The Hunt: Very Light Gray Pants

light gray pants 1Sure, 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.

Yeah, yeah: we’ve all heard that summer is the Time of the White Pant. For my money, though, summer is the perfect time for the Very Light Gray Pant. It’s summery without the fuss of the white pant (keeping it clean, finding no-show undergarments, etc), and it’s also not quite as stark/statement-y as white pants. Wear it with neutrals, or wear it with colors — the pastels of spring, the vibrant hues of mid-summer, even the darker hues of late summer. Unfortunately it seems like not all retailers agree with me — it was a bit of a struggle to find any gray pants (let alone light gray ones), even at some of the usual suspects for women’s workwear. Readers, what do you think — do you agree with me that a Very Light Gray Pant is essential for summer? Do you prefer white trousers? In general, which brands and styles are your go-to pants for work?

light gray pants 1“Pearl Heather” — great name for a very light gray. I like these Michael Michael Kors pants from Macy’s — well-reviewed and affordable. They were $69.50 but are now marked to $49.99. MICHAEL Michael Kors Pants, Gramercy
light gray pants 1These light gray Drew pants from The Limited look nice, and I like that they note that you can machine wash them in the description. They’re $74.90 at The Limited, but today you can take 40% off with code MAY40, bringing them down to $45ish. There is a matching blazer for $158 ($95ish with the code). Drew Beltloop Classic Flare Pants
light gray pants 3Express has two pairs of gray pants that I like — this pinstriped pair (pictured) and a pair in a herringbone print. These chalky pinstripes look flattering (I particularly like the slant pockets); they’re also machine washable. Both pants are $79.90 at Express. PINSTRIPE WIDE WAISTBAND EDITOR PANT
light gray pants 4This pictured pair of Hutton trousers is actually the darker of the two grays offered (but it’s the one on the model). The lighter gray, “light heather gray,” has a nice crosshatch pattern; I also think of their super 120s wool as being four-season. The Hutton trouser is $148, available in regular, petite and tall (and lots of matching pieces: two blazers (1, 2) and two pencil skirts). Hutton trouser in Super 120s
light gray pants 6These “light heather” Max C pants are a bit on the darker side, but they’re a classic. They’re $265 at Nordstrom (note: there is a matching blazer and skirt, as well). Theory ‘Max C – Tailor’ Pants

Like this feature? Check out other recent installments!



  1. Katie Anne :

    I went on a pants-binge at Express last week – I love their “Columnist” pants, both the “slim flare” and whatever the other, narrower one is. The Editor is just a little too wide for me. Wholehearted endorsement for Express as a great source of grey pants. They are also a great length for mid-tall ladies – I am 5’8″ and they fall perfectly when I’m wearing 3″ heels.

    • PSA re Hutton Trousers :

      PSA–The Hutton Trousers (as with most current JCrew trousers) are rarely lined, so if you are allergic to wool, they are no good.

      However, totally agree with Kat re light grey pants. They are great in summer. I think they look too summery by winter though, and prefer charcoal for winter.


  2. Exercise TJ — Has anyone tried spinning classes? If so, what do you think? I am just now getting back into working out, and am worried that spinning will be too intense for me and that I will not be able to finish the class. I also don’t even know how to work an exercise bike (yet). Thanks in advance!

    • Olivia Pope :

      I am basically sedentary but I love spin classes when I do work out. You adjust the bike yourself, so if it is too challenging you can lower the resistance. I’ve always done the entire class, but not always at the resistance as the instructor.

      The instructor can teach how the bike works before class so ignorance is not a problem.

    • Agree to ask the instructor how to set up your bike. You can always dial it back in class if it is too hard. Those rooms can get pretty warm so make sure you are wearing wicking clothing and have plenty of fluids. It’s also worth it to get some padded shorts or a padded seat cover to make your bottom happier. The soreness will go away in a few classes, but it will hurt to sit when you first start. It’s a great work-out.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I took a spin class once when I had a free trial at a gym. Before the class started, the instructor came into the room and asked if anyone was new. I raised my hand and she showed me how to set up the bike. The class was difficult. Really difficult, put completely possible for me to finish. I really don’t exercise consistently at all and hadn’t been at that point and was really out of shape, but was able to do it. Finishing that class was one of the greatest feelings ever.

