15 Black Work Pants That Will Elevate Your Back-to-Office Wardrobe

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15 Black Work Pants That Will Elevate Your Back-to-Office Wardrobe
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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:

Our Picks

Best Overall: J.Crew Kate Straight-Leg Pant in Bi-Stretch Cotton

Black Work Pants That Will Elevate Your Wardrobe
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What We Love: They are easy to care for and to style.
What We Don't Love: There are no belt loops.

Beloved by Meghan Markle, J.Crew is known for making timeless workwear pieces for all body types, and these pants are just that. The straight, slightly cropped leg is not too tight nor too loose and pairs nicely with a variety of tops and shoes. The style features the brand's signature front-perfecting pockets, which create a smooth, sculpted look. Made from responsibly grown cotton, the fabric is stretchy and breathable and can be machine washed, so you don't have to worry about racking up a hefty dry cleaning bill. They come in regular, tall, and petite sizing meaning no hemming is required.

Size Range: 00-24, tall and petite available | Materials: Cotton, Viscose, Elastane | Rise: High

Best Value: Uniqlo Smart 2-Way Stretch Solid Ankle-Length Pants

Black Work Pants That Will Elevate Your Wardrobe
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What We Love: They are affordable and hold up through many washes.
What We Don't Love: They tend to sell out.

I personally love Uniqlo for their affordable pieces that feel high quality and last forever (I've been wearing the same pair of wide leg pants from them for the last five years). These simple pants give you the sophistication of a straight-leg, pleated trouser. The fabric is stretchy, wrinkle resistant, and machine washable. There's also a hidden elastic waistband for extra comfort.

Size Range: XXS-XXL | Materials: 65% Polyester, 31% Rayon, 4% Spandex | Rise: High

Best Wide Leg: M.M.LaFleur The Milo Jean

M.M.LaFleur The Milo Jean
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What We Love: They are technically jeans but they look polished like trousers.
What We Don't Love: They run large.

If you prefer jeans over pants, check out this "Better Than Denim" style from M.M.LaFleur. Though these pants are technically jeans, the wide silhouette and brushed denim make them look just as polished as trousers. The Turkish two-way stretch cotton is stretchy and comfortable, which is ideal when sitting in the office all day. For anyone that has started their workday with perfectly crisp pants only to walk out with wrinkles, you will rejoice knowing these pants are wrinkle-resistant. And we can't get over the concealed snap in the hem that lets you adjust the length of the pants. You can hem them for flats during the day and roll them down when wearing heels to happy hour.

Size Range: 0P-18 | Materials: 96% Cotton, 4% Elastane | Rise: High

Related: The Best Jeans for Women

Best Cropped: Aritzia Wilfred Effortless Cropped Pant

Aritzia Wilfred Effortless Cropped Pant
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What We Love: It features a wide leg, drapey fabric, and multiple inseams.
What We Don't Love: The crepe fabric is delicate and may snag easily.

Cropped pants are the best way to show off your shoes, and they work all year round, whether you pair them with boots or sandals. The wide leg in this style balances out your hips and gives off a flirty vibe while the knife pleats keep it polished. Made from crepette, a drapey, crepe fabric with a matte finish, these pants are super comfortable and look more expensive than they are. Those that are tall or short know that "cropped" pants can turn out either too short or long, so Aritzia offers this style in regular, tall, and short inseams for your true cropped fit.

Pair With: A green pump adds a pop of color to your ensemble.

Size Range: 00-16, tall and short available | Materials: 100% Polyester | Rise: High

Best Plus-Size: Eloquii The Ultimate Suit Pintuck Pant

Black Work Pants That Will Elevate Your Wardrobe
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What We Love: They hug your curves without gapping at the waist.
What We Don't Love: There are no belt hoops.

Mean business in these sharp pintuck pants from Eloquii. Customers say that the fit seems custom-made, hugging all their curves without gapping at the waist. The stretchy fabric has a nice thickness to it that feels high quality, not bulky. Hitting just at the ankle, you can shop this style in regular, short, and a tall length.

