Ask Belle: Pants for a Casual Office

Oct 26, 2015

Hi Belle,

My new office dress code does not allow for jeans (black denim is ok, but that feels too 90s soccer mom to me).  I can’t get on board with wearing skirts 100% of the time in winter.  Do you have recommendations for pants that work for recess, but keep me away from the dreaded blue denim?

Thanks! SK

I actually like black denim.  It can look really sleek and modern if styled correctly.  My favorite pair are the AG Farrah, they fit like a glove and give you a little nip and tuck, too.  If you want a pair for under-$100, try Blank Denim.

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BR Factory Wide Leg Pant ($69)

Wide leg pants are coming back into style this season.  Banana Republic has this cool trousers in burgundy.  I also like these peacock-hued pants from J.Crew.  These black Vince Camuto pants are a nice option.

For something more casual, I’ve been searching for a pair of olive-colored chinos.  These pants are the closest I’ve come to finding what I’m looking for.  I like the idea of them with an ivory cashmere sweater and a cognac high heel boot.

If you like skinny trousers, the Chelsea pants from Boden come in a variety of colors.  The Marisa fit pencil pants from LOFT are a great basic.

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  1. Pancakes says:

    I can’t even picture how black denim = 90s mom. If anything, it can look hipster or rocker/grunge/moto.

  2. Sam says:

    I’m looking for casual-ish, colored pants as well but can’t find anything with a mid-rise and straight leg. Loft’s sizing is so inconsistent, I’ve given up on them. Just bought some pants from Limited and couldn’t even close them. My energy is waning.

    Any ideas for narrow-hipped gals??

  3. AB says:

    I know that there are a lot of mixed feelings about J.Crew on this blog (including from me), but I love J.Crew Factory’s Frankie chino pants. They fit well, are more comfortable than even my favorite blue jeans (blasphemy, I know!) and especially if you hit one of Factory’s “sales” you can pick them up for $30-40 a pair — while they’ve so far worn and washed really well, the lower price point makes me feel a little better if they fall apart within the year. They are my go-to pants for recess weeks. Right now they come in four colors, but earlier this year they also were selling them in black, olive, mint, and a few other colors (full disclosure: I bought nearly all of them). Highly recommend: https://factory.jcrew.com/womens_special_sizes/extendedsizes/PRDOVR~08621/08621.jsp

  4. heatherskib says:

    So happy that wide legs are back! They are definitely the most flattering cut for my chunky thighs

  5. Erin says:

    Belle – any suggestions on styling wide leg pants? Thanks!

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