Help me find the best women's pants for my (not very formal) work.
February 19, 2015 9:27 AM   Subscribe

High enough waist that they won't sag, comfortable, slim legs, cut to fit a curvy body, professional-ish - do these exist?

I need more work pants. I have a heck of a time finding pants that fit me, because I have a long torso and a slim waist with larger hips and thighs. I want pants that are:

a) Slim in the leg. Not leggings, but not "boot cut" either.
b) Made of a fabric with possibly a bit of stretch, but that looks professional and put together. My workplace is not formal so these do not need to be suit pants, but I want to look business-casual, or perhaps a bit nicer.
c) Not patterned. My workplace is not at all conservative, but I prefer clothes that are not too serious but not too busy in general. I'd like these pants to be a basic staple in a solid color.
c) High-waisted. Because of my long torso, many pants are too low-rise. Then when I sit down, I risk exposing a bit of my lower back, which I don't want. I don't want to have to keep pulling my pants up all day.
d) Cut to fit a curvy person, not a slim person. J. Crew pants, for example, are often too big in the waist when they fit in the thighs, and too small in the thighs when they fit in the waist. I wear a 12 or a 14.
e) Generally good quality and flattering.

I am willing to pay a bit more for something good but only if it really fits. I don't really have the wherewithal to have my clothes tailored at the moment, as my work keeps me extremely busy.
posted by mai to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Are corduroys too casual? I've been wearing Talbots curvy fit cords for exactly what you're describing.

I also have a pair of lined wool trousers for more formal occasions. I got them on sale from Orvis for $80.

EDIT: oops the corduroys are boot cut. Ann Taylor had a bunch that weren't, though!
posted by small_ruminant at 9:35 AM on February 19, 2015

Have you tried the J. Crew Minnie pant in stretch fabric?
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:36 AM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have a few pairs of Lafayette 148 Irving pants from Nordstrom and they meet your requirements: (sorry for ugly link, I'm on mobile). You should be able to catch them on sale if you keep an eye out. I do have to have them tailored a bit to bring the waist in because, like you, my waist is a smaller size than my hips/thighs -- but I get almost all my nice work pants and skirts tailored for that reason.
posted by amaire at 9:40 AM on February 19, 2015

I have a 26" natural waist and a 36 ish" hip. I like the pants from express. I too hate low rise because they won't fit my butt. Express seems to be about mid rise. They have basic colors and some casual styles. This is a good casual pant.I would give them a try.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:48 AM on February 19, 2015

Try Ann Taylor's curvy fit! I am petite, not tall, but have the same hip/thigh/waist ratio issue that you describe, and I love their curvy petite pants. They have slim cut (as you describe) as well as boot and wide cut pants, and a variety of solid, conservative colors. I love their pants, and their jeans.
posted by darsh at 9:57 AM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ignore the stupid name: Not Your Daughter's Jeans (they've rebranded as NYDJ anyway, cause it's a very off putting name). Most of their fabrics have a bit of stretch. They've got a higher rise, too, which helps with the gapping. I've got at least a ten inch difference between my waist and hip (and thighs wider than my hips) and they fit me really well. Some good options right now in Nordstrom's spring clearance sale.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:14 AM on February 19, 2015

Have you tried on tall size pants? They are often cut longer in the top, not just the leg. You would have to hem if you're short, but the more comfortable fit might you give more flexible buying options.
posted by slipthought at 10:25 AM on February 19, 2015

J. Crew pants, for example, are often too big in the waist when they fit in the thighs

I have the same problem. So I buy J Crew pants and then add darts to the waistline. I know you said you don't have time for tailoring, but this is a very simple fix, and will take way less time than trying on every pair of pants out there. And if you happen to have a sewing machine, it takes less than 5 minutes - you could do it while your morning coffee is brewing (I know from experience).

The other simple fix is longer tops.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:25 AM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

so the j crew 'Minnie' pant is great. also, with a similar sounding body and workplace, I love the banana republic " Sloan" pant. they have full length available in the winter and I got two cropped pairs in the spring. they're stretchy, so they stay fitted, mid rise, straight leg but not a legging. I'm planning on getting some more soon, actually. they come in many colors, I have black and tan pairs, both of which have gotten compliments.
posted by hepta at 10:26 AM on February 19, 2015

Eddie Bauer has a couple different curvy fits, and they make straight leg dress pants that should meet your business wear requirements. E.g.

(Sorry for the messy URL, I'm on my tablet).
posted by tuesdayschild at 11:21 AM on February 19, 2015

Seconding NYDJ. I have a terrible, dreadful time finding trousers, as I'm small in the waist and big (as in really big) in the hips; I have a 12-inch difference between the two. (Yep, you read that right.) NYDJ are my go-to trousers now, as they fit well without pinching or looking like they're a size too small. (FWIW, I'm a little bigger than you -- size 14 or 16 in trousers.)
posted by holborne at 11:28 AM on February 19, 2015

I am the same size as you and just bought 2 pairs of trousers from BODEN and I'm thrilled. The dimensions of the pants are on the website! I have the wide leg pant in corduroy and indigo denim, and they don't look obviously wide on my thick, wide hips/butt/thighs.

I also have had good luck with Bold Curve Levi's and Gap pants.
posted by jrobin276 at 2:10 PM on February 19, 2015

Lisette pants! A little stretchy, super flattering, professional and comfortable.
posted by purenitrous at 4:03 PM on February 19, 2015

Try Lane Bryant. They start at size 12 and their cuts are just . . . better. I've found some slim-leg styles recently that still have good room for my hips and thighs. I have about a dozen pairs in different styles I wear to work all the time.

It took me a long time to get myself into a Lane Bryant, but holy moly. No more riding or biting waists, no more muffin top, no more panty line. Feels so good.
posted by mibo at 7:36 PM on February 19, 2015

I love New York & Co for work pants.
posted by vignettist at 9:16 PM on February 19, 2015

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