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The Story Behind the Famous Nantucket Red Pants


Island History

nantucket murrays toggery nantucket reds

When people think about Nantucket, they often imagine a pair of red pants. Or are they pink? Nantucket reds, sun-faded and light like our homes, is one of the island’s most famous exports. 

nantucket murrays toggery nantucket reds

Nantucket Reds were originally based on “Breton Reds” a style of pants worn in Northern France. It’s not a coincidence (we think) that Brittany looks a whole lot like Nantucket. Breton Reds eventually became popular among sailors on the East coast and voila! They became the staple item of Murray’s Toggery Shop. Murray’s has officially trademarked the term “Nantucket Reds Collection™”, so if you’re looking to find the real deal, there’s nowhere else to go (literally). From there, The Official Preppy Handbook included them in their essential clothing list, bringing these original pants further into mainstream culture. 

murrays toggery shop nantucket reds

The color itself is also listed as a Nantucket historic paint color, which you can read more about at our blog Nantucket’s Historic Paint Colors. This leads us to believe some version of that faded shade was here all along. Nantucket red is beloved because of the natural way it fades overtime on the canvas material. While they start out recognizably red, they end up looking the color of June roses. And island life is all about embracing that weathered look—no matter how hard you try, the wet, salty air and rough weather will do their work. 

 As far as we know, there aren’t many places out there with their own signature color. At this point, it’s almost a calling card for the island. Wearing a pair of Reds while you are off-island is almost like wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with “Nantucket”, a right of passage that you yourself have made the journey across the Sound. It seems that no matter what we do, we put that signature Nantucket Red twist on it and make it our own. 

Want a pair of your own?

To learn more about the history of Nantucket Reds, head on over to Murray’s for the full scoop. They would love to tell you a story and set you up with your very own pair. They don’t just offer Nantucket Reds pants, they also have children’s clothing, face masks, baseball caps, aprons, shoes and special collaborations with brands like Tretorn, Jack Rogers and Castaway clothing. Love the faded look but already have some Reds in your collection? Murray’s also offers khaki, blue and green variations of their famous pants.

While you are there, you can check out the newly renovated women’s department at 62 Main Street, just up the way from our office. Tell them Fisher sent you!