Open Thread: Best Work Pants

best work pantsOk, ladies, let’s hear it: which are the best work pants? I’ve seen many readers bemoaning the decline in old favorites like the Banana Republic Sloan and the Gap Perfect Trouser — and other popular pants, like the J.Crew Minnie ankle pant, just aren’t formal enough for more conservative offices. So let’s discuss. First, here’s Reader A’s question:

I have loved the Gap Perfect Trouser pants for work — they are far and away the best fit for my body type (the thighs were roomy enough, I liked the leg opening width, and the short inseam option). However, the quality of these pants has deteriorated in the last couple of years. When I looked online recently, the reviews have dropped a ton as well, with a lot of comments that the fit has changed.
Do you have any suggestions for similar fit of pants? On top of this, I recently had my first baby, so in addition to some body changes, I don’t have as much time to shop for pants now, and online shopping seems like taking a shot in the dark.
Any tips would be appreciated.

Oi. We’ve rounded up washable pants for work recently-ish (March); as I noted in our lightweight pants for summer roundup a few months ago, full-length trousers have been getting harder and harder to find. (The bootcut and flared look is back for denim, though, so hopefully work pants will follow suit shortly!) Some affordable possibilities for you:

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The Best Washable Pants for Work

washable pants for work

2017 Update: We’ve updated links — enjoy this post on washable pants for work! 

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

We haven’t talked about washable pants in far too long, so I thought I’d do a round-up today. (If having machine-washable garments is important to you, check out our Washable Wednesday feature over on CorporetteMoms, or our roundup of the best brands of washable workwear.) As we’ve discussed before, these are my best tips for how to wash your washable pants:

  • Look for stretch if you’re shopping online. If you want to narrow your search to pants that are machine washable, look for ones with stretch in them — they almost always are washable. (But most online descriptions will tell you what the recommended care is.)
  • Get them tailored only after you’ve washed them first. After the first wash there may be a little bit of shrinkage — wait to get them hemmed until then. (But, note that there are a ton of brands that offer shorter inseams for “regular” pants, so you may not need them hemmed.)
  • Wash them in cold water at home — and don’t put them in the dryer. At least, not for very long. I usually like to put my pants in the dryer for about 15 minutes — it gets the wrinkles out, and just a bit of time with the dryer sheet makes them softer. I always wash my pants on cold, and I usually do use Woolite and the delicate cycle for my pants.
  • Hang them upside down to dry. The weight of the waistband will pull the pants taut, effectively smoothing them out. (I almost never iron ‘em!) When you put them on the hanger, do your best to keep the crease the pants came with — if there was no crease, just put the inseams together neatly.
  • “Dry clean” on the label usually means you can wash them (but proceed at your own risk).  The big thing to know here is that “dry clean only” means, well, DRY CLEAN ONLY. If it just says “dry clean,” though, you usually can either dry clean them or wash them. Your mileage may vary here, but: unless I really loved the pair of pants, I would give “dry clean” pants a whirl in the washer, as well — particularly if the pants are made up entirely of natural fibers (one of the benefits to unlined pants).  You may want to do a spot test first.

Readers, which are your favorite styles and brands for washable pants for work?  What are your best tips for caring for them? 

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Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Boot-Cut Crepe Pants

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Ooooh: love these Michael Kors boot-cut crepe pants. Beige is not normally a color that excites me (pants or otherwise) but this light caramel color really looks lux and fresh to me. The pants were $895, now marked to $534, at Nordstrom. Michael Kors Boot-Cut Crepe Pants

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]
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Tuesday’s TPS Report: ‘Menswear’ Full Leg Trousers

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

'Menswear' Full Leg TrousersA great trouser doesn’t need much by way of exposition, but: hello, these look great, and Nordstrom has them in 7 colors, which says a lot about their confidence level. I like the aubergine (pictured), as an interesting not-quite-neutral color. I’d wear it with shades of gray or blue, or I might try colorblocking with a dark red sweater on top. They’re $198 at Nordstrom (sizes 0 to 18). Lafayette 148 New York ‘Menswear’ Full Leg Trousers

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.
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Wednesday’s TPS Report: ‘Menswear’ Full Leg Trousers

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Lafayette 148 New York ‘Menswear’ Full Leg TrousersSometimes all you want is a simple pair of pants, and today I’m liking these menswear inspired pants from Lafayette 148 New York. I like the lack of cuffs and the lack of front pockets, as well as the multitude of colors and sizes (regulars, petites) available. They’re unhemmed, but Nordstrom offers free hemming at no charge. Limited sizes and colors (such as granite) are on sale for $118; the rest are full price at $198. Lafayette 148 New York ‘Menswear’ Full Leg Trousers


Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.

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Bargain Friday’s TPS Report: City Stretch Lightweight Flare Pants

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

New York & Co. is having some crazy sales right now — prices up to 70% off, plus take an extra 15% off with promo code 2400 — lots of pieces come below $10.  For today’s TPS, we like this pair of pants, which (strictly speaking) is not on sale (but:  buy one and get the second pair 50% off).  We like the slight bit of sheen to them, and the general flare; we also like that they come in petites and talls.  They’re $46.95 at New York & Co., in sizes 0 through 18.  City Stretch Lightweight Flare Pants

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