. 

Nathaniel’s styling of the Casatlantic trousers is fantastic. Even if you don't like the trousers, I think the site and the Instagram account are worth following just for that. I’ve included a few of my favourites above. 

These shots are all of shirts untucked or with knitwear, though. When the shirts are tucked in, it’s not my style. I know it works well for others, but I personally prefer to be less unusual. For the majority of my trousers therefore, I’ll continue to want a lower rise. 

The Casatlantic trousers cost €150. They have recently been restocked, but not all colours will always be available. Nathaniel likes the idea of small batches that are then unique or collector’s pieces. 

A new model is launching on Wednesday, Safi, which will have the slimmer leg of the El Jadida, but side adjusters, on the waistband. 

https://www.casatlantic.com/

@casatlantic_

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Karl

Thank you very much for this review. Nice story, cool pictures, and the trousers look great!

Néstor

Really great albeit niche product. I wouldn’t wear a wider than 20cms leg opening myself but the idea and development behind the product is very authentic. I have been for some quite time thinking about getting the A&S trouser style 2 from the haberdashery which is kinda the same silhouette in a less casual design but I’m quite sure I wouldn’t feel comfortable with a 22cms opening. I might end up asking Cerrato to do something similar but with a more tapered leg.

Chancellor

I tend to agree that high rise trousers don’t look as good in terms of proportions. Perhaps in the past when they were more common, the style looked normal, but now it just looks unusual.
Nonetheless, I find high rise trousers more comfortable. So generally wear them with jackets and knitwear. If I’ll just be in a shirt, I’m more likely to go with a little lower rise, and wear a belt to decrease the apparent height of the trousers.

Adam

I am shocked – shocked! – to find high waisted trousers in this establishment.

Ace

Had been looking at these, your comments about the fabric are very good to hear. I live in a warmer region and prefer a true high rise in general, so it’s sort of a no-brainer for me.

Rags

What shoes are those? The blue seems to have a number of colours and complements both the polo and trousers very well.

Rags

Cheers. Will need to check if these are stocked in HK. The aesthetics look amazing, but any sense if these are ‘worth’ the high price in other aspects?

Matt

RAGS – There are a few shops in Hong Kong. Lee Gardens in Causeway Bay, Star Street area in Wan Chai (top of the hill, turn left) and IFC Mall.

Anonymous

Hello Simon –
Thought you and other readers might enjoy the Duke of Windsor’s take on navy deck shoes with what appear to be white (or off-white?) chinos (link below featuring photo from a 1950 magazine article or goggle “Duke of Windsor tennis shoes” and click “images” for other examples). Someone should replicate HRH’s grey soles for a bit smarter option.
Enjoyed the post on 45R and also the deck shoe video, not to mention the Casatlantic coverage. Long shot here, but could you possibly identify the sneakers that the man modeling the Tanger style is wearing? They appear to be white with a prominent khaki sole.The shoes also are featured on the Casatlantic site, but I could not find a credit. Thank you.
http://www.oldmagazinearticles.com/influence_of_the_duke_of_windsor_on_mens_fashion#.YK0i5S1Haf0

Anonymous

Glad you enjoyed the photo and thank you for the link. I followed it and found a style similar, but different. So, on a bit of a mission I reached out to Casatlantic, and it turns out they are deck shoes from Asahi. 
Your post has prompted me to think that perhaps it’s time to see if I can resurrect my own “vintage” Sperry deck shoes in white and navy (wherever they are?), which I believe must have been the inspiration for Doek, 45R, and Asahi as they are conceptually almost identical. I checked the Sperry site and interestingly, the original shoe (early 1930s) has been repositioned as unisex and is only listed in the women’s section (“Cloud CVO”). The current quality of make I would venture does not approach Doek and 45R. 

George

Thanks for the review Simon! Cheers for the heads up for the Safi, that’s allayed some of my concerns. Really enjoying the chino series

Visa

Thanks for the review. However, I disagree with the high waist looking odd when tucked in – I think it looks very natural and great on you! I really like the feel of the Casatlantic trousers, but unfortuntely the Mogador model felt very restrictive in the bottom/hip even when sized up. The Tanger is much more balanced in the hip block for me, but the fact that they can’t really be altered in the waistband is a dealbreaker. I hope the new model is easier to size!

Dr Peter

Thanks very much indeed for this great post, Simon. You capture history and style together very well. It reminded me of so many things from my own childhood and youth in Colonial Malaya and India. The sleeves rolled up almost to the biceps in the old photographs — that was exactly what we did as young boys! And the loose high-waisted trousers were also common until the mid-sixties when tight, low-waisted drainpipe trousers became the fashion.

I have a number of US Army (olive drab) and USAF (Air Force blue) trousers, all flat-front, wide-legged and with high rises, that I love.

