There’s a trending article on whether you can wear leggings to work right now, and I thought — oh man, we haven’t talked about that in years. So let’s discuss. Before everyone has a kneejerk reaction, I’m curious — what are the most comfortable pants that you think are acceptable to wear to work? What are the tightest or most body conscious pants you DO consider acceptable to wear to work?
Do you wear some pants to work that are sold as leggings — but actually just feel like pants to you? On the flip side, do you have some pants that are sold as pants — but that you recognize are just slightly fancier versions of leggings? If you COULD wear leggings to work, would it be more about comfort or the style for you?
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Here’s a quote from the article, Is it Weird to Wear Leggings at Work?, by Olga Khazan, in The Atlantic:
… I would argue that tights are better than pants. Working in leggings is approximately 400 times more comfortable than working in literally any other garment. I sit for at least 10 hours every day. Sitting for that long is not comfortable in regular pants. The waist band digs in, the legs ride up, and, depending on how long in the pelvis you are, the crotch gets more intimate with you than is common on Tuesday afternoons.
All of this led me to wonder: Is it okay for me, or any woman, to wear these puppies to the office regularly, or what?
It’s a really interesting point. Years ago, Buzzfeed staffer Amy Sly had a seminal decision chart on leggings vs. pants that, I thought, settled a lot of the major contours of the debate — such as, is the Lycra/Spandex% higher than the cotton %? Can you wear them to yoga? Are strangers complimenting you on your underwear?
A few notes from discussions we’ve had here before I open it up to reader discussion:
If you want comfort but not the tightness, readers swear by these “magic pants,” stretch crepe pants from Eileen Fisher — on the more affordable side, check out Uniqlo’s EZY line as well as these popular $55 pants from Leith. (Readers also used to love this J.Crew Factory drapey pull-on pant, but last I checked it was sold out.)
If you want pockets AND comfort and have a more casual office, these Hue denim leggings are a personal favorite — they’re pull on, machine wash, and they come in a variety of fabric weights, prints and styles. They’re sold like tights (folded on a tiny hanger with a stiff wrapper around them) but I swear, they feel like pants!
Leggings for work: I haven’t tried them but Uniqlo sells a whole line of “legging pants,” including some in their Heattech line… Ann Taylor also has a ton of “leggings” in their work line. I’m curious, readers — where else do you think are the best leggings for work?
Pull-on ponte pants are EVERYWHERE now — seriously, everywhere. Nic + Zoe Wonderstretch pants have been in our Hall of Fame for a while, but on the more affordable side of things Elizabeth has reviewed Crazy Larry pants and April at CorporetteMoms has reviewed these ponte leggings from the Elizabeth & James collaboration with Kohl’s; I also know readers have sung the praises of a DKNY pull-on pant from Costco. There are so many I’ve been considering doing a round-up!
Legging-like pants – If you want a body-conscious look of leggings, but with “pants” in that they have, for example, stiffer fabrics or zippers, try these from Wit & Wisdom, Spanx, NYDJ, or Vince Camuto. (If you want definite pant material but still the body-conscious look, try Everlane’s uber-popular Work Pant; readers have also noted that MMLF’s Foster pants are a bit legging-like.)
2020 Update: these are some of our very favorite comfortable pants for just this situation:
Also, psst: leggings look great with black knee-high boots!
Hunting for black knee-high boots? Here are some of our favorites in 2020!
Readers, what are your thoughts — are you noticing more and more people wearing “leggings” to work in a negative way? Thinking about it now, might you be wearing, essentially, leggings to work? What are your favorite leggings for work or leggings-substitute for work?