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While technical difficulties and “Zoom fatigue” can result from trying to be productive at a distance, working from home has also been largely defined by what we wear. From the “Zoom shirt” to statement headbands, what you wear to the virtual office now might be very different from what you wore to work pre-pandemic. And casual comfort — think sweatshirts and leggings — reigns supreme. Pants have become an enemy of sorts for many during this new era of “pandemic dressing.” But as we head toward a post-pandemic future — with some office workers already returning to office buildings — wearing jeans, trousers and khakis could make more of a comeback. Jean sales are already on the rise, in fact.
Still, some have found comfort in dressing up for remote work in the morning. “When we ‘love’ an item or outfit that we’re wearing, it enhances our mood. We might love it for many reasons, but there is nothing inherently mood-lifting about the item itself,” explained behavioral psychologist Carolyn Mair, author of “The Psychology of Fashion.” And as the lines between professional and personal are blurred, wearing work clothes rather than workout clothes could help.
“WFH presents a particular problem because it’s hard to separate work from non-work so dressing for work when WFH makes sense if the wearer changes out of the work clothes when they stop working,” Mair said.
And now you could also be looking for comfortable work-from-home pants to replace a weekly rotation of sweatpants. To help you find the best work-from-home pants and lounge pants for men, we asked personal stylists about comfortable fabrics to consider when shopping for them, along with top rated options from retailers like Everlane, Bonobos and more.
Best fabrics for work from home pants, according to personal stylists
While the words “work pants” might make you shift in your seat, thanks to the pre-pandemic athleisure boom, men’s pants have generally become much stretchier in recent years (in the form of spandex or elastane) — even pants that lookdressy might have some stretch to them nowadays.
“Blends can often give you the best of all worlds: breathability, durability, comfort and resistance to wrinkles,” explained Jessica Cadmus, a fashion stylist based in New York City who told us she has been recommending pants made with some stretch and natural fabrics like cotton to clients working from home.
Spandex and elastane can keep pants feeling comfortable and help them maintain their shape throughout the workday, Cadmus said, noting they allow a garment to stretch, but not too much. The natural fabrics Cadmus suggested searching for include linen, wool, denim, cotton and cotton twill — these tend to breathe better than synthetics (like polyester) for men who may be prone to sweating during the day.
There are times when the head-to-toe look is important for the wearer, even if the viewer does not see it.
Joseph Rosenfeld, Personal stylist and image consultant
Cotton twill is likewise a favorite of Joseph Rosenfeld, a New York City-based personal stylist and image consultant. Rosenfeld considers it to be an alternative to denim that can handle long hours of sitting. He’s been picking out cotton twill pants for clients as it “works well for men who are used to dressing more formally to the office” and want “some sense of head-to-toe structure.” Rosenfeld also recommends wool for virtual job interviews as the fabric can help naturally wick away perspiration (which might seem surprising given wool’s known warmth).
“There are times when the head-to-toe look is important for the wearer, even if the viewer does not see it,” Rosenfeld told us.
And “business casual” pants can look different now — Cadmus pointed to the popularity of the hybrid jogger dress pant, which can feature an elastic waistband and legs that look like trousers. Brands known for their men’s workwear like Bonobos and Express offer their own versions of the style — including The WFHQ Pant and a more formal jogger in a herringbone print, respectively.
Best men’s work from home pants
Given guidance from experts, we found the best men’s pants designed to be comfortable for wearing while working from home.
Made with a combination of mostly cotton and a bit of elastane, these highly rated pants are designed to feel soft as well as stretchy. They have earned a 5-star rating from more than 84 percent of reviewers. The pant currently comes in nine colors, including Brown Coffee Bean and Asphalt Gray. You can choose between four lengths, from 28 inches to 34 inches, and waist sizes 24 inches to 44 inches. There is a Tall option that offers a longer length, which is defaulted to 36 inches long.
The Off Duty Pant is meant to be a blend of both chinos and joggers with a button closure, zip fly, elastic waistband and interior drawcord. It’s made mainly from cotton, with some elastane as well. The pant is offered in letter sizing — XS to XL — with three lengths to choose from — Short, Regular and Long. Since the pant has an elastic waist, the brand recommends those in between sizes to consider whether they want a slimmer fit (to size down) or looser fit (to size up). You can choose between nine colors — while some shades have limited availability, Sage Green and Sapling have most sizes in stock.
A part of Everlane’s Uniform collection, a line of essential basics for everyday wear, the Performance Chino currently boasts an average 4.75-star rating over close to 1,000 reviews. The pants are designed to be sweat-wicking and feature 4-way stretch, made mostly of cotton with a small percentage of elastane. These are also available in two kinds of fits — Slim and Athletic, which is meant to be roomier through the hips and thighs. In terms of sizing, Everlane offers them ranging from a 28-inch waist to a 40-inch waist. You can choose between six colors, including Slate Gray and Dark Olive.
J.Crew’s Dock Pant is made with cotton, elastane and Cordura nylon (nylon is usually used in raincoats), which is designed to make it more durable. The pant also features an elastic drawstring waistband and a zip fly. They are available in sizes XS to XXL and currently come in four colors: Submarine Blue, Dusty Red, Khaki and Frosty Olive.
These pants from Mangoare made almost completely from linen — only the pockets have a polyester and cotton lining. They feature a drawstring waistband, zipper and button closure in the front. You can choose between five colors, including Beige and Burnt Orange.
These cotton twill jogger pants are also made with some stretchy elastane. They feature an elasticized waistband and cuffs at the hem, along with an adjustable drawstring. Old Navy says these pants include its “Built-In Flex stretch technology” designed for easier movement. These pants are available in sizes XS to XXXL and two lengths, Regular and Tall. You can choose between six shades like Anchor Management and In The Navy.
The Rectrek Pant is made from Outdoor Voices’ TerraStretch fabric, which is designed with some elastane to be weather-resistant and boast 4-way stretch. The pants are slightly cropped at the hem and feature zippered pockets on the sides. They come in sizes XS to XL. Outdoor Voices currently only carries the Black color of these pants (the Bone shade is sold out), Nordstrom offers these pants in both Black and Bone.
Pact boasts its line of sustainable clothes — the company is Fair Trade certified and says these pants are made in a Fair Trade factory based in India. These pull-on pants are made from what the brand describes as a durable cotton twill — there’s some elastane in them, as well. They feature a straight leg style and an elastic waistband with a drawcord. The pants are currently available in sizes S to L, as the XXL size is sold out in all three colors, Army Green, Storm and Birch.
Where to find men’s work-from-home pants
Whether you’re looking for joggers, chinos, khakis, trousers or more, here are a few retailers — many of which are Shopping reader favorites — that offer a variety of comfortable pants to wear while working from home.
- Banana Republic
- J.Crew Factory
- Old Navy
- Vuori Clothing