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Sure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work 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.
Here’s a question we haven’t talked about in far too long: what do you think are the best pants for work? Which ones are your favorites for comfort — for fit — for travel?
There are actually a ton of great options right now — almost all of the ones below are washable, available at least up to size 18, and many are available in petite, tall, and plus sizes as well. Which are your favorite work pants? Do tell…
Psst: check out our latest thoughts on the best trouser lengths for women!
The Best Pants for Work (Latest Favorites!)
The Best Plus-Size Pants for Work in General
Great Maternity Pants for the Office
Fun Colorful Pants for Work
Hunting for colorful pants for work? They’re very popular everywhere for 2024 — but note that in general brands like Rekucci, Krazy Larry, Banana Republic, Express, J.Crew, and Boden have a ton of options.
If you’re hunting for one that’s under $50, there are a ton of great options, but they are very different. Readers love the comfort of J.Crew Factory’s drapey pull-on (usually around $35 with the sale of the day), while Everlane’s work pant ($50) has a nice, crisp, hold-you-in feeling to the fabric.
Still, if you’re looking for a ton of options in color and fabric sizes, readers swear by the Old Navy Pixie pants, pictured above — they’re around $35 and come in regular, tall, and petite sizes up to size 20; they’re also available in plus sizes.
The Best Ankle Pants for Work Outfits
Another good option that’s often on sale: J.Crew’s Cameron pant, which readers recently noted was a good option for pears (and have pockets).
They’re available at Nordstrom and Net-a-Porter as well as J.Crew, although note that J.Crew has a ton more options and come in sizes up to 24, as well as petite and tall sizes. The pictured ones are a washable option good for four seasons!
The Best Comfortable Work Pants
For just a bit more money puts you in the range of the NYDJ Stretch Knit Trousers, which are my personal favorite for a mix of comfort and polish — I feel more formal with the zipper (unlike some of the pull-on options on this list) and I feel like they wash and wear really well. I also like the thickness of the pants. They’re currently $78-$119; note that they’re almost always on sale in the big Nordstrom sales.
A few other great options around this price point: Brass’s ponte pants are $98 (I’ve heard rave reviews but haven’t tried myself), as well as Nic+Zoe’s Wonderstretch pants (some options as low as $102, but mostly around $148).
The Best Wrinkle-Free Pants for Work
We’ve sung the praises of the pants the readers call “magic pants” before — they’ve noted that they’re “as comfortable as pajama pants,” “like slim cigarette pants that never wrinkle,” and “can be washed in a sink.” They come in plus and petite sizes, and a ton of colors — I personally haven’t seen anything but lucky sizes on sale but that’s me.
The Best Trouser Pants for Work
If washability isn’t high on your list of needs — or if you’re more looking for suiting separates that have great pants — Boss, Lafayette 148 New York, and Theory are the brands to beat.
Fun fact: the Good Wool line is ” is spun from sustainably-farmed Australian wool milled at an environmentally-friendly factory” — and I was surprised to notice that Theory now goes up to a size 16.
Social media images: Deposit Photo / LenblR.
Readers, how about you — which do you think are the best pants for work? Which are your favorite styles to wear to work — drapey, slim knit, cropped, or bootcut/voluminous trousers?
Great Work Pants in Specific Shapes
Our Latest Favorite Bootcut Dress Pants
There are a bunch of great bootcut dress pants — some of our favorites include Good American and the very affordable Tapata brand (with tall, petite, and regular lengths). Alexander McQueen also has a bunch right now. On the more casual side, check out KUT from the Kloth cords, Wit & Wisdom jeans, and Betabrand “dress yoga pants.”
The Classic Ankle Pants for Work
Ankle pants may not be super trendy at the moment, but they can still be a great look — particularly if you like to switch up your shoe heights a lot. As of 2024, longstanding favorites include pants from Eileen Fisher*, J.Crew*, and Theory. For plus sizes check Eloquii as well as the options with asterisks — and on the more casual side, check out Old Navy*, Athleta*, and Everlane*.
Simply Stylish: Straight Pants for Work Outfits
Straight pants can be a bit tricky get the hem correct, and have a slight potential to be frumpy… That said, they are a classic because they tend to be immune from trends. Some great options in 2024 include reader favorites Nic & Zoe pants, NYDJ, J.Crew, these “perfect” pants from Spanx, and the very affordable Amazon seller Tapata (with petite, regular, and tall sizes).
Wide Leg Pants to Wear to Work
Hunting for more wide-leg pants to wear to work? We just rounded some up, and general favorites include pleated pairs like Favorite Daughter, Everlane*, Reformation*, and Abercrombie*, with flat-front pairs from Good American,* M.M.LaFleur, and Ann Taylor. (* = plus sizes; see the post for notes on petites and talls). We’ve also shared our thoughts on what shoes to wear with wide-leg pants! Our latest favorite wide-leg pants include these (as of 2024):