      I didn’t end up joining that gym and the one I did join didn’t have any classes, so I haven’t been back to another class. I definitely would go if I belonged to a gym that had the classes.

    • Spinning is my favorite workout. Just get to the class a little early and tell the instructor that it is your first time. He/she should assist you in setting up your bike. If you decide you like the class, I second the recommendation to either buy padded bike shorts or a padded seat cover that you can put on the spin bike. If you feel like you’re getting tired, just turn your resistance down for a while and then jump back in when you can. I absolutely hate, hate, hate running, so spinning is the perfect way for me to get a great cardio workout in a short amount of time. Good luck!

    • Liz in the City :

      I just started doing spinning classes after a 7(!) year hiatus. And trust me, I’m not in shape (except for round). Spinning is intense, but my instructor knew it was my first time in a long time on the bike, so even though she was encouraging / yelling everyone to go faster and try harder, she was just happy I was able to stay on my bike for the duration of the class and give it my best go. And if you think others are keeping track of your progress, I can guarantee that everyone is just focusing on getting through the next song.

      I love it and I’ve been going for the last four weeks. The instructor will help you set up your bike. If you really like it, you might want to get a cushion, since the seats are hard, and shoes (can be pricey!), which help stabilize your foot.

      Bring to your first class: sweat-wicking clothes you’re comfy in, decent shoes, and setting your expectations to “I will finish” even if that means lowering your resistance/sitting down when everyone’s standing. Good luck!

    • Spinning is way too intense for me. I get carried away easily in a group exercise setting and make myself dead on the floor trying not to puke tired. But that could obviously be what you are looking for, exercise wise. Do bring a small towel if you sweat a lot and hang it on the handle bar. It’s nice to be able to wipe your hands and face when you want to. And be a nice person and wipe down your bike when you are finished!

  3. I own the Drew Pants from the Limited (in the light gray shade!). I picked them up about a year ago at TJ Maxx for about $15.00. They’ve held up very well and in person they’re a bit darker than in the photo. They were long on me (I’m 5’3) but worth a trip to the tailor at that price.

    • Where is the TJ MAX in Manhattan? I want to get a grey PAIR also, but do NOT want to spend to much money on them! Is there a TJ MAX in Manhattan?

      Rosa called and said that Ed talked with Philip. He chewed him out — or in Ed’s word’s he is goeing to be “lighteing a fire under Philip’s TUCHUS” to call me! YAY! B/c I do NOT want to have to chase him. I want him to come to ME. I want him to want to date ME. I want him to want to MARRY ME. I want him to want to have children with ME and live in a big house in the subburb’s with ME and our CHILDREN! YAY!!! He has along way to go b/f he get’s there, but if he has a condo in NYC worth so much money, then he sureley has the capability of supporting ME!!!!! YAY!!!!!

    • Wannabe Runner :

      I also have some light gray pants from The Limited. I wear them regularly.

      Agree that I’d wear a darker gray in fall and winter. The two bottom ones above would be fine all year, IMO.

  4. Clearly Speaking :

    I’m with Kat. I am not one to ever wear white pants to work and rarely outside of work, but the very palest gray/stone/sand I wear very frequently.

  5. can wear in winter? :

    I like this idea for spring/summer… but is it too bright for fall/winter? I’m tempted to get the Limited pants w/ matching jacket since I only have black pant suits, but maybe it’s too light for year-round wear?

    • Where do you live? If it’s Miami or somewhere where the winters are similarly warm, go for it. Colors this light would look weird in the winter further north though.

      • can wear in winter? :

        Yeah, I live in Minnesota. So… maybe it’s not appropriate for my geographic region???

  6. Does anyone have experience letting out hems? Like getting a tailor to take out your hem to make your pants longer? Both those Express and Limited pants fit me pretty well, but they’re either lying about their 35″ inseam (I’m seriously convinced this is the case), or I need a 35.5″ just to wear flats. I’m just curious as to what the success rate could be for letting out hems because I wonder if the current crease at the bottom is too permanent.

