Let’s get real – choosing business attire really isn’t rocket science. Pick a top that covers your cleavage, get some heels that don’t scream hooker, and get some… nice dress pants?
Here lies the issue – choosing dress pants is no walk to the cafeteria. I’m pretty good at looking at a piece and guessing at if it is going to fit me (and how) or not, however dress pants present a whole new pot of problems and before I was a business attire pro, I often struggled with in-store purchasing decisions. To save you the same hassles that I had, refer to this guide for how to choose dress pants next time you visit the Gap.
1. Choose an all-weather material. If you’re cheap like me and you don’t really see the need in owning five pairs of black pants that all look the same, then choose one pair in a material and thickness that you will be comfortable wearing year-round. Don’t pick up a pair that’s staticky, holds in hairs, or is of a wooly material that is too thick for the summertime.
2. Tread lightly with tighter styles. If you’re short and kind of squat like I am, stay away from the tapered leg. You will simultaneously look like a piece of produce and sort of skanky. If you’re tall and skinny and you pair the pants with a looser top, you can probably get away with tighter style pants, but if you look like a normal person and you have some curves here and there, you should stick to a straight, looser leg to keep conservative. The idea is to not come home with indents in your legs from tight seams.
3. Always choose pockets. If you see a pair of pants with no pockets at all, just don’t do it. The second you take them home you will quickly realize how unflattering they are and how ridiculous you look. Instead, opt for full pockets or simply top-lined pockets on looser pants (where there is no pocket outline, but a top opening for one) which will balance out your shape.
4. Don’t forget about the hipline. We’ve been all about high-waisted for awhile, and this doesn’t end with shorts or skirts. High-waisted dress pants look great in the workplace, but if you’re trying to not stuff your wardrobe, then choose a style that sits a little above your hip bone so that you can tuck in a shirt and mimic high-waisted if necessary, but also drape a blouse over them appropriately.
5. Don’t pick something you have to stuff into. Don’t bet on losing weight before you’re going to wear your new pants – bet on wearing a belt. Choose a style that is a tiny bit larger than what you need – comfortably, so that you can sit, but not so loose that when wearing a belt, the material is visibly bunched at the top. It’s OK to wear a belt every single day – and it’s even more important to make sure every pair you purchase has belt loops, just in case.
6. Remember that you wear heels. Choose a pant length that sits directly above the top of your anklebone – this will ensure that your pants won’t be dragging too close to the ground when you wear flats but they also won’t be crop-length when you wear heels. On that note, stick away from the cropped pants… they’re pretty much unflattering on everyone, they make you look like a short middle-schooler, and c’mon, just pick one – shorts or pants?
Think slim, loose, straight, and light.