Work pants for boring women
September 23, 2021 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me find some office-casual black pants that meet my criteria? I am a woman pushing 40, size ~8, not fashionable nor interested in becoming so.

1. Some kind of stretch-containing material that can withstand being rolled up in my bike bag on the way to work.

2. No trendy fashion-y cuts. I know they are old-fashioned, but I prefer a straight or slim leg over wide/flowy/whatever. They should look like office pants, not athleisure or old-lady sweat pants.

3. Cut generously enough to accommodate my athletic thighs.

4. Manufactured at least a little more ethically and environmentally responsibly than the industry standard.

5. Durable. Should last at least 3-5 years with weekly washing.

6. Maximum ~$100

posted by juliapangolin to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I have these Everlane pants that I think meet all of your criteria (not sure about durability, I've had them less than a year...but I've found Everlane stuff to be pretty well-constructed overall). I'd recommend sizing up because they do shrink a little with the first wash.
posted by lomes at 10:21 AM on September 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Universal Standard meets your criteria. Their ponte pants, or their cigarette pants both read like super neutral office pants in real life, and so far mine have held up well, though I've had them less than 3 years.
posted by JuliaIglesias at 10:22 AM on September 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I really like the work pants I’ve gotten from Athleta. I think you’ll find options there that fit your criteria.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:06 AM on September 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

All the slim and straight pants are short right now. It's pretty awful if you don't want ankle-length pants. I truly do not understand why only wide leg pants are meant to approach your shoes. If you want cropped, there are lots of options, but I'll share some that are a bit longer. You might also find some options in corduroy, which is around a bit.

Can you clarify if you want something that looks more like trousers/nice pants? Or are clean chinos (that look more like cotton) okay?

In the meantime, maybe these J Crew pants would work. They're along the lines of what I think of as work pants.

These are Lands End chinos.

Ann Taylor has a handful of options in various fits (scroll past the ankle length if you want something longer). Some are just over $100, but you can sign up for the mailing list for a discount.

If you're really having a hard time finding quality pants, I say plan to buy something a bit bigger (to accommodate thighs) and then get the pants tailored. All the usual places (Banana Republic, Gap, Loft, etc) have the style you want in an ankle length or jogger, or wide leg, but not full length, from what I can see.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:09 AM on September 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

If you have the time and energy for it, thrift stores were made for you (I am in your age and size ranges). I'm not sure if I've been in a thrift store in the last 10 years that doesn't have at least 50 pairs of women's dress pants that fit your criteria, in your size, for $5-10 a pair. Especially with a bunch of us no longer going into the office, thrift stores are overflowing with nice office clothes (including a bunch of mine!!).
posted by jabes at 11:42 AM on September 23, 2021 [3 favorites]

$17.99 same as uptown.
posted by Oyéah at 1:20 PM on September 23, 2021

These lululemon pants are amazing - I have personally biked in them. I also have various Athleta pants that meet your criteria, but the fit has been a little more hit or miss on them.
posted by annie o at 6:52 PM on September 23, 2021

Most of Talbots ponte material pants will meet your criteria.
posted by slateyness at 7:42 PM on September 23, 2021

Betabrand dress pant yoga pants.
posted by matildaben at 8:14 PM on September 23, 2021

I really like my pants from American Giant and some are cheap enough to fit your criteria.
posted by music for skeletons at 9:58 PM on September 23, 2021

I also have “athletic thighs” and Talbots dress pants fit me the most consistently of any brand I’ve tried. I feel like they tend to vanity sizing - I buy a size down from what I think of as my “typical” size - but I guess that depends on what brands you base your idea of your size on.

I’m not sure about their ethical or environmental standards (I doubt they’re anything above the ordinary), but buying from ThredUp (online consignment) or other second hand options soothes my feelings on that score for many brands. The nice thing about ThredUp is that you can filter by inseam (as well as brand, color, material, condition etc.); the not-so-great thing is that it’s not easy to see detail on their photos of black clothing. You could probably try pants from every brand mentioned on this thread for not much more than $100 total (and they are decent about returns - small restocking fee, but worth it when you consider overall savings).
posted by Kriesa at 3:22 AM on September 24, 2021

I've started to purchase slim men's pants in order to get a basic, full-length, non-polyester pant. I got these from Mango a few months ago.

You might look at some of their other men's cuts in cotton. I find them to be good quality and much more substantial than what is sold to women.
posted by fies at 10:37 AM on October 1, 2021

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