    • This really depends on the material and how it was hemmed in the first instance. I would ask the tailor when you take them in. I generally have found that the tailor does not lead me astray, as they understand the stitching/fabric constraints.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I bought a thrift store suit and had the hems let out. I’m not sure if the hems had previously been taken in though.

    • Orangerie :

      Agree with MJ about asking your tailor about a specific pair of pants. FWIW, I’ve had this done with several wool suiting dresses and haven’t had any issues with the crease from the original hem showing through.

    • Natural fibers will release a crease better than synthetic fabrics, generally.

    • Hollis Doyle :

      I’ve done this with several different pairs of pants and they’ve all turned out great. Most recently I had the Limited pants featured above but in the Cassidy fit let out an inch, and you can’t even tell. I was a little worried because of the light color, but there were no permanent marks left from the previous hem. I usually need a 36″ inseam and after I had the talls let out an inch, they were perfect. So, at least in my experience, the talls from the Limited were just about 35″ like they said. Maybe you just found a defective pair…?

      • This is exactly what I wanted to hear. Those Limited pants probably fit me best but I need more length. Maybe I’m a true 35.5″

      • This doesn’t really answer your question, but I always look for pants with a cuff. It seems as if the cuff isn’t sewn as tightly as a hem…almost as if it’s meant to be let out. Another plus with a cuff, there is more fabric than with a hem in case you need more than an inch or so taken out!

    • They definitely lie. I’ve measured a few pairs of my pants and some of them are only slightly off, but others are off by several inches. It’s ridiculous.

    • Wannabe Runner :

      I let out hems all the time. Sometimes I do it myself, sometimes I take it to the tailor. It’s totally normal.

    • I have done that several times, and so far have not had a problem with a crease showing, even when I have the hem let out on pants I’ve had for a while. My lightweight wool pants always seem to get gradually shorter over time, I blame the dry cleaners. I think a good tailor will not have a problem getting rid of the crease.

  7. I’m reposting from earlier this morning because I think I posted too late!

    I know I’m on the late side for this thread, but am wondering if anyone has an advice for me. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment this afternoon to discuss the results of an ultrasound of nodules on my thyroid.

    They were discovered last year, and after several ultrasounds and a biopsy, it was decided that we would just monitor them for size (instead of removing my thyroid).

    My appointment today is with a new doctor – I wasn’t happy with the ENT who saw me last year – I felt like she didn’t answer my questions (partially my fault, I should have pushed more, but I was freaked out by the whole thing) properly. She basically gave me the option of monitoring the size, or removing my thyroid, but wouldn’t elaborate when I asked her questions about cost, necessity, which option she thought was best, etc. When she wouldn’t help me decide, I went with the option of monitoring it because it was easier.

    Has anyone been in this situation? What kind of questions did you ask? What did you decide to do?

    Thank you so much!

    • The thyroid and the endocrine system are some of the most complicated parts of the body, so it is easy to be overwhelmed when trying to determine what to ask.

      Most importantly, was it determined that the nodules are just benign growths, and it was ruled out that they are cancerous? About 95% of nodules are non-cancerous, and I don’t know if that can be determined only with ultrasound or if it requires a procedure (an FNA, or fine needle aspiration) to take a look at the cells.

      Assuming they are not cancerous, it is optional as to whether or not you remove your thyroid.

      The pro to not removing it is avoiding surgery, and maintaining some amount of self -produced thyroid hormone (though you may still have to take some amount of replacement hormone to get your levels normal). The con is that you will have to continue to monitor their growth and you can get mass effects (meaning, if it gets really big, it could make it difficult to swallow.) But, that is unlikely to sneak up on you since you know about this and will be on the look out for changes like that.

      The pro to removing it is that it is done with: no need for to monitor the growth of the nodules. The con to removing is that you will HAVE to take replacement thyroid hormone all your life, because your body wont make any and if you dont replace it your metabolism will be 100% messed up. I can’t speculate on how much it might cost.

      Not knowing your detailed clinical history, it seems like the “wait and see” approach might be best, but it also depends on the specifics of your case/what your thoughts are on this/what your insurance situation is.

