The 9 Best Women's Dress Pants of 2021
Find the perfect pair for your workweek wardrobe
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Finding the right pair of dress pants that reflect your style, yet also looks flattering, can be challenging for some women. Then there’s the comfort factor. Whether you're looking for appropriate work pants or pants for a more polished look on the weekends, here are the best women's dress pants to consider—no matter your size, body type, or budget.
Best Overall: Old Navy Mid-Rise Boot-Cut Khakis
Although these Old Navy pants are marketed as khakis, they’re available in five colors including Black Jack, Classic Navy, Blank Slate (grey), Crumb On Down (dark khaki), and Rolled Oats (light khaki). With faux pockets in the back and front slant pockets, these medium-weight stretch twill pants are a great wardrobe basic that won’t cost your entire paycheck. They’re made from a machine washable blend of cotton and spandex, saving you more money from going to the dry cleaners.
An ideal office staple, these dress pants compliment most blazers and button-downs. The mid-rise waist, front button closure, zip fly, and bootcut hem flatters most body types. Even more, they’re available in regular, petite, and tall from sizes 0 to 20.
Best Ankle Pants: Vince Camuto Ponte Ankle Pants
Opt for these Vince Camuto Pants if you like the look of ankle pants or you’re a petite size. Polished and professional, they’re the right choice for most offices and work environments. Pair these black dress pants with more formal pieces and accessories to more casual looks.
The one drawback of these pants is that they’re made from a blend of fabrics (including rayon, nylon, and polyester) that tend to pile up. So, while they are labeled as machine washable, it’s better to have them dry-cleaned if you want them to last. Still, at an affordable price, you won’t regret it if you only get a few seasons from them.
Best Plus-Size: Eloquii Kady Fit Double-Weave Pant
Made of a combination of cotton, nylon, and spandex, Eloquii’s Kady Fit Double-Weave Pants are the brand’s top seller. Machine washable and available in 14 different colors, choose from basics like Classic Navy, Black, and Espresso Brown or more unique colors like Marigold, Festival Fuchsia, and Sparkling Grape.
Thanks to a classic cut, these dress slacks are figure-flattering, defining both the waist and hips. Four pockets (two in the front and two in the back) add a touch of detail and convenience. The hook and bar closure hides a button at the waist, making them easy to put on and take off. All in all, these are great everyday pants that can take you from the office to happy hour. Available in sizes 14 to 28, there are also three different hem lengths (short, regular, and long), ensuring a perfect fit for every woman.
Best Splurge: M.M. Lafleur Foster Pants
Flattering on most figures and versatile enough for all occasions, M.M. Lafleur’s Foster Pants are available in petite, regular, and plus sizes. Choose from seven colors: Black, Dark Navy, Dark Olive, Dark Spruce, Monsoon (grey), Russet (tan), and Starry Night (bright blue). These straight-leg cigarette pants are made from a thick Italian cotton blend fabric that provides enough stretch to hug curves, yet are structured and professional enough for the office.
Designed for maximum versatility, there’s a concealed button at the bottom of each leg that allows you to change the length of the hem in seconds, from full-length to cropped. This also makes it possible to wear them with flats and heals in a variety of heights. Best of all, these women's dress pants are machine-washable—just set the washing machine to cold and hang dry.
Best Side-Zip: Everlane The Side-Zip Work Pant
If you prefer a side-zip, you can’t go wrong with Everlane’s The Side-Zip Work Pant. Versatile and affordable, there are seven styles and colors available from Black and Navy to Coca Brown and Shale Houndstooth prints. With a range of sizes from 00 to 16 in regular and ankle lengths, these pants are useful for all occasions from work to date night.
Made of four-way stretch cotton, the pants' high waist and skinny cut give the body a sleek look, while the back seam detail helps lengthen the legs. With a hem that’s cut right above the ankle, you can wear any kind of shoe with these pants from ballet flats and loafers to pumps and kitten heels. Though there aren’t belt-loops, there’s still enough room to tuck in shirts made from thinner fabrics.
Related: The Best Women's Suits
Best for Comfort: NYDJ Linen Blend Pants
While most linen pants tend to be wide-legged and wrinkle easily, these linen-blend pants from NYDJ are a flattering and stylish choice. And, unlike 100 percent linen pants, they’re machine washable. Plus, these pants are easy to move around in, yet cut to slim, support, and lift the body.
