Seven pairs of pants to wear instead of jeans

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My promise to myself to never wear jeans again is six-years strong. Sure, the wide-leg resurgence of the last few years, including a few sweatpants quarantined years, made it easier, but the 2017 and 2018 timeframe was a tough one. When everyone around me was suctioning themselves into denim leggings I made the choice to be difficult, to never squeeze myself into uncomfortable clothes again.

Part of this decision comes from having sensitive skin. Nothing feels more irritating than rough denim. Just thinking about a stiff pair of jeans out of the dryer makes me sweat. But part of it was just an unwillingness to be distressed for a fashion trend, to feel uncomfortable in my skin to look like store mannequins. The options used to be slim, with your classic “work pants” or sweats and few between. For a while everything I bought was ordered specialty and tailored.

Finally, though, trends turned and more options went mainstream, more widely available and cheaper. Today everyone from fast fashion sites to boutique houses has at least a few non-denim bottoms for a myriad of styles, be it slacks, straight leg or upscale legging styles. These are just a few choices…

Anthropologie Corey Lynn Calter Wide-Leg Satin Pants
Anthropologie Corey Lynn Calter Wide-Leg Satin Pants

Anthropologie Corey Lynn Calter Wide-Leg Satin Pants, $160.

The color, the swoosh, the wide leg. Everything about this pair of pants feels opulent. They can be styled with a simple tee, a button-down for the office or a blazer and tank for a night out.

Mango Wool Suit Pants, $50

A suit pant can be dressed down for any occasion, not just the office. And the bright green shade of these takes them from office wear to dinner. And the price can’t be beat.

UNIQLO Satin Drape Straight Pants
UNIQLO Satin Drape Straight Pants

UNIQLO Satin Drape Straight Pants. $25.

These are as close to pajamas as you’re going to get. An elastic waistband makes these accessible to many body shapes and sizes, and the color offerings are simple, but punchy. The best part about these pants is that they are truly both home and going out clothing.

J.Crew Pixie pant in stretch ponte, $98.

Ponte pants are everywhere, and for good reason. The fabric is relaxed and stretchy, but not squeezing, like a thick legging that gives a little more support and comfort. This J.Crew version is a nice slim-leg choice, but there are multiple wide-leg versions of this fabric, too.

Everlane The Dream Pant, $88.

While everyone else was pulling themselves into Everlane’s high waist jeans, I was cozy in the aptly named dream pant, a soft ponte-like trouser with a delicate pintuck that is as close to sweatpants as you can get, without wearing sweatpants.

Waffle Knit Joggers by Negative
Waffle Knit Joggers by Negative

Negative Waffle Knit Jogger, $140.

Speaking of sweatpants, this pair by luxury underwear brand Negative feels like underwear itself. The waffle knit gives them a sharp look a bit streetwear-ish and with a button-down and cap they’re great for the weekend.

Eileen Fisher Boiled Wool Jersey Pleated Lantern Pant, $228.

Pleated, relaxed leg and mid-waist, these are very easy pants to wear for multiple styles and preferences. They are only offered in black, but come in a wide range of sizes, from xs petite to 3x.