Thinking of Varying Your Dress Pants? Here's What to Know

Thinking of Varying Your Dress Pants? Here's What to Know

Dress pants have received a bad reputation throughout the years, probably because people associate the word “dress” with “discomfort.” As such, when people find a pair that fit amazingly well and feel comfortable at the same time, it’s hard for them to let go and explore other options.

That means they’re stuck following the same old trends and eventually becoming bored with their dress pants and wardrobe overall. If this sounds familiar, listen up: there are so many comfortable and flattering types of dress pants today that there’s no reason not to vary your wardrobe and explore new options. Here’s what you need to know about the different types of dress pants out there on the market today and what to look for before making your purchase.


Women’s chino pants are some of the most common dress pants around. Some people might call them khakis since it is a popular color for chinos. They’re basically straight-leg dress pants that tend to have a flat front and back, giving an overall smooth appearance that matches a wide variety of tops and footwear. They vary in fabric as well, so the kind you buy in the summertime might be too lightweight for wintertime, and vice versa.

When you’re looking for chino pants, you’ll want to make sure you find a flattering fit, but you’ll also want to look for comfort features like an elastic waist and stretchy fabric. Wrinkle-resistant is great, too, so they come out of the laundry ready to wear. Pay special attention to the length, too, and find a retailer that offers free hemming services so you get the perfect tailor-made fit.

Capri Pants

They’re more suited for summertime, but capri pants can suffice as dress pants as well, as long as you pair them with some dressy shoes and a dressy top. They’re like chino pants but shorter, reaching somewhere between the knee and the ankle when worn. Since capris tend to appear more casual, it is important to pair them with a dressy top and shoes if you are going to wear them as dress pants. You may even want to add a silk scarf around your neck to complete the outfit.

Cropped Pants

Different than chinos, women’s cropped pants are a little longer than capris and hit just above the ankle. They’re very stylish these days, especially if they’re high-waisted and have a flare leg, sort of like bell bottoms. Wear them in the summertime with sneakers or sandals, or wear them in fall or winter with some leather ankle boots. Since they’re so popular these days, you may even be able to get away with wearing cropped flare jeans as dress pants, as long as they’re not distressed. Look for a pair that’s dark in color or black if you want to make them look dressy.

Comfortable Dress Pants

All types of pants have the potential to be comfortable, but when you don’t want to take any chances, there are certain things to look for regarding comfy pants for women. Especially for women who have to travel for work, comfort sometimes takes priority over fashion. But you could have both as long as you look in the right places. At the top of the list of things to look for in a comfortable pair of dress pants is an elastic waistband. Look for one that’s hidden so the pants appear more streamlined and dressy. The material should also have a bit of stretch: not so much that they don’t regain their shape, but enough so that you don’t feel constricted.

Wool Pants

Today’s wool pants have come a long way and don’t need to look like wool to have the same level of warmth. Look for a blend of wool, polyester, and spandex so you have a bit of stretch for comfort. This will also make them easy to wash and dry, unlike wool pants of the past that had to be dry cleaned. Wear them just like you would any other pair of dress pants.

Corduroy Pants

In the fall and wintertime, corduroy pants can work quite well as dress pants. Plus, they’re nice and warm. Don’t look for the same type people wore in the ‘80s though. Cords have come a long way since then, with a finer, less stiff look and a softer feel against the skin. Plus they have lots of stretch. You can find skinny corduroys, wide-legged corduroys, or straight leg. There are plenty of ways to wear these comfortable and warm, yet dressy pants.

If you’re stuck in a rut wearing the same old dress pants, don’t be afraid to add some variety to your wardrobe and explore all the different types available.


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