      BTW, I am a medical student with 2 yeas of general medical training, but I spent a year working with an endocrinologist who is a thyroid specialist. I don’t know what kind of doctor you saw for your 2nd visit, but I would definitely recommend seeing an endocrinologist (not ENT). And if you didn’t like this doctor, I hope you can find one you like who you feel like adequately answers your questions.

      • Seconded for the endocrinologist recommendation. I take my child to a pediatric endocrinologist for thyroid issues and see an ENT myself. Very different practices. The thyroid is in the endocrinologist’s primary wheelhouse.

      • +1 on the endocrinologist recommendation. My ENT sent me straight to a surgeon at the decision point you are at, and it would have been much better to have more of the endocrine knowledge up front. In my case, neither the ultrasound nor the fine needle aspiration could yield a definitive diagnosis and, after more than a year of watchful waiting, the surgeon found thyroid cancer by doing a hemi-thyroidectomy — meaning the only way to find out if I had cancer was to do the surgery they would do if I had cancer. Obviously, the whole thing sucked in so many ways, but the long-term maintenance has not been as I bad as I thought. I actually feel better on synthetic thyroid hormone than I did before, and it did not take that long for the daily habit to be fully cemented, so don’t be too freaked out if synthroid is called for.

      • Anonymous :

        I take generic synthetic hormone and the cost is no more than $10/month. My endocrinologist insists that I take the same medication all the time, so we just stick with one particular generic, going by manufacturer.

      • Just one more view here… Is the nodule on one side or both? I had one on my left only. There are several options for removal, so you do have choices. Make sure you do your own research. I ended up doing a robotic assisted parathyroidectomy, and was really pleased with the quick recovery time and no scar on my neck (it’s hidden in my armpit instead). Your mileage may vary, of course. It’s not widely available, but I had mine done in Chicago. My doctor / specialist / surgeon didn’t even know that was an option until I found it and brought it to them.

    • Did you get any kind of diagnosis about what is causing the nodules? Without that information, it’s impossible to say what to do. And if you haven’t been given that information, I would push for that first.

      I have a mild case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is basically an autoimmune disorder which causes my body to create antibodies to thyroid hormone. This has caused my thyroid to develop small nodules (a “multi-nodular goiter” which sounds horrific, but isn’t even visible). I’m monitoring both the thyroid itself and my hormone levels (thyroid hormone, TSH, and antibodies) to determine if and when treatment is necessary.

    • Thank you all so much for your responses. I had a biopsy last year and thyroid bloodwork very recently, and based on all of that coming back benign & normal, the new doctor I saw today said there was no reason to think about removing my thyroid right now. We’re going to monitor the size of the nodules and look for changes. I will take the endocrinologist suggestions into consideration and perhaps schedule my next examination with an endocrinologist. Thanks again!!

    • Thank you all so much for your responses. I had a biopsy last year and thyroid bloodwork very recently, and based on all of that coming back benign & normal, the new doctor I saw today said there was no reason to think about removing my thyroid right now. We’re going to monitor the size of the nodules and look for changes. I will take the endocrinologist suggestions into consideration and perhaps schedule my next examination with an endocrinologist.

  8. Undercover Anon :

    Quick question!

    I got lucky enough to get two interviews with two state court judges next week. (I just graduated from law school a week ago.) I plan on going conservative in terms of dress (hose, skirt suits, matte black shoes, etc.), and I’ve google-researched both guys and they have backgrounds in what I eventually want to practice. All signs point to “good” on both fronts. Any advice other than relax?

    • Be familiar with recent opinions they’ve written and with any major issues in their district(s)/state(s). Also make sure to do a search on any news items they’ve appeared in lately — if one of them is extremely outspoken on immigration, say, it wouldn’t reflect well on your preparation if you weren’t aware of that. Finally be able to express why you want to clerk for this particular judge (and not just any judge — even if you basically feel you’d clerk for any judge, find an honest reason you especially like each of these two guys), and why you, in particular, would make a great clerk (hint: it’s not because it’d be great for your resume – why will this judge’s life be better if he picks *you*).

    • For me, my judges were all about fit. They obviously wanted someone who was smart and who had good research/writing skills, but they wanted the right personality as well. My clerkship required moving to a small town where I didn’t know anyone so we talked about that a little bit too.

