The Best Comfy Work Pants

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Recently in the Wardrobe Oxygen community, a member asked about the best comfy work pants. She was returning to the office and wanted to look polished and professional, but not lose the comfort from her work from home wardrobe. I commented recommending the Chico's Juliet pants but then when going through the archives, I realized I haven't reviewed the Chico's Juliet Pant since 2018.

It's funny, last year I donated my Juliet pants finding that I didn't wear them that often with my lifestyle. And now it's 2020 and I want pants just like them that are both comfortable and polished.

I reached out to Chico's asking if I could get another pair of their Juliet Pants and knowing that they too are comfy work pants, asked for a pair of their Brigitte pants.

Below I share details about these comfy work pants and why I continue to recommend them.

Comfy Work Pants from Chico's

Chico's Brigitte Slim Pants

chicos brigitte pants review
Sweater is this one from Talbots, brooch is from Talbots (no longer available, similar styles), and the shoes are these from Ann Taylor.

I hadn't tried the Brigitte pant from Chico's before, but I know it is one of their bestsellers for fit, shape, and versatility.

Made from a rayon/nylon/spandex blend, these pants have almost a crepe finish but are tightly woven, a substantial weight, and look quite polished.

Back in the '90s I worked for the clothing company Express and they had the Editor Pant which was a similar stretchy crepe-finish fabric that was work-appropriate with a sweater or one of the matching blazers (yet was also great with a tiny little polyester “club top” and Steve Madden wedges for a night out). And for those who remember and miss their Editor pants, Express still has them!

Well, the Brigitte is the Editor's sophisticated older sister. It's a more elegant fabric and a fit that is better suited for the woman who has worked her way up the corporate ladder. 

best comfy work pants

For those who are oh-vah ankle pants, these are a nice choice. I am wearing the petite, which is a 28.5″ inseam; the regular is a 30.5″ inseam and the tall has a 33.5″ inseam. 

They are a pull-on style with a wide waistband, and functional front pockets and faux back pockets which give more of a “work pants” look while still being comfy and not adding bulk.

These pants have Chico's So Slimming® technology which I know many love but I don't really get it. It doesn't seem to hit at the lower belly where I and most women I know would want a little support and smoothing.

But the technology is just a panel inside that doesn't affect fit or comfort, it doesn't determine whether I will or won't wear a style from Chico's. 

chicos brigitte slimming pants

I got these in a 2 petite (equivalent to 12/14 petite) and I think I should have sized down; I'm not totally sure of my size lately since I haven't been trying on clothes in stores and have been wearing a lot of stretchy knits while also changing my diet and fitness.

But considering my Large and 12/14 pants still fit, I'd say these run a bit large in the waist and long in the rise. Next time I'll size down.

These specific pants come in black, olive, and ecru in sizes 0-20 (Chico's sizing 000-4). The Brigitte Pant is a popular one at Chico's and at this link you can see the range of colors, fabrics, prints, and details available in this silhouette

comfy work pants

Chico's Juliet Ankle Pants

The last time I had a pair of Juliet pants, it was this style – a little side vent, clean lines, but they had faux pockets. And in 2020, I need me some pockets in every pair of pants I own. So I asked to try the Juliet Seamed Ankle Pants which have a sewn-in seam down the front of each leg as well as two front pockets that are not only real, but also zip closed.

Unlike the classic Juliet Ankle Pant, these have strategic seaming in a variety of places creating a bit more modern/athleisure vibe but still being a fabric that is professional and work-appropriate. 

The fabrication is rayon, nylon, and spandex which doesn't mean a whole lot since the Brigitte is also the same mix of materials but in this case it means ponte.

woman in black ponte knit work pants and a purple sweater and leopard kitten heel pumps leaning against a red brick wall

We all by now know ponte knit, which is actually short for Ponte de Roma, a tightly-woven heavyweight knit that feels like you're wearing athleisure but look polished enough to head into the boardroom.

I have written about and loved ponte knit all the 15 years of Wardrobe Oxygen and it's a big reason why I love these pants. 

I again went with a 2 Petite, and again wish I sized down. Looking at the reviews for this style of Juliet pants, I am not the only one who found they run big. I remember this being the thing for my last pair of Juliet pants and even in my original Chico's Juliet Pant review I said I sized down.

woman in black ponte ankle pants and a purple sweater smiling in front of a brick wall

I also find the placement of the pockets odd; I think it may be because these pants too have that So Slimming® technology and the pockets would interfere with it?