I recently picked up a pair of brand new painter’s pants from a thrift shop that were very high-waisted (around 13″ in front rise, I should think) and had wide legs. The bottoms were unfinished and I got my tailor to hem the pants, no turnups. These trousers are made of a canvas-like twill and are flat-front and off-white or almost cream, and they have the usual tool loop mid-thigh on one leg and a small pocket, again mid-thigh on the other. The pockets are angled and make them easy to access. They are also very deep pockets. I love the way these trousers look on me, and for my own proportions, a tucked-in polo shirt does not seem to make the ensemble look odd, since I do not have long legs. Fortunate.

Kev F

Would you say the higher rise trouser is more flattering, or at least a better silhouette on a slimmer waist? Without wishing to appear rude the photos of the military types on here look good with the cinched, belted waistlines whereas the larger gentlemen modelling this style look less flattering. (I hope this comes out as intended.) It doesn’t help with the scrunched up knitwear and the gilet being buttoned at the top giving it a strained appearance.

Sam

Extra weight around the midriff does indeed cause issues for high-rise trousers. Unless it’s extremely structured at the top, the top of the trousers will be pushed outwards – this is particularly unfortunate when sitting down, which can cause the top of the trouser to just flip outwards essentially.

And if the top is extremely structured, the extra fat has to go somewhere – having it squeezed up out of the top is not a particularly appealing look either. Not being rude about it – I do speak from some experience here.

Ace

Honestly the thinner man is going to have the advantage with literally any trouser. I find that a higher waisted trouser creates a much slimmer appearance – a low rise makes the belly extremely prominent. A high rise and a jacket covers up a lot of personal failings.

Peter Hall

I think high rise trousers work well with a tucked in polo, if you wear another layer ,unbuttoned, over them -a linen shirt possibly.I find the different levels visually interesting.

Stephen

Hi Simon,
Thanks for this article.
Understanding the history of the product as well as the review is very interesting and informative.
I agree they make a good alternative chino. Personally I don’t have an issue with the look when the shirt is tucked in, but can understand not for everyone. I think the higher rise works especially well with a shirt and jacket.
In my experience a higher and slightly looser rise is very comfortable which I think is an important consideration in warmer weather, especially where shorts may not be appropriate.
Btw, their shorts look good, possibly when going for a military vibe rather than a moor traditional Ivy look.
Thanks again

Danny

Great article, thanks. They look quite similar to Drake’s Games chino in terms of style and cut, how do they compare?

MBB355

Would the tan El Jadida make for a versatile everyday chino? Or still too much of a “look?”

MBB355

Thanks! By the way, a few requests for this chino series: The Armoury’s sport chino, The Armoury’s army chino, Berg & Berg’s Alf chino

Vivek Johansson

Hi,

I own two pair of El Jadida, they’ve become my everyday chinos and I find them very versatile. I’ve been wearing high rise trousers (mostly bespoke) for years but as Simon mentioned this might make them easier for me to wear, being used to the rise.

Mark

Really enjoying the various chino reviews and nice to see your take on these. Any idea on an ETA for the McCoy’s review? Keen to read that one.

Tim

I enjoyed reading your review. I agree with you that high wasted trousers are not really my thing, That being said, I do appreciate different aesthetics. And while, I wouldn’t wear them, I certainly appreciate looking at them on someone else. I very much admire someone who can style them well and pull off the look.

Thank you

Darren

I’ve liked the look of these since you featured them in the summer top 10 a couple of weeks back. What leg length did you go for?

Anonymous

Sorry Simon I know this is a chino post rather than jean… But I really love the look of these:

https://www.paleymundy.com/collections/trousers/products/5-pocket-trousers

SeeSimon

Simon,
On your point re the high rise, I think it is also a question of symmetry which is exasperated by you wearing a very slim fit shirt.
Wouldn’t it look different, and more symmetrical, if you for example wore a looser fitting linen shirt with the trousers?
S

Abalfazl Takrimi

Dear Simon.
about your nice shoes. I believe it would be nice if you pay attention to classic trainers or sneakers and their effect in classic men’s wear in site. Your shoes are a kind of trainers itself I believe , Since Deck shoes are more similar to boat shoes. ( Although you are Grand maester )
Regards
Ebi

Abalfazl Takrimi

Indeed. I absolutely agree with you. Trainers are not elegant in this manner but I thought this kind of shoes are called trainers too which was my fault.
Cheers
Ebi

Carl

Will you review the chinos from Blackhorse Lane in this series? If not, how do you think they compare to the other models?

Gabe

Hi, you write that you have a low waist and previously you wrote:
”My legs are a little bit short proportionately compared to my upper body.”
I don’t get it, looking at your full height images in your posts I think you have perfect proportions. Am I missing something..?

Tom

Can I ask which inseam length you ended up choosing?

David Bok

Would you consider the Tanger-fit? Or are the Mogador your limit in terms of fit?

Jackson

Simon

May I ask you, please, how visible the pockets are? I’ve found white trouser often have unsightly squares where the pockets reveal themselves beneath the cotton. Is this the case?

Jackson