The Ultimate Guide to Black Work Pants

Do you guys remember how last month I wrote a very gung-ho post about embarking on a #slowfashionsummer no-buy experiment, where I don’t buy any new clothes until September because I am an extremely talented minimalist and already have everything I need?

Yeah, well, that all kind of crashed and burned this week when I pulled my black work pants out of the dryer to discover a sizable rip in the crotch. After over four years of dedicated service to my wardrobe (and a wear count that almost certainly exceeds 100), my beloved work pants gave up the ghost. And while normally I think it’s really important to mend clothing rather than get rid of it at the first sign of wear, these were not of particularly great quality to begin with, and the rip was just the nail in the coffin after several months of other, unmendable deterioration.

Of course, my first reaction to their demise was that I really wanted new pants. The black work pant is a pretty essential part of my wardrobe and I wore that particular pair 1-2 times per week, every week. I knew that they were close to the end of their life, and if I’m being honest, I was looking forward to the day when I could finally say goodbye and get a new pair. While it was important to me to own this pair of pants for as long as possible, my style has changed so much since I bought them, and I know that the rise is too low, the fit is too tight, and the fabric isn’t quite professional-looking enough for my current needs.

In short, I couldn’t wait for this day to come. I just wasn’t expecting it to come during a time when I committed myself to not buying clothes.

On one hand, there are a lot of ways for me to justify buying new pants right now. Those pants lived a full life and I’ve gotten all the wear out of them that I can. It’s okay to buy new clothes if I’m replacing something that I wear all the time and kind of need for my job. If I buy it second hand, it doesn’t technically count as new.

I can say (and have said) all these things to myself in the last few days, but I still feel a nagging sense of discomfort when I think about replacing my pants right now.

When I signed up for the Slow Fashion Summer challenge, I did it because I wanted to practice reducing my overall rate of consumption in an intentional, disciplined way. It’s easy for me to not buy clothes too frequently because we just don’t have very much disposable income right now, but the Slow Fashion Summer project isn’t supposed to be just a consequence of my circumstances – it’s supposed to be a conscious choice. I want new pants. I can probably convince myself that I need new pants, but I committed to not buying new clothes, and if I buy new pants right now, I’m denying myself the opportunity to learn from my no-buy experiment. It’s not a challenge if it’s not hard, and I don’t learn anything from quitting the moment my experiment becomes inconvenient. So, at least for the rest of the summer, I’m not going to buy new pants.

What I will do, though, is share the results of a very lucrative Instagram data mine, wherein I asked you about your black work pant of choice and you DELIVERED. A lot of you reached out to ask me to post the results, so I want to do that. What I really appreciated about this poll was the enormous variety of answers I received – from ponte pants to silk trousers, there’s something on this list for everyone.

So, without further adieu:

The Ultimate Guide to Black Work Pants

(in ascending order by price)

  1. Everlane: The Work Pant ($50)
  2. Grana: Ankle Pants ($69) (10% off your first Grana order when you use my link!)
  3. Everlane: The Italian Go-Weave Easy Pant ($88)
  4. Brass: The Ponte Pant ($98)
  5. Brass: The Modern Trouser ($108)
  6. Vetta Capsule: The Tapered Pant ($119)
  7. Aritzia /Babaton: Cohen Pant Terado ($150)
  8. Only Child: Solana Slim Pants ($160)
  9. MM. LaFleur: The Foster Pant ($195)
  10. Elizabeth Suzann: Cecilia Pant ($220 – currently out of stock but ES has been testing new fabric for this style and will be bringing it back soon!)
  11. Elizabeth Suzann: Clyde Work Pant ($245)

(some of the brands listed above are not necessarily sustainable/ethical, but many of my readers mentioned that they easily find these styles second-hand)


I’m not in the market for black work pants right now as I plan to see my no-buy experiment through the end of the summer, come hell or high water, but I know that I will end up buying a new pair or two eventually. Of the pants listed on the Ultimate Guide, I think the Grana Ankle Pants and the Elizabeth Suzann Cecilia Pants are my front-runners.

Have a great black work pant to contribute to the Ultimate Guide? Let me know in the comments below!


This post is not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links for which I may receive a small commission. If you use my link to make your purchase, it helps support this blog and I would be extremely grateful.

9 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Black Work Pants

  1. Thank you for this! In the fall I’ll definitely be in the market for a new pair of slim black pants, so this will be really useful. Also, I really love the photo of you in this post. Like an ethical fashion Audrey Hepburn. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Corollary question: what does everyone do for work pants and shoes in the cold weather/rain/snow? I love ankle pants but the thought of wandering into the elements in my pumps and bare ankles makes me shiver!


    1. That is an excellent question! I know that I typically forgo pants and wear dresses and tights in the winter, but I also think that something like a ponte pant with boots would work and keep ankles out of harm’s way. I hope other people will respond to this comment with their winter solutions!


  3. Of course this would happen to you when you decide to do a no shopping challenge!

    I love the look of the Cecelia pant! And the Clyde pants are on my fall wish list once the clothes shopping ban is over…is it wrong to think about what I will buy later, lol?


  4. This is a great list! Out of these, I’ve tried and returned two: the Brass ponte pants and the Everlane work pant. The waistband on the Brass was strangely tight and loose at the same time, and the Everlane pants looked a lot like leggings once on (I think this would be a great pant for tunics and sweaters in the winter, but I don’t know that it would work as well for say, tucking a button-down in for work). My boyfriend said the pants looked “juicy” (ha!) which is not the look I’m going for, and back they went. I’m semi-feverishly searching for a pair of secondhand Clydes as I think they’d be great for work AND travel.


  5. To add to the list- I’m not sure what they’re called but Uniqlo has an incredible set of work pants that come in an array of colors/patterns and are an amazing fit.. all for under $50! I’ve had mine for almost two years and they’re still holding up quite well!


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