Pants Pants Revelation! (Help me procure the perfect pants, please.)
December 20, 2016 12:40 PM   Subscribe

I really like Old Navy Pixie Pants, but I find them too prone to fading and shrinkage. Are there any slightly higher end alternatives that are worth my money? Wayyyyy too pants-related details inside.

I used to dress almost exclusively in skirts and dresses, but about a year ago I adopted a much more androgynous look. Since this necessitated a complete overhaul of my wardrobe, I was mostly limited to low-to-middle-end retailers where I could buy a lot of things quickly. I found Old Navy Pixie Pants and they were exactly what I was looking for: modern, comfortable, flattering, slightly stretchy, washable, can be dressed up or down. I bought six pairs.

Unfortunately, they don't hold up that well to washing. They fade pretty quickly. Worse, they shrink a whole size if they get anywhere near hot water or a dryer. As someone whose body dysmorphia kept me from wearing pants at all until my late thirties, shrinkage is Not Ok.

I'm looking for recommendations of similar styles/brands that will last longer. What I don't want: the old-fashioned wool or rayon dress pants with no give to the fabric or waistband. I find them uncomfortable and stuffy-looking.

Oh, also, I have a big butt and a small waist, so if you know a style that flatters that body type, that's even better. No "boyfriend cut" for me! Though androgynous styling otherwise is a-ok.
posted by missrachael to Shopping (13 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
THis is not really answering your question, but a thought on your current pants - I have found that stretchy pants do seem to be very sensitive to hot water and the dryer, but after a little wearing, they stretch back out to their early size. ALso misting them with water before you put them on can speed up that process.

Sorry I can't just recommend something better that isn't so size-changing....
posted by Tandem Affinity at 12:46 PM on December 20, 2016

I did the SAME THING. Ugh those pants, so promising at first, such a disappointment in reality. As long as you don't care that you're giving money to the same company, Gap bi-stretch skinny ankle pants fit the bill for me.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 12:58 PM on December 20, 2016

I've been getting good wear out of the skinny ankle pants at LOFT. There are a few different hip/waist cuts so they're flattering on lots of different bodies.
posted by goggie at 1:07 PM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Small lady with but butt for my size here. I like Express pants. Currently 50% off. The Columnist looks like the Pixie. Here's all the pants.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:34 PM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you are fairly new to dealing with pants it may help to know that most women's pants need to be hung to dry, no matter what the label says. I don't even put my jeans in the dryer.
posted by fshgrl at 2:46 PM on December 20, 2016

Bah, not currently in stock, but they've been around for so long and in so many colours I'm sure there're on eBay. Check out the J. Crew Scout chino, which is super-comfy, and also one of their "hits" with their hit-and-miss quality. Overpriced on the site, but I've bought all mine at Old Navy prices by waiting for sales. Mine wash up and dry in the dryer without issue.
posted by kmennie at 3:17 PM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing fshgrl's advice about care. The Old Navy Pixie Pants are the most flattering "professional" pants I've ever found for my body and I haven't been disappointed with their longevity. I wash them inside out on cold delicate and hang to dry. I also kind of expect to buy a new pair or two every 1.5 years?

I've also had success with Jones New York ponte knit pants at Macy's (I don't see any in stock right now). You might also try the NYDJ brand (also at Macy's). Both of those have fit my frame. All the other brands mentioned here have been hit or miss for me in terms of fit--though I did have a pair of J.Crew Scout chinos that fit okay. Not as flattering as the Pixie pants on me and they looked more casual imo.

(I also have a big butt.)
posted by purple_bird at 3:35 PM on December 20, 2016

Are you finding a similar or same cut pants at GAP or Banana Republic? Because they're all the same company, with different stores aimed at different budgetary markets. Without checking, I'd wager they have a lot of crossover with their fashions, with the more expensive ones hopefully being better quality.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:48 PM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I had a friend who worked for Gap corporate. As you go up the quality level of store from Old Navy to Gap to BR you get a genuine increase in quality. The BR stuff is genuinely well made and worth the extra money. Also their outlet stuff is specifically made for the outlet stores and is lower quality - look for the star printed on the label.
posted by w0mbat at 5:55 PM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

You should check out the Banana Republic Sloan pants. I've actually purchased Pixie pants as budget stand-ins for Sloans on numerous occasions.
posted by ohmy at 5:57 PM on December 20, 2016

If you're machine washing and drying, unfortunately you're going to run into this problem with most brands - even better brands. Could different care get more life out of these? Better: machine wash gentle, hang dry. Best: dry clean.

I think the Sloan suggestion above is a good one, though I think most fabrications are dry clean only. Also a big fan of the J Crew Martie pant - I find them really similar to the Pixie.
posted by marmago at 6:15 PM on December 20, 2016

Thanks guys! This is all exactly the advice I was looking for.
posted by missrachael at 3:22 AM on December 21, 2016

With a similar body type, I find that Gap's slim crop fits a bit better than the Pixie pant and made me less self-conscious about my (gigantic) butt at work. I think they're about to be discontinued, though, so try to find them online while you can. Gap's pants hold up better in the dryer than Old Navy's, by far.
posted by blerghamot at 5:08 PM on December 21, 2016

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