    • Former Clerk :

      I clerked for a trial court in an area not near any law school. If these judges are in that situation, make sure they know why you’re interested in their locality, and that you intend to stay after your clerkship is over.

      At the court I clerked for, some of the judge do criminal-only and some do civil-only. It was hard to know which ones did which, and I think I even applied to some who did the opposite of what I wanted. Sometimes there are little facts like that which you may not know about. Do as much research as possible. Talk to prior clerks for these judges if you can.

      My judge eventually hired me because I had majored in music. She’d been on the bench for a while, and lots of clerks had come and gone. She wanted one that would be interesting to talk to and have a personality that would be entertaining (as well as being smart and a good writer, etc.).

      • Undercover Anon :

        These are both trial level–not appellate. Thanks you all!

        • Not sure if you’re still reading, but the best advice besides being familiar with any of their recent/important decisions, is being able to articulate why you want to position. If you’re graduating and still haven’t found a post-law school position, I think it’s helpful to say why you really want to clerk (as opposed to “I just need a job!”). Something along the lines of, “there’s no better way to learn how to be a good lawyer than being behind the scenes in chambers of a trial court” will probably sound good. But practice saying it so it sounds thought-out. When you are given the chance to ask questions, a good question might be about their approach to writing opinions (e.g., will you be responsible for the first draft or will they write the first draft and have you work on it after).

    • I am in the middle of a state trial court clerkship. In my experience fit is extremely important, as others have mentioned. I also asked a TON of questions at my interview. Also, be able to talk up your writing and research skills.

  9. I love light colored pants – white and non white options. I’m just so sick of everyone wearing black pants in every season that I am at the point where I don’t want to wear them myself, especially in the summer. I like Banana Republic Martin fit and Anne Taylor Curvy fit (I have a 10 inch difference between my waist and hip measurement and these 2 fit with no waist alterations, also they come in petite). But yeah, it seems that light grey is harder to find than white.

  10. I tried on a pair of light gray pants at Ann Taylor, but they were unlined and I felt that they would have a similar undergarment issue to white pants.

  11. I think these Halogen Taylor Tonal Texture pants are also pretty good looking and the price looks good.

    (Link subsequent.)


    • I much prefer grey pants of any shade when they have textural or tonal detail in the fabric. Grey, more than any other color, has a tendency to look flat IMO. Also, as with any pants, but especially light-colored ones, I will not buy unless I can really look at my rear view in good light. No one needs to play count the dimples.

    • former TheSkirt lover :

      In addition to changing The Skirt, they have changed the design of the Taylor pants, taking away the amazing wide waistband and making these pants decidedly less awesome for my extreme pear body. ;oP sad panda

    • Wow – I’m wearing these pants today! I feel like I have validated good taste, now. :) They are very lightweight and the waistband is comfortable.

    • I just purchased this suit. It’s currently being tailored, but I do feel they were a bit thin. But they were on sale.

  12. Threadjack, any idea what the pay for in-house counsel is? I’m in the Northeast if that helps.

    • LeChouette :

      not a ton of help I know, but I know generally it is substantially lower than biglaw for equivalent years of experience (until you get to exec level, and unless you’re at a bank / hedge fund — I think the top lawyers there do quite well)

    • It varies.

      Need more information to give a better answer.

    • totally varies by city, business, company size, private v public, how senior you are, if it is a finance place v a manufacturing place v other, how successful the company is…in other words, your question is way way way too broad

    • What’s the size/industry of the company? I’m technically in-house, but I’m sure pay varies among size of company, industry, and in-house functions (like if you’re serving a specific business group or the corporation as a whole, general risk management or SEC compliance, etc.).

  13. Is it too late to try to go somewhere fun for Memorial Day weekend with my boyfriend (too late as in everything is booked/super expensive)? We’re coming from NYC and we have a car. I like the beach but he’s not as big of a fan, so if it’s a beach place there would have to be other stuff to do. We both like hiking/other outdoorsy stuff. And good food. We basically just want to go somewhere a little quieter with more nature than NYC, but that is more exciting than Westchester (where we’re both from). We’d be willing to drive several hours in any direction. Any ideas?

