The 9 Best Leggings for Work in 2021

Comfy alternatives to dress pants

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Leggings can be a great alternative to wearing uncomfortable trousers or stiff slacks to the office. But not all leggings are created alike. Whether you want to be comfortable yet polished for that big presentation or need a versatile pair to wear while working from home, here are the best leggings for every style, budget, and body type.

Best Overall: Uniqlo Ultra Stretch Denim Leggings

Uniqlo Women Ultra Stretch Denim Cropped Leggings Pants

Uniqlo

Uniqlo's Denim Cropped Leggings are perfect for casual Fridays at work or as a sleek alternative to sweatpants when working from home. Made from 100 percent cotton and with three shades of denim to choose from, they have the look of skinny jeans but without any of the stiffness. 

Better yet, they’re available in a wide range of sizes from XXS to XXL. The added DRY technology makes the leggings easier to dry after washing them, too. With button closure, a fly, pockets, and belt loops, these pants have the look and feel of classic denim jeans as opposed to a true legging.

Best Plus-Size: Universal Standard Roya Leggings

Universal Standard Roya Leggings

For plus-size women, finding flattering yet comfortable leggings can be a challenge. Universal Standard’s Roya Leggings are made in various sizes from 4XS (00-0) up to 4XL (38-40). There’s even a choice of inseam lengths, either at 23 or 27 inches, making these leggings appealing to short and tall women alike.

Made from a rare combination of Pima Cotton, Modal, and spandex, the leggings have an exceptionally soft feeling and won’t pile easily (meaning, they don't need to be replaced as often). So, even if these pants are slightly above your budget, their high quality makes them worth the investment.

With a high waist and a waistband designed not to roll, you also won’t have to worry about adjusting your leggings throughout the day, which can be inconvenient while sitting at your desk.

Related: The Best Women's Dress Pants

Best Cropped: Loft Velvet Kick Crop Leggings

Velvet Kick Crop Leggings

Courtesy of The Loft

If you’re looking for leggings that easily transition between day and night, consider this velvety pair from Loft. These versatile, high-waisted pants can be dressed up or down for a myriad of occasions, whether you’re at the office, working from home, or running errands. They’re an understated, fitted cropped pair of pants with a slight flare, which makes them classier than more casual leggings.

These leggings are made from a combination of polyester and spandex with an elasticized waist, meaning they're machine washable and extra stretchy for maximum comfort. They’re also available in sizes from XS to XL.

Best for Maternity: Spanx Seamless Leggings

Mama Look At Me Now Seamless Leggings

Courtesy of The Spanx

For expecting mothers looking for comfortable work attire, these Spanx leggings are your best bet. Made from nylon, spandex, and elastane, the leggings have just the right amount of thickness so they’re not see-through. 

Additionally, they’re constructed with a waistband that fits over your bump and is designed to grow with you. The waistband smooths so that any lumps won’t show while keeping you supported before, during, and after pregnancy. The leggings are available in a wide range of sizes from XS to 3X in black or navy.

Best Alternative: Athleta Wander Stash Skinny Pant

Wander Stash Skinny Pant

Courtesy of Athleta

When you want to throw something on while still looking work appropriate, these pants from Athleta are the perfect pair. Made from nylon and spandex, they're made for busy workers and commuters.

These pants come with two pockets in the front and on the side, in addition to two back zippers for personal items. For those who aren't fans of high-waisted pants, this pair comes up to just below your natural waistline while the leg tapers down to the ankle for a more professional look. Constructed of Athleta’s patented fabric, these pants won’t rip or tear easily, which makes them machine washable and extra durable. They also come in peat, abalone grey, and black and are available in sizes 0 to 16.

Related: The Best Women's Suits

Best for Petites: Two by Vince Camuto Seamed Back Leggings

Two by Vince Camuto Seamed Back Leggings

Many petite women may often find leggings too long for their stature. Enter the Two by Vince Camuto Leggings: Available in petite XXS to XL, as well as XXS in regular length, these are a great pair of pants to wear at the office or even while working from home.

And, while some leggings run the risk of looking too sheer, these pants' rich black fabric is made from a blend of viscose, nylon, and spandex that's perfectly opaque. One great detail in the design is the seam, which runs from the waist to the hem. Not only does it add sophistication, but it also gives petite women the illusion of a longer body.

Best Budget: A New Day High Waist Ponte Leggings

A New Day Women's Ponte Waistband Leggings

Made with a blend of rayon, polyester, and spandex, these Ponte waistband leggings easily fit into any budget without skipping out on fabric opacity. Available from sizes small to 1X, they feature a high waist that’s truly flattering for most women. Best for less formal office settings, these versatile leggings can be worn with most business casual tops or a long blazer. But, if you’re working from home, they go just as well with your favorite sweatshirt or tank top.  

The ankle-length hem also makes these pants wearable with all kinds of shoes, from boots to flats or even a pair of trendy pointy-toed pumps.

Best High-Waisted: Ideology High-Waist Pocket Leggings

Ideology High-Waist Pocket Leggings

High-waisted leggings are a comfortable, yet flattering option and the Ideology Pocket Leggings are not only body-enhancing, but they can also be worn from the office straight to the gym.

Best of all, these leggings feature a hidden pocket in the back of the waistband. While large enough to fit a smartphone, it's great for stashing your locker room key, whether you're running on the treadmill or enjoying a yoga class

Available in sizes XS to XL, you'll also feel good wearing these leggings as they're sustainably made from a blend of 44 percent recycled polyester and spandex. This also allows for a truly flexible fabric material.

Related: The Best Work-From-Home Clothes

Best for Sizing: J. Crew Any Day Pant

J. Crew Any Day Pant In Stretch Ponte

With a rise that sits just above the hip, J. Crew's Any Day Pant is a classic, work wardrobe staple. The pants also win points for size and fit inclusivity—regular sizes run from XXS to 3X, petite sizes are made in XXS to large, while tall sizes are available from XS to XXL.

Unlike activewear leggings, this pair has a bit of structure, made from a blend of rayon, nylon, and spandex. And though they look sleek for the office, they’re still comfortable and flexible. In addition to black, these work leggings are available in navy blue and heather charcoal for more casual looks. Note that most customers found that the pants run a bit small.

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 SMB.