15 Black Work Pants That Will Elevate Your Back-to-Office Wardrobe
If you feel like you've forgotten how to dress for working in the office, don't worry, we're a little rusty too. But if there's one essential we know to invest in, it's a good pair of black pants. This timeless bottom goes with so many different tops and jackets, can be dressed up or down, and if the style is right, can be worn outside of the office too.
"Black trousers are such a staple in a woman's wardrobe, from the office to a night out," says Dani Michelle, the celebrity stylist behind the looks of the Kardashians and Jenners. Today's pants go beyond classic slacks to leather and linen options. When researching the best black work pants, we looked for designs that are versatile, come in a wide range of sizes and lengths, and are easy to care for (meaning wrinkle-resistant and machine washable fabrics).
Without further ado, these are the best black work pants to shop now:
- Best Overall: J.Crew Kate Straight-Leg Pant in Bi-Stretch Cotton
- Best Value: Uniqlo Smart 2-Way Stretch Solid Ankle-Length Pants
- Best Wide Leg: M.M.LaFleur The Milo Jean
- Best Cropped: Aritzia Wilfred Effortless Cropped Pant
- Best Plus-Size: Eloquii The Ultimate Suit Pintuck Pant
- Best Petite: Loft Petite Straight Pants
- Best Split Hem: Reformation Fletcher Pant
- Best Skinny: J.Crew Skinny Trouser
- Best Jogger: Athleta Brooklyn Ankle Pant
- Best Wool: Everlane The '80s Italian Wool Pant
Best Overall: J.Crew Kate Straight-Leg Pant in Bi-Stretch Cotton
Best Value: Uniqlo Smart 2-Way Stretch Solid Ankle-Length Pants
Best Wide Leg: M.M.LaFleur The Milo Jean
Best Cropped: Aritzia Wilfred Effortless Cropped Pant
Best Plus-Size: Eloquii The Ultimate Suit Pintuck Pant
Best Petite: Loft Petite Straight Pants
Best Split Hem: Reformation Fletcher Pant
Best Skinny: J.Crew Skinny Trouser
Best Jogger: Athleta Brooklyn Ankle Pant
Best Wool: Everlane The '80s Italian Wool Pant
Best Leather: Aritzia Wilfred The Melina Pant
Best Paper Bag: Grace Karin Cropped Paper Bag Waist Pants
Best Shaping: Spanx The Perfect Pant, Hi-Rise Flare
Best Cargo: Superdown Willow Cargo Pant
Best for Summer: Reformation Silvie Linen Pant
What to Keep in Mind
Black pants run the gamut of being skin tight to very wide leg. While choosing a silhouette comes down to your personal preference and style, Michelle has some tips. "For loose pants, I always look for a front pleated trouser. I think the pleats help create a small waist and drop nicely around your curves," says Michelle. "For fitted pants, I like to make sure that it's tight around the thigh/knee down. What I dislike most is something not being here nor there. It should be flowy or fitted, not in-between."
Certain fabrics are better for certain seasons and occasions. Wool is a great choice for the winter when you want to stay warm and cozy, while linen is good for hot months. Faux leather is a bit more edgy and can multitask as a going out pant as well.
You also may want to look for fabrics that have some stretch, so the pants stay comfortable and retain their shape throughout the day. Wrinkle-resistant fabrics are also key. Nothing is worse than standing up from your desk to find your pants covered in unintentional wrinkles.
Unless you don't mind running to the dry cleaners every time your pants get dirty, you want to look for machine washable styles to save you time and money. Thankfully, more brands offer work clothes that can be washed at home. And depending on the label and item, you don't always have to follow the "dry clean only" instructions.
Your Questions, Answered
How do I style black work pants?
While black pants can be worn with a variety of tops, Michelle recommends considering the silhouette of the pants when choosing your top. "With a front pleat trouser, you have so much freedom. It can be a tucked in loose top, or something more fitted and let the pants take the lead on volume," says Michelle. "With fitted pants, I lean into a looser top so that I don't feel the body is overexposed, and really sit into the comfort and silhouette you're pulling off." Kendall Jenner, one of Michelle's clients, is known for sporting black trousers with vests, crop tops, cardigans, blazers, and oversized button downs.
When it comes to footwear, Michelle, who created a spring shoe edit with DSW, says you can't go wrong with a closed toe heel for the office though you can also play with contrast. "I love juxtaposition of a trouser — which is something that's normally quite dressy — with something that's simple," Michelle once told InStyle. "We've done it with anything from a white tank to a vintage T-shirt; it could be something that easy." You could even pair your black work pants with sneakers, a look that Michelle is also a fan of.