With several color and style options, including classic Black and Straw, Optic White, Agua Stripe, and Slubby Stripe are also great for spring and summer. All in all, they're just as useful for work as they are for the weekends and vacations. As for sizing, these pants are very inclusive with regular sizes available from 00 to 12 and sizes 14 to 18 for plus.
Related: The Best Leggings for Work
Most Stylish: Reformation Mason Pant
If style is your top priority, opt for the Mason Pant from Reformation. With a high rise slim waist, these pants are just as comfortable as they are chic. The relaxed leg makes them easy to move in, yet provides a more formal silhouette. While there are only two color options (black and khaki), they’re both versatile enough to work with a variety of tops.
Available in sizes 0 to 12 regular and petite, they’re made from 100 percent Tencel Lyocell, which is a soft, lightweight material that comes from the Eucalyptus trees. Sustainably manufactured in Los Angeles, it only takes half an acre of these trees to make one ton of fiber. Note that these pants should be hand-washed.
Best for Tall Women: Reformation Avalon Pant
If you’re looking for a sophisticated, everyday option, consider these high-rise pants from Reformation. With a 28.3-inch inseam, the sustainably-made dress pants offer a slim fit that is comfortable yet stylish. These pants have a longer rise than most other pants to accommodate hips or curvier figures, along with a paper-bag waist, ankle ties, and a detachable belt. Available in sizes 0 to 12, they also come in petite sizes. Note that it's recommended to hand wash these pants.
Related: The Best Work-From-Home Clothes
Best Pull-On: Everlane The Easy Straight Leg Chino
Although they are more on the casual side, don’t sleep on these chino pants from Everlane. A version of their best-selling chino pants, the Easy Straight Leg Chino offers a relaxed fit that you can throw on after rolling out of bed without looking like you did exactly that.
They are made from a lightweight cotton-twill blend, which means it’s more breathable (read: less sweat) than traditional cotton. With sizes 00 to 16 available, these machine-washable pants feature an elastic waistband and a straight-leg hem design.
Old Navy’s Khakis (view on Old Navy) are the best overall women's dress pants because of their universal appeal and affordable price point. These pants are made of 97 percent cotton and, with their mid-rise bootcut design, they'll fit a variety of styles. For more inclusive sizing, a great option is Eloquii’s Kady Fit Pants (view on Eloquii). Made from a tailored double-weave material, these pants keep their shape all day long. They're also fitted to flatter your hips and curves.
What are the different styles of dress pants?
Dress pants come in a variety of styles, silhouettes, colors, sizes, and patterns. Along with the tried-and-true classic straight pant, there are styles like chino, maxi, flare, paper-bag, and high-waisted pants to choose from. In terms of color, you can go for traditional hues like black, navy, or gray, or, make a statement with colors like mustard yellow, olive green, or hot pink.
What are the best brands for dress pants?
Brands like Banana Republic and Everlane are go-to options as they're a dependable resource for classic, affordable work clothes. A few other places to consider are Reformation and Madewell for their environmentally-friendly practices. Target and Uniqlo are great budget-friendly choices, while Express, H&M, ASOS, and Zara lean more towards trendy styles.
How should my dress pants fit?
While trying on dress pants, you'll want to look out for details such as creasing in the crotch (usually a sign that the seat of the pants is either too long or too tight), how they fit around the waist, where the waistband rests, leg length, and how the fabric drapes. Of course, take these considerations in mind according to your body type; some pants might need to be tailored at the waist and have correct measurements for your hip, thighs, waist, and legs.
What's the best fabric for dress pants?
Cotton is one of the more popular choices, especially for casual styles, as it's a breathable, natural fabric that stays cool. Other widely used fabrics are knit, silk, spandex, wool, and synthetic blends such as nylon, rayon, and polyester. Keep in mind, though, that quality can vary dramatically depending on where you shop. As well, synthetic fabrics are less susceptible to short-term wear and tear.
Meet the Expert
This roundup was written by Amanda Lauren, a lifestyle writer who covers fashion and office accessories for The Balance and The Balance Small Business.