Size Range: 14-32, tall and short available | Materials: 66% Rayon, 25% Nylon, 9% Spandex | Rise: Mid

Best Petite: Loft Petite Straight Pants

Loft Petite Straight Pants
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What We Love: They hit shorter figures right at the ankles and don't go up too high.
What We Don't Love: Black is the only color available.

Anyone who is 5'4" or under (hello, me!) knows that shopping for work pants can be a nightmare. Loft makes it easier though with their petite section, which is popular among shorter celebrities like Kristen Bell. Their work pants do not disappoint, and this style is our favorite. The straight leg silhouette hugs the hips and thighs. You also get slimming interior stretch pockets for handy storage. Coming in curvy petite sizes as well, Loft gets the proportions just right. Our only complaint? That Loft doesn't make this amazing fitting pant in other colors.

Size Range: 00-18 | Materials: 52% Cotton, 45% Polyester, 3% Elastane | Rise: High

Related: The Best Petite Clothing Stores

Best Split Hem: Reformation Fletcher Pant

Reformation Fletcher Pant
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What We Love: They strike the right balance of sexy yet sophisticated.
What We Don't Love: You can't throw these in the washer.

Slit pants are all the rage recently, and while they are very fitting for the dance floor, this pair from Reformation is classy enough to still wear to work. The pants have a straight fit and a short split hem that shows off just the right amount of skin. What is the point of having a slit in your pants, you ask? It's great at showcasing your footwear, whether that's a heel, boot, or sneaker. Crafted in Los Angeles, these pants were made with less water and carbon dioxide waste. Do note though that it's recommended you hand wash them. Did we mention they also come in petite sizing?

Pair With: The slit perfectly shows off the studs on these strappy pumps.

Size Range: XS-XL, petite available | Materials: 97% Micro Modal, 3% Spandex | Rise: High

Best Skinny: J.Crew Skinny Trouser

J.Crew Skinny Trouser
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What We Love: The soft fabric feels just like your favorite leggings.
What We Don't Love: They run small.

Think of these pants like your favorite black leggings or skinny jeans, just a tad more elevated. Just like skinnies, you can pair these trousers with heels, tuck them into knee-high boots, or go off-duty with some combat boots. The Italian ponte material offers just the right amount of structure and softness. They come in regular, petite, and tall sizing.

Size Range: 00-16, tall and petite available | Materials: Viscose, Polyamide, Elastane | Rise: High

Best Jogger: Athleta Brooklyn Ankle Pant

Athleta Brooklyn Ankle Pant
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What We Love: There are two zip pockets to hold valuables.
What We Don't Love: The sizing can be inconsistent.

Maybe you're going to work on a casual Friday or traveling for a business trip, but when you want pants that are a little more casual, these joggers from Athleta fit the bill. Made from recycled polyester, the pants are super stretchy and lightweight, yet the tapered leg can be dressed up or down. They are perfect for traveling because they are packable, wrinkle-resistant, and offer UPF 50+, protecting your skin when running around a city. Plus two zip pockets let you store any essentials safely. Simply tuck a white top or bodysuit inside the rib knit waistband for a quick, put-together look.

Size Range: 00-26, tall and petite available | Materials: Recycled Polyester, Spandex | Rise: High

Best Wool: Everlane The '80s Italian Wool Pant

Everlane The ’80s Italian Wool Pant
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What We Love: The relaxed cut and wide leg feels very '80s chic.
What We Don't Love: You have to dry clean these.

Not only does wool have an elegance to it that's perfect for the office, but it's breathable, wrinkle-resistant, and helps you regulate your temperature no matter if it's hot or cold. You can enjoy all the benefits of the fabric in Everlane's reasonably priced option. The relaxed, wide-leg cut lets you channel '80s power dressing as part of the decade's comeback. The wool is sourced from an Italian mill and has a bit of elastane mixed in for added stretch and comfort. Throw on an oversized blazer for a borrowed-from-the-boys look.

Pair With: Everlane's matching Italian Wool Blazer.

