Keep it MBAchic: Where can I find the best work pants?
Welcome to another installment of #KeepitMBAchic. We’ve been fielding a lot of questions in our Instagram DMs (slide on in!), and one of the first style questions we received asked which brands offer the best work pants, or trousers to wear in the office. This sparked the creation of our Pinterest page (@MBAchicblog) and boards, where we answer questions and gather MBAchic’s favorite office looks each month. Take a look and give us a follow for up-to-date style advice and inspo.
Guide your shopping
Before we get to the actual best work pants we’ve found, here are a couple of guiding principles to consider, if you’re on the hunt. Take a look and let us know (subscribers, just reply back to this email) what other guidance you’d offer, we’ll add it to the post!
- Find pants that are made in a durable fabric (something that has some weight to it), aren’t too shiny (that can look cheap under office lighting), and have a bit of stretch to them (so you can move around and not worry about midday wrinkles)
- Get your pants to a tailor before you wear them to the office. Take in/out the waist or hips or thighs or bring up/down the hem to fit you perfectly. When you are hemming pants, this will mean you need to commit to a certain pair of shoes or heel height (for full-length trousers, you want them about a ¼ inch from the ground for an elongating effect). Don’t think about it too much, just commit and let your tailor or seamstress work their magic. Tailoring is such a worthy investment. Even if you’re starting with something that didn’t break the bank, tailoring can make it look twice as good/expensive/fab/younameit.
- In general, even before tailoring, make sure they’re not too tight. We love a skinny jean but at the office, give yourself some literal wiggle room and they’ll last you season after season (stretching pants that are too tight will wear heavy on the seams). Be sure to read care labels and try an at-home dry clean kit to cut down on care costs!
Brands we like (not #sponcon)
We pulled a ton of looks over the past few weeks on Pinterest and did some research off of the platform. As some of you know, outfits on Pinterest are shared and reshared over time, so some of the pieces we found are sold out, so we’ve made similar recommendations. If you find any of the links have sold out after we publish, shoot us a note to let us know. We’ll do our best to keep this up-to-date (the only constant is change!):
- Theory Dark Grey pants, part of a suit (sold out but still wanted to include this look as inspo when you’re out there looking)
- Good Wool Flare Pant (love the retro vibe these offer: retro, but fresh; please have them hemmed, these will look so good at the right length!)
- Good Wool Straight Trouser (a classic blank pant that you’ll have for years, available in sizes 00-16)
- Josie checked tailored trousers in blue check (I’m not one to rock a print regularly, but this is a look I would try on a more casual day, again, keeping everything else super simple… i.e., black because I’m chicken when it comes to patterned pants)
- Ayn split-front tailored trousers (this is another more fashion-forward look but I actually like them and feel you could wear it with a regular pump during the day and throw on a strappy shoe to take it to a happy hour or evening event)
- Harper wide-leg tailored trousers in black (another great look, same advice as the Flare Pant above, tell me this pant, paired with the right blouse tucked in, hemmed at the right length, won’t *ooze* confidence)
- Avery Straight-Fit Heathered Ankle Pant – yes, another grey pant pictured, but we all have our favorite fits from this store, and the Avery is one of them. They’re classic but would suggest you check these out in person – sometimes the classics, even though you buy them season after season, need to be checked in terms of consistent sizing – if you order online, try them on once they arrive to be sure.
- Ryan Slim Straight-Fit Washable Pinstripe Pant – washable work pant that could essentially go with everything in your closet? Sign us up. These look great, and there are more colors available exclusively online (BR’s return policy is pretty good, just get it back to them in time)
- Sloan Skinny-Fit Plaid Pant is a great cropped option for work – sure, Banana Republic is sometimes basic, but it’s also reliable, and caters to all sorts of customers. Love the print here and you could dress it up or down
- Edie full-length trouser in four-season stretch (available in classic, petite and tall)
- Full-length Cameron pant in four-season stretch (classic, petite and tall)
- Slim Leg Paley pant (28” inseam, great for petites! It’s sold out in the “Pinstripe Super 120s wool”, but J.Crew is a brand you can count on to deliver classic styles for all customers and they’ll likely come up with something similar again soon)
- Eloquii Kady Fit Double Weave Pant is super flattering and even has its own section on their website. They come in short [27”], regular [29”] and tall [31”] inseams, and the double-weave material gets rave reviews because it’s comfortable, stretches, and keeps its shape throughout the day. Throw on a great heel and the length is perfect to really show it off
- MM.LaFleur Foster Pant – new to this but have heard great things about this brand, so it’s an honorable mention; has anyone tried it to give an honest review? I really liked one of their looks I found on Pinterest so sharing the Foster here
- Proenza Schouler Belted High-Rise Cotton-Blend Pants – love this look for a less formal office, and would even swap out the belt for something a bit cleaner – it’s no longer on Moda Operandi but this is great inspo for adding some new silhouettes into your work wardrobe
Recommended by you!
- Veronica Beard Renzo Pant (in pink!) – not sure if I could have pulled this off while working in banking but I love these: in a more creative office, these with the matching jacket could make for a refreshing, monochromatic look – recommended by our friends @chicksonwallstreet! They recently launched their fashion page, @chicksinthecloset where they regularly post individual items and fashion advice on how to style them – go follow these ladies for a great mix of high-and-low and work-appropriate looks that aren’t boring (and follow their main account, too!)
- We recommended these already, but worth mentioning the extra love the J. Crew Full-Length Cameron Pant in Four-Season Stretch and Banana Republic Sloan Skinny Fit are getting. Let us know what else you love, we’ll keep this current as long as we possibly can.
- Not surprised, but a lot of you said a big ol’ NOPE to successfully finding khakis that you like wearing to work. Sigh, the search continues (does it, though?)…
– Jake from State Farm, as well as any male coworker I’ve ever had, when I “ask” for office fashion help.
Ok, this is why we need to get forums onto our site (or a Slack group). For critical career discussions like these.
As woman shopping for pants to wear to work: have you *ever* found khakis that made you, when you looked in the mirror, say to yourself: wow, you look really nice today. Or even: ok, this is decent, let’s head to work. We have yet to find someone who has! Depends on the kind of office you’re in, yes, but why not try a light grey cropped pant? Yeah…. we can’t really recommend any khakis. So sorry.
What works for you?
Can you shop online, or do you need to try them on in the store? What are your favorite stores or brands who you can count on for the best work pants, every time? Also please tell us what you think about the khaki situation. We’re listening, and this is one space where we truly are stumped. Let us know (and hook us up with specific links when you can!).