These pants are a true ankle pant with petite having a 26″ inseam, 28″ for regular, and 31″ for tall. Unlike the Brigitte I felt these were the right rise for my 5'3″ self. 

These are pull-on pants and at first they may look like leggings, but when you put them on you realize they are cut and wear like trousers.

black ponte knit ankle pants as seen on a woman facing away from the camers

I specifically wore underwear without a seamless edge so I could show the level of VPL; if you wear seamless undies (these are my favorite), you won't have any panty lines because this is a thicker ponte and the pants aren't cut to be as tight as leggings. 

These May Be My Favorite Comfy Work Pants

chicos juliet pant on wardrobe oxygen
chicos juliet pant review

I am sharing these photos from 2018 of me in the Juliet because I think for work, the Juliet Side-Vent Ankle Pant is a bit more polished and professional of a style.

This style of the Juliet pant also comes in more colors (the pocket ones come in two, the no-pocket comes in six colors) and get a higher rating and more reviews from Chico's customers. 

These are comfy work pants that are also versatile. With the faux pockets they look more like traditional pants for tucked-in and shorter tops, but the smooth pull-on style makes them perfect to wear with untucked looks.

woman in black stretchy work pants walking with text overlay saying the best comfy work pants

The Best Comfy Work Pants – Your Recommendations

I found the original conversation about so pants so interesting and helpful that I wanted to share the comfy work pants that were suggested by members of the Wardrobe Oxygen community on Facebook and comments on Instagram and previous posts on the blog. This list offers a variety of cuts, fabrics, and a more extensive size and length range:

  • Athleta's Brooklyn Ankle Pant – Better for business casual or more relaxed workplaces, these pants get rave reviews for comfort, wrinkle resistance, and style. Available in Regular, Tall, and Petite sizes up to 16.
  • Banana Republic's Ryan Pant – Made in a machine-washable blend of 52% wool, 46% polyester, and 2% elastane, these pants look polished and professional while being comfortable and easy-care. They are available in a variety of colors in Regular sizing with three lengths up to size 20 and a petite cut available up to size 16. If you prefer a Curvy cut, they also offer that in three lengths up to size 20.
  • Banana Republic's Sloan Pant – A slimmer silhouette than the Ryan, this pant is available in a variety of styles from an ankle pant to a flared leg opening, midrise to high rise. These pants are also available in the same size range with curvy options. For those familiar with the Old Navy Pixie Pant, the Sloan Ankle is a similar cut but you'll likely prefer Banana's fabric and bounce-back.
  • Betabrand Pants – Available in a variety of silhouettes, Betabrand says their pants are as comfortable as yoga pants. I have tried them and agree, though I find them a bit snug on my rear and wouldn't wear them without a longer top or blazer. Betabrand comes in Regular, Short Petite, Petite, and Long sizes up to 3XL.
  • Eileen Fisher System Washable Stretch Crepe Slim Ankle Pants – Fans love how easy-care these are and how durable. WO2 readers have shared they have pairs several years old that still look new. A clean-front pull-on style in Misses, Petite, and Plus sizes up to 3XL.
  • J.Jill Essential Ponte Slim Leg Pants – I think these pants are recommended more than any other on this list, tying the Chico's Juliet for favorite ponte ankle pant by WO2 readers. A pull-on style, these are a full-length pant with a faux fly but real pockets. Available in Misses, Petite, Tall, and Plus sizes XS-4X.
  • Lands' End Starfish Pant – A pull-on knit pant that skews a bit more casual than some on this list, but can still look polished enough for a business casual office setting. Available in a range of cuts and leg openings, these pants have a cult following for comfort and durability. Available in Regular, Petite, Tall, Plus, and Plus Petite sizing.
  • NYDJ Marilyn Pant in Ponte Knit – These have classic five-pocket styling like jeans or pants, but are made of a nice weight of ponte knit and have a straight full-length leg. Available in Misses and Plus sizes to 28W.
  • Talbots Lexington Pant – This pant comes in a variety of neutral colors and is a slim ankle style. It is offered in Misses, Petite, Plus, and Plus Petite sizing.
  • Talbots Refined Bi-Stretch Pant – This fabric comes in ankle, straight leg, and mini bootcut silhouettes in a variety of colors and in Misses, Petite, Plus, and Plus Petite sizing.
  • Torrid Studio Signature Straight Leg Pant – Made from ponte knit, these pants get rave reviews for comfort and not stretching out mid-day. Available in four lengths in sizes 10-30.
  • White House Black Market Comfort Stretch Slim Ankle Pants – I have these pants myself and like them a lot. They have traditional trouser styling with a button and fly, but are made of a stretch crepe-like fabric similar to the Chico's Brigitte pant. They come in a variety of colors, the Misses and Curvy sizes 00-18 come in three lengths, they also have petite up to size 16.

