This post on perfect work pants is part of The Five Must-Have Pieces for Your Work Wardrobe series.
Shopping for work pants that fit and flatter can be overwhelming. Unwilling to endure the trying search for the “perfect” pair, a lot of women end up wearing the same threadbare black pants to work for years.
Use our guide to the best pairs in the market for a range of budgets. Although not all-encompassing, this blog will help you find a fresh, comfortable, and well-fitting tailored pant with the least amount of stress. Yes, we know you need comfort after a few years of sweat pants and leggings!
Remember, one perfect pair is worth more than eight mediocre pairs. Do the work. We promise it will be worth it.
What are your favorite work pants? Let us know if you try any of our recommendations and what you think.
Boden makes high-quality ponte (a super flattering, polished knit fabric) pants in a range of styles, colors, and sizes. Best of all, they come in petite and long, up to a size 22. If you are looking for a full suit, Boden also makes matching ponte jackets.
Eloquii is a bit famous for their Kady pant. This well-fitting, tailored pant in a stretch fabric comes in three different body fits for women size 14-28. The Kady pant comes in fun fashion colors, as well as the basics. Eloquii is rocking the market with trendy, wearable, affordable plus-size clothes.
For an amazingly flattering, skinny cigarette pant that feels like a yoga pant, we love the Foster from MM.LaFleur. It’s the first pant they released and one of our most reliable picks, with a side zip and an adjustable hem. The Foster pant comes in a range of colors up to a size 18.
If you prefer a front zip pant in an even more tapered style but the same washable Everstretch fabric, MM. Lafleur now makes the Curie pant. The Curie pant also comes in a range of colors up to a size 18.
Nic + Zoe
Nic and Zoe Wonderstretch pants are a pull-on style with either a straight leg, skinny leg, or bootcut. A lot of the styles come in petite and plus sizes. Wonderstretch pants are one of our favorite pant options for a business casual workplace. They come in seasonal colors but always have the basics in stock. Ladies, these pants are magical.
NYDJ ponte trousers have been a stylist’s staple for years. They come in petite and plus and have a nice bootcut silhouette. They run a bit big and have a lot of stretch so make sure the size you buy is nice and snug. These pants feel super cozy but look really professional. Hard to fit? These are your pants. The first pair pictured below, the Stretch Knit Trousers, was one of our go-tos for a long time, however they currently have limited stock. Recently we’ve been loving their Pull-On Flared Trousers for a leg-lengthening silhouette that feel like leggings!
Old Navy’s Pixie pant line is a good option if you’re trying to save money while in-between sizes. They come in a wide range of sizes, colors, and fabrics. Don’t expect these to last forever, but they work in a pinch!
Pari Passu makes plus size clothing for three different body types: straight cut, hourglass, and curvy cut. These are made from a high quality suiting wool with a bit of stretch. Think of this brand as the Theory pant for plus size.
New to the list this year is the brand Quince. Quince makes low-cost basics available to you straight from the factory, cutting out any middle-man inflation. Each time we’ve sent Quince options to clients, they’ve reacted skeptically to the low prices. “Would we ever tell you to buy clothes that were bad quality?” we countered. “Just trust us.” Each time the client was pleasantly surprised and went back to order more!
The magic of Spanx now comes in pants. If you’re looking for a smoothing pant that looks modern and stylish, these are your friends. All styles come in regular, plus, and tall!
Theory has long been a go-to for us for work pants for all clients. Interestingly, Theory especially fills a need for both petite and tall women. If you want to splurge on a pair of work pants that will highlight long legs and give you an amazing figure, the Demetria is the perfect style. It comes in their classic suiting wool and in their luxurious crepe in a pull-on style. If you’re looking for a cropped pant, the Treeca crepe also comes in a comfy pull-on. Theory typically runs small, in sizes from 00-18.
We recommend Uniqlo pants for many clients, but most often for our new mothers who don’t want to spend the money on a new wardrobe at their temporary post-baby size, but need a comfortable and polished option. They even come in a maternity version. Don’t be fooled by the price. The quality and fit are pretty terrific!
Don’t be discouraged by low stock now. Uniqlo restocks this pant all the time!
Macy’s- The Last Resort
It would be quite understandable if you thought that having an unlimited budget might be the most likely way to get the perfect work pant. Especially if one is a hard fit. Au contraire, dear reader. My last resort shopping stop when a client can not find the perfect work pant to fit and flatter? Macy’s! Not the overwhelming Macy’s experience they might have on their own, of course. This is the curated, Real Life Style experience. One which takes place in the personal shopping department, and includes a private fitting room filled with pre-pulled merchandise and their personal Starbuck’s order!
Real Life Style is a style consulting firm that teaches busy women to wear their power so they can live their lives fully and confidently. Lani Inlander and Kyle Dunphy are based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and serve clients across the country. We offer personal styling services, an on-demand e-course, corporate services, and training to become a personal stylist.
Once in a while, you can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Mostly, they are happily busy serving their fabulous clients, not hanging out online!