need good fashion sense
January 27, 2008 4:35 PM   Subscribe

How do I pick pants I will like for business?

I can never seem to get dress pants I like. They don't seem to fit the way I want or I end up not liking the style. I'm looking for good pants for business casual that are a step or two above khakis. I prefer a more tapered leg and can never seem to find that (even in jeans). For some reason I always want to buy a 29 length because 30 is sometimes too long. Problem is sometimes 29 ends up shrinking a little and is too short. I prefer to not have to dry clean but will if I have to. I’m just less than 5’10”, 170 lbs but under 15% bf.
I work for MS as a consultant in the Midwest. I never get to hang out in the office and wear jeans and I sometimes want to look nicer than the rest of the IT world….
What are the brands/stores I should try?
posted by arh07 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if these will be fancy enough, but loose fit St. John's Bay flat front trousers are my #1 favorite pants right now. They are a nice fabric, they look pretty dressy (at least a step above khakis), they don't wrinkle easily, and you can wash them at home. The flat front makes it a clean look.

I had to buy a pair because I forgot to pack pants on a recent trip (I know), and I liked them so much I went online and ordered every other color.

They are sold exclusively at JC Penney, and are often on sale.
posted by AgentRocket at 4:56 PM on January 27, 2008

If you're buying pants with a set length then you're buying the wrong type of pants. Pants shouls always be hemmed by a tailor and as such are usually quite long and don't have a length per se. Also, pleats (not to be confused with the crease) are a big no-no on the front.
posted by furtive at 4:58 PM on January 27, 2008

You might try LLBean. I have always found their fabrics and cuts look a little "cleaner" than other similar brands. They have a great return policy: if you wash them and they do shrink (even after a while), I bet they will send you a new pair. I found these washable wool pants that have inseams in 1/4 inch increments, or you can get them unfinished. Flat front and tapered leg. The "Micro-fiber hidden comfort pants" look good, too, although they have a silly name and not as many inseam choices.
posted by Eringatang at 5:22 PM on January 27, 2008

Get the 30s and get 'em tailored. It'll cost $5-$10 (probably) and will be totally worth it.
posted by wemayfreeze at 5:37 PM on January 27, 2008

You can't go wrong building an entire (IT, corporate, business casual) wardrobe is from Lands' End.

On the pants front, you want wool, flat front, black, grey, or grey, in a tailored or fitted cut, cuffed (Lands' End will hem/cuff for no charge). Like these. They ought to be dry cleaned, but one of the many wonderful qualities of wool pants is that, if you take care to hang them up at night with the creases lined up, you can keep wearing them until you spill something on them or they start smelling funny: the creases stay put, and little wrinkles just disappear.

I can't help you on the tapered leg, though, but wool pants drape entirely differently than cotton, and you may find it isn't a concern.

Congrats on trying to dress things up a notch. I definitely believe that for me, starting to dress to the standards of the business world rather than the IT department was a major factor in being treated (and compensated!) as a professional. And it got me the best compliment I've ever recieved: "You don't look like an IT guy."
posted by a young man in spats at 5:39 PM on January 27, 2008

Seconding furtive, length isn't something you should be worrying about if you're buying "dress" pants. You'll know you're getting dress pants when they don't come with finished hems.

Also, anything a step or two above khakis should probably be made of 100% wool, and thus will require dry cleaning.

In recommending brands/stores, it would help to know your budget, but right smack in the middle of most price ranges is Jos. A. Bank, where a salesman will happily fit you for all the business casual pants you want. A step up from there is something like Brooks Brothers.
posted by tew at 5:40 PM on January 27, 2008

I go with the Brooks Brothers 'casual trousers'.

They are non-iron, meaning you can through them in wash/dryer, pull them out and hang them up. No dry cleaning needed.

The have the classic 'business casual' look and Brooks Brothers customer service is second to none.

We are about the same size and I have the same 29" or 30" issue. I get the 30" ones. If the hems start to fray at the bottom, Brooks Brothers is able to rehem them, extending the life of the pants.

They are a bit pricey compared to the typical Dockers you get elsewhere, but I feel they are worth it.
posted by Argyle at 6:02 PM on January 27, 2008

Make sure you go for natural fibres, or a mostly NF blend.
posted by oxford blue at 6:17 PM on January 27, 2008

Buy them unfinished and then have them tailored to fit. Doesn't everybody do this?
posted by caddis at 6:40 PM on January 27, 2008

Believe it or not, if you go to JC Penny's or Sears they will have clothing personel who have pretty good taste in business/casual wear. Tell them what you want and they will pick four or five pants to try on to liking.

I've done this about three times personally and have always been satisfied with results.

Cheaper then Men's Warehouse to!

Good luck.
posted by Schuby at 9:48 AM on January 28, 2008

Response by poster: I never thought about getting pants tailored. I always thought of that as for suit pants. I guess because I have the same issue with jeans. Sometimes length 29 is too short, sometimes it's not.

This is all good stuff. I think I would pay money for some service to do this for me. Just check out my body and what I do for a living then go find it and keep me replenished. The stores could get in to it because they would say ok how about a discount for getting everything here.
posted by arh07 at 6:24 PM on January 28, 2008

arh07, these guys effectively *are* talking about suit pants, without the jacket. Jos A Bank and Brooks Brothers are not midrange, they are high end. Or at least mainstream high end. But in your profession, it may well be worth it in service, value and convenience.

For the clothes snobs (he says with love) - will a pair of these million dollar pants last as long as three pairs of the equivalent from the department store?

I'm asking this as someone who DOESN'T like to be fussed over by guys with toupees and gold-rimmed glasses (the standard men's clothing seller archetype).

Again, not trying to rain on the parade, just having a little fun.
posted by gjc at 8:25 PM on January 28, 2008

Jos A Bank and Brooks Brothers are not midrange, they are high end.

hardly high end, especially Banks. decent quality though. You can get a pair of trousers for $60 at the very many sales, with $10 or so for tailoring the length. Most of the stuff over about $110 is not worth the money. There is a nice range in between, most of it closer to $60. Basically the same as the department stores trousers.
posted by caddis at 8:57 PM on January 28, 2008

Response by poster: gjc - that is what I hoping for. I've never really thought about this stuff but I decided to do something about it. I HAVE seen crap quality from stores everyone likes. But really I looked at some other guys and they seem to be able to pull off whatever they want and still be comfortable. If I had to wear a suit everyday I would hate it. I also don't usually work inside the ms office so I can't wear jeans. Jeans are another topic - some people, imo, know what to buy and still look put together. I need to move off levi.
posted by arh07 at 2:39 AM on January 29, 2008

Million dollar pants? I pay between $40 and $110 for mine, from either those men's clothing stores in the mall, or Club Monaco, and regardless of where I go the pants are always a good 6 inches longer than my 5' 10" frame (32 waist if you really want to know). Sears, The Bay or any other department store also has that sort of stuff.... Time to get away from the Dockers.
posted by furtive at 7:26 AM on January 31, 2008

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