Size Range: 00-16 | Materials: 98% Wool, 2% Elastane | Rise: High

Best Leather: Aritzia Wilfred The Melina Pant

Aritzia Wilfred The Melina Pant
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What We Love: You can wear them to the office and keep them on for post-work dinner and drinks.
What We Don't Love: They run small.

Leather pants are beloved by the entire Kardashian-Jenner clan and while they are great for going out, they can be a fierce variation on black work pants too. With its straight leg, high-rise, and subtle sheen, Aritzia's vegan version is as appropriate in the office as at the bar. Designed like jeans, the pants have five-pocket styling, including wide set back pockets that give some oomph to your backside.

Need some outfit inspiration? Take a cue from celebrity stylist Solange Franklin. "If you gravitate towards softer, more romantic styles, I recommend pairing your leather pants with something more feminine, like a floral blouse," says Franklin. "If your look is more preppy, leather pants are the perfect edgy complement to an oversized white button up."

Size Range: 00-16, tall and petite available | Materials: 100% Polyurethane; Interior: 100% Polyester | Rise: High

Related: The Best Chunky Loafers

Best Paper Bag: Grace Karin Cropped Paper Bag Waist Pants

Grace Karin Cropped Paper Bag Waist Pants
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What We Love: The stretchy material is super comfortable.
What We Don't Love: They run small.

The best part about paper bag pants? They are secretly extremely comfy. In fact, these pants feel like yoga pants with their stretchy material. Reviewers say the design is great for bigger behinds as the loose leg fits your curves and the tie front highlights your waist. Celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Lupita Nyong'o are fans of the pant style and demonstrate how it goes with just about anything, from cropped sweaters to lacy camisoles to a plain tee. With more than 30 colors beyond black, you'll be tempted to stock up on a few shades.

Size Range: XS-3X | Materials: 95% Polyester, 5% Spandex | Rise: High

Best Shaping: Spanx The Perfect Pant, Hi-Rise Flare

Spanx The Perfect Pant, Hi-Rise Flare
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What We Love: You won't need extra shapewear with these slimming flares.
What We Don't Love: They don't have pockets.

You know Spanx for its iconic shapewear, and with their Perfect Pant, you can harness all their shaping power in a stylish pant. These might fool you as leggings with their comfy pull on design and four-way stretch ponte fabric, but the pleat down the middle and flare leg is dressier. The pants smooth your middle with their high rise and hidden stomach shaping. Toss on some high heels or heeled boots and it'll look like you have legs for days.

Pair With: A metallic bootie for comfortable height.

Size Range: XS-3X, tall and petite available | Materials: 68% Rayon, 28% Nylon, 4% Elastane| Rise: High

Best Cargo: Superdown Willow Cargo Pant

Superdown Willow Cargo Pant
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What We Love: The corduroy fabric is unique and very on trend.
What We Don't Love: They run short.

Say "cargo pants" and you may have visions of 2000s Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne dancing in your head. But like with most Y2K trends, celebrities are bringing the pants back with a modern twist. Take this style from Superdown for example. The sleek silhouette doesn't have too many pockets to become overwhelming and the corduroy fabric is a little more dressy. Not to mention that corduroy pants are also trending, so you get to check off two trends at once. Score.

Size Range: XXS-XL | Materials: 95% Polyester, 5% Spandex | Rise: Low

Best for Summer: Reformation Silvie Linen Pant

Black Work Pants That Will Elevate Your Wardrobe
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What We Love: They don't look super beachy as most linen pants do.
What We Don't Love: Linen wrinkles easily.

If you work in an office where you have to wear pants even in the hot summer, a linen style will keep you covered and cool. The fabric is loosely woven, so it's very breathable and lightweight, making it one of our writer's favorite summer fabrics. This style from Reformation is 100 percent linen, so you won't sweat during your commute or freeze inside your air conditioned office. We like how this pant has a structured flare leg and piping down the middle, so it doesn't give off full-on vacation vibes. Note that linen does tend to wrinkle, but like our writer says, that's part of the charm.

Size Range: 0-12 | Materials: 100% Linen | Rise: High

What to Keep in Mind

Silhouette

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."

Material

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.

Care

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.

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