I'd love to hear from you! Do you have a favorite comfy work pant that isn't mentioned in this article? Do share in the comments as your suggestion may be just the work trousers another has been wanting!

Shop Comfy Work Pants:

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  1. Hi, Alison! It might be a good time to revisit this idea, maybe with some help from the fb community? I have a petite friend who will be returning to work, and she is having a tough time finding non-black work pants. She’s looking for things that are cropped with wider legs, or reg length wide or straight leg pants (or trousers). But she’d prob appreciate any non-black work pant options! Thank you in advance!

  2. I love your work outfits, esp the shoes. I really like the editor pants from Express. I think they are close to the Lee Flex Motion trouser pants I found last year. I’m now a fan. They have a panel to cinch me in and it stretches for comfort. I plan to buy more colors. The Flex Motion bootcut jeans too are really comfy and look great for casual Fridays.

  3. If someone wants to try the Eileen Fisher washable crepe ankle pants at a huge discount, I have a barely worn pair in black in size L and a new with tags olive pair in XL in my Poshmark shop @diplospice

  4. Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been searching for basic and flattering work pants and this gave me some ideas. Your blog continues to be one of the most practical, functional, and honest ones out there. Thanks for your hard work and integrity!

  5. Out of necessity, I wear the EF pants mentioned. But honestly, I hate pants. I think I’ve lived in yoga pants for too long now to ever go back. That’s a problem!

  6. I haven’t tried the Lands End Starfish pants, but I got a couple pair of their sport knit pants and I really like them. They are on the more casual side as an interlock knit, but they look nice and I’d wear them to work. And as someone with a larger tummy, I love that high-waisted styles are back in!

  7. I have a very old pair of Chico’s pants that just say “So Slimming”–I like them because they are thin fabric so not too warm indoors, and because they have belt loops. I find that ponte pants get too loose at the waist as the day goes on, and don’t stay up in the back when I sit down. A Beltaway really stops that!

  8. I still like my Moro pants from Universal Standard. Full from pockets, pintuck down the legs for a little elevation. They’re heavy pointe pull on style with zippers at the ankle. I can dress them up or dress them down with an edge.

    1. I agree. I’m at that awkward 5’5″ height with US which sometimes means their Petite length fits better (rise & length), and I have the Moro in olive green petite size L. They look great with flats and a sweater for work or slip on sneaks and a hoodie for casual. I’ll probably buy a second pair.

    2. I also love the moro pants. The only reason I haven’t yet bought another pair is that they aren’t full length on me (I’m quite tall) but I expect I will soon enough!

  9. Love Juliet pants. I have a black pair that are probably 5 years old and I can wear whether my weight is up or down. I just bought two more in great prints when they were on sale last week for $39. I have some of the JJill pant too and they are super comfortable. I find I just cannot deal with anything other than a pull on waist since covid. All I want is to be comfortable. I work in a medical setting and the Juliet pants can be dressed up or I can wear them with my Vans. They wash well and last forever. I just wish I could wear joggers to work 🙂

  10. I like the Ryan pant. The wool blend helps the look crisp, and breaths well.
    You could wear them 5 days a week with different tops/jackets and they will look great.
    They also have belt loops. There is something about me, pull-on pants that don’t give me the work look I”m after. I need a belt.

    1. Second the recommendation for Liverpool’s Kelsey! I have four pairs…they come in great colors besides the basic neutrals. They are cut very well. Although a little on the short side- I’m borderline petite and feel like they could be a bit longer.

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