    • The Adirondacks (Lake George or one of the smaller / quieter lakes). Or the Berkshires.

      • The only problem with the Adirondacks over Memorial Day is black flies. I highly, highly recommend going, but I’d pick a different time. Lake George would probably be safe if you’re not spending a lot of time in wooded areas. There are some nice campgrounds and B&Bs in the Finger Lakes. Watkins Glen is lovely.

    • Wannabe Runner :

      You could also try the Catskills or Poconos, or like Vermont/New Hampshire. I doubt *everything* is booked. Probably the best places are, but not everything.

    • Finger Lakes! One of my favorite long weekend destinations.

      • I would just double check to make sure it’s not Cornell graduation weekend.

        If not, Ithaca is amazing and there is a lot to do, lots of good day hikes to various waterfalls, walks around town and the gorges, trips to the wineries, a surprising number of good restaurants, a really good farmers market, etc.

  14. Is it too late to try to head out of town with my boyfriend for Memorial Day weekend (too late as in everything is booked up/super expensive)? We’re coming from NYC and we have a car. We’re willing to drive several hours in any direction. I like the beach but my bf is not as much of a beach person, so if it’s a beach place there would have to be other things to do. We both like hiking/other outdoorsy stuff. And good food. We’re basically looking for a relaxing escape outside the city (but more interesting than Westchester, where we’re both from). Any ideas?

  15. Lady Harriet :

    I’m actually wearing a pair of light grey J. Crew pants today! They were a hand-me-down, so I don’t know the name, but they’re a smooth cotton with flared legs and very comfy. They’re bordering on a size too big, but I love having not-black pants to wear. I also have a pair of gorgeous light green silk pants, but since I have to hand wash them they don’t get worn as often.

  16. Do any of you have experience hand-washing the JCrew Hutton trousers in Super 120S wool? Or any of the other JCrew garments (like the pencil skirts) that are made in this fabric? Is this fabric truly dry-clean only?

    • I have the Super120 suit in navy with the skirt and the pants, and I’m not thrilled. There’s very little give to the fabric. The jacket is nice – not too short – but the shoulders and upper arms are snug (and I’m a size 2). The pants are not my most comfortable and so I find I wear them very rarely. They aren’t lined, which is fine, but because they have no stretch, they wrinkle easily. The skirt isn’t that flattering of a pencil. There’s a thin waistband which to me ruins the skirt, and it’s a bit long. I would have gone with the petite but it didn’t sit well.

      All said, it is nice fabric and the jacket is lovely but I will wait another year or 2 before shelling out for the JCrew suit. I think Theory makes a much nicer suit for about the same $$. I have a light grey pant/skirt/jacket suit (I like to have all three for the most options) from Ann Taylor that is far more comfortable and attractive. My one comment about AT jackets is they are too short, and I don’t care for the peplum flare in the back.

      I really would like to find a nice, high quality suit with slacks and a skirt and a decent lined jacket that isn’t frumpy (go away, Brooks Brothers & Talbots), cheap (Limited, anything at Macy’s), or short (Ann Taylor). I love T Tahari’s suits but they rarely have both pants and skirts available, and the skirts are just a tad too short.


      • Try the stretch wool suits at JCrew. I like this material much better than the Super120s. The fabric gives and doesn’t wrinkle. I have 2 of them already and want another. Also, on the jacket-I suggest sizing up and having a tailor bring in the waist/lower back. For some reason, all of the JCrew fit models must have narrow shoulders and very skinny arms.

        And everything about AT lately is too short. The suit dresses and skirts are ridiculously too short this year.

        • Thanks, JuliaS and Jess, for your experiences with JCrew fabrics. JuliaS, how do you care for your not-so-favorite Super120 wool, and Jess, do you handwash your stretch wool suits from JCrew, or just dry clean them?

  17. I love light gray pants, but always struggle with finding the right shoe color. I’m petite, so I like to match my shoe to my pant color because it creates a longer line. What color shoe would you wear with these?

  18. I’m excited to uncover this website. If you don’t mind May I also reveal a suggestion. Fidning a Personal sexy muscles nude man could possibly be dificult, should you reside in Sourthern California therefore you need a Personal sexy muscles love firm, click on my link.