During the coronavirus lockdown, sweatpants became the new corporate uniform. Fashion editors and influencers alike espoused the look, as #businessontop took over our “Working From Home” new normal, especially perfect for video conference calls and the intense juggling of career and parenting.
As we slowly begin to venture back out into the workplace — complete with physical distancing, staggered work schedules, and yes, probably even more working from home — it’s time to raise the wardrobe bar a couple of notches. Grab a pair of lightweight pants— yes, actual pants— to ease back into corporate style. Many of today’s offerings are impressive when it comes to tech-features, offering fibers and fabrics that make them as comfortable as those sweatpants; including stretch, lighter weights, and moisture-wicking properties, perfect for summer’s heat and humidity.
Many offer soil and stain resistance, great for mishaps when making the kids’ lunch or spilling a frozen cocktail. Maybe best of all they have an actual waistband, pockets, and belt loops, so you’ll feel like sitting a little taller in that chair, ready to take on our newly challenging world with aplomb. Here are a few lightweight, trousers that we like for the rest of summer 2020; that will easily take you into fall.
Rye 51 Voyager Pant
The Voyager offers a trim fit, similar to your favorite pair of jeans, complete with “intelligent moisture management technology,” and anti-static properties. We also really like the pant’s hidden pockets; one is in the back, just below the waistband to stash your phone without ruining your — ahem — rear view, while the other sits just above the front pocket, perfect for a credit card (for contactless shopping) or commuting pass (remember those?). The style comes in khaki, gray, charcoal, black, or light blue; but we like this bright navy because it translates nicely into fall 2020’s brighter color palette.
Nicestuff Knit Stretch Pant
We really like Nicestuff’s flat-front, dress pant styling. Their sturdy knit construction features a wrinkle-resistant stretch fiber blend fabric that offers three-season comfort (they might be a bit chilly for those colder winter days). The back features two clean-looking welt pockets, and a stretch waistband for added freedom. The tailored fit will look like you’re wearing your best dress pants, but nobody needs to know you feel like you’re wearing your coziest sweats. Available in navy and charcoal heather, there’s also a matching knit blazer for each.
Tommy Bahama Island Zone Oxford Flat-Front Pants
An easy, great-looking solution for everything from the office to the bar to the golf course, Island Zone pants are made from a four-way polyester stretch for comfort, but also feature cooling, cling-free fabric and ultraviolet protection. They feature a hidden zipper pocket and one hidden welt front pocket, as well as a back knee seam to offer even more ease of movement. This style comes in light blue and pale gray; but other subtle variations get into navy and khaki color stories.
Vuori Meta Pant
Designed as a commuter pant, the Meta is also great if the commute is from your bedroom to your kitchen table. Features include moisture-wicking, anti-odor treatments, and ultraviolet protection, as well as a tapered fit and a secure zippered back pocket. They’re also quick-drying should you get stuck in a downpour or just have an accident with the backyard sprinkler. Choose from black, charcoal, or navy.
Rhone Printed Commuter Five Pocket
These Rhone pants are going to have you replacing your traditional denim jeans. The classic five-pocket, slim-cut style features FlexKnit stretch fabric, printed to look like classic jeans. You can wear these as much for a run as for a hard day’s work. The style is available in a classic blue indigo hue as well as slate green/driftwood shade more evocative of your favorite khakis. Rhone’s classic commuter also comes in stone, iron, and navy, but doesn’t offer the same denim-like depth of color.
Duer Live Lite Relaxed Taper Pant
Duer got its start by bridging the gap between function and fashion, making, among other things, a pair of jeans with a gusset and enough stretch you could practically wear them for a workout; but for sure they are great for a bicycle or skateboard commute. The brand’s Live Lite program offers that same flexibility in lightweight, breathable, anti-bacterial, high-stretch fabrics, which now have even more natural fibers for comfort. The pants feature great shape retention and temperature regulation.
Lululemon Commission Slim Ventlight Mesh Pant
Lululemon offers its version of a classic chino pant, designed for the guys who have been keeping up with their workouts as much as their work during lockdown. The classic, if slim-fit, styling features Ventlight Mesh fabric, offering stretch, wicking, quick-drying, “No-Stink Zinc” finish, and breathability. Lulu’s all-important anti-ball-crushing technology makes them super comfortable for just about any acitivity. An inseam side-zipper offers a secret stash for keys or other valuables, while hidden shapes keep the back pockets from gaping. Wearing for an evening commute? Flip the cuffs for reflective details.
Uniqlo Ezy Dry-Ex Ultra Stretch Ankle-Length Pants
At 40 bucks, these pants are even cheaper than some sweats! They feature Uniqlo’s Dry-Ex material to keep things nice and dry through hot, humid summer temps in a comfortable, tapered fit. Despite a classic snap and fly closure, there is also a drawstring — just in case you are really missing those sweatpants — as well as elastic for an easy fit.
Bonobos Stretch Washed Chinos
Bonobos loves a good fit, and these lightweight trousers may offer more options than any others we’ve featured here, in more than 25 colors. Choose Skinny, Tailored, Slim, Athletic, or Straight fits from this cotton and Lycra blend stretch twill. They’ve got a curved waistband for a nice, easy fit, too. Go for this “lime twist” hue to lighten the mood, calm them down a bit with a classic navy blazer and a simple white shirt, or wear ‘em with an equally bright tropical print shirt for easy summer days.
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