I finally decided to put some concentrated effort into it, 1) because of some upcoming meetings I have in a couple months and 2) because I saw some on the Nordstrom essentials list that I talked about a few days ago and figured I might as well try them. I've tried my usual list of stores for trousers over the years--LOFT, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Gap, Target--but haven't had much luck so far. I wasn't optimistic that I'd find any from Nordstrom, but like I said, I was going to give it a shot.
AND I THINK I STRUCK GOLD.
I only tried 4 different pairs of pants and found a keeper! These ankle pants are where it's at! (Find them HERE.) They do have some downsides, which I'll talk through, but for me the pros definitely outweigh them.
I also found another pretty good pair, which is reviewed at the bottom of this post.
But first, the ones I'm keeping. To begin, they are stretchy. While the waistband has some elastic, the hips and legs are even better. I can sit in all sorts of positions and move around SO comfortably. I wouldn't go as far as to say they feel like yoga pants because they do have stretchiness limits. But they aren't far from it in terms of ability to move around. Yet, they hold shape all day! The material isn't super duper heavy, but it's weighted enough to smooth out any lumps that I'd rather hide, hehe. You know what I mean? If pant material is too thin on me it can really show lumps in an unflattering way.
Also, the legs are slim fit without being skinny. And they're actually flattering to my slightly wider hips! Often trousers don't agree with my hips which is why I never bought the other pants I'd tried on all those years. I usually feel like Goldilocks, where the curvy fits have too much room for me but the regular cuts squeeze my hips. This pair totally works for me!
Above I showed the side profile of the pants. Nice slim fit without being too tight or skinny.
Obviously how they fit on my body will not be true for everyone. But if you've got slightly wider hips or have had any of the problems I described, you should definitely try these. (For more context, I usually wear Modern Skinny at LOFT--some curves but not quite full enough hips to fit curvy jeans.) I'm hesitant to say they'd be really good for someone with very, very curvy hips, though I think they would be good for someone with less curvy hips than me. However, with stores like Nordstrom that have free shipping both ways, I always just order to try it.
Now, the downsides. First, there are no pockets. I personally can get over that, especially when the pants fit me like a glove. But I thought it was worth mentioning. Second, the waistband could be a little odd if you hoped to tuck in shirts and show the waistband at all. I never do that, so again, fine with me. If I ever tuck in a shirt, I blouse it out like in the pics above. Third, the waistband is like 1/2" - 1" too high for my preference. This does two things: a) sits annoyingly high and interferes when I sit down, and b) makes them look like "old lady" pants if I show the waistband. The latter is easy to get over because like I said, I never show the waistband. However, the former is a problem. I fix this by folding down the waistband once. The waist band has some elastic which makes this possible, and it stays in place all day. An added benefit is that left alone, crotch area has a *little* too much material on me which could look messy and maybe a little frumpy. But, folding down the waistband, even just a little, lowers the rise, tightens up the excess material, and really cleans up the look. Lastly, these were too long to be ankle pants on my 5'6" frame. I folded them up in these pictures to reflect ankle length because I have yet to get them tailored. Lucky for me, Nordstrom provides free tailoring when purchasing there!
Like I said, those downsides weren't enough to deter me from keeping these. Finding good pants has been HARD, so if I can find some super comfortable and super flattering pants and end my search, I'm not going to nitpick about not having pockets! :)
If you're looking for a slimmer pant, or if you want full length pants, try THESE. I haven't felt them first hand, but reviewers are describing the material in a way that sounds similar to the pair I'm wearing.
I'm normally 6/8 in pants and am wearing these in 8.
A couple other notes about this outfit:
On Monday I showed 3 ways to wear this top (HERE). My, my, how much more grown up a proper pair of trousers look than black skinny jeans. Glad I finally have a pair I can wear! Anyway, some people had concerns about this olive top being dry clean only. I hand wash it and air dry it. Another reader on Facebook said they have this blouse in 10 different colors (wow!). They machine wash on delicate and hang dry, and their shirts look new. Lastly, Real Simple's "Do I Have to Dry Clean This?" article says it's okay to hand wash something like this! (I now added that article to the Clothing Care post from last week.)
Secondly, whoever asked me for a leopard print pump that's "not hairy" (LOL cuz you're right...they're always hairy!)...well, I think I found one for ya HERE.
Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact)
Pants: Nordstrom (exact)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact)
Watch: c/o JORD
Okay, I know this post is already long, but here are some other pants I tried--some of which aren't terrible and would be great for other body types.
There are white splotches on some of these pics--those are Addie's handprints on our mirrors, not the pants. :)
Tahari Ankle Pants - size 8
Initially I liked these. The leg fit is slim but not tight, they have pockets, and they have a real waistband. They are a little thinner than the pair I ended up keeping, and while not stretchy they are pretty soft. I stopped liking them once I moved. The pockets flared out a little after movement. But worse, every time I got up from sitting I'd have to adjust the pant legs or else they'd stay stuck. And the crotch area looked bad, as seen in the bottom left corner above. I'd constantly have to fix it. I didn't want to fidget with my clothes that much, especially when I found a different pair where that wasn't an issue.
The top left full-length picture shows the pant length on me--too long to be ankle. Next to it is a pic with the pants rolled up.
These might be awesome if you have less hips than me and even slightly slimmer legs. I don't think the pants would get stuck on your legs, and the pockets wouldn't flare out.
Karen Kane Ankle Pants - size 8
This is the pair I ended up keeping. I took these to show you what I meant by the waistband. It's simple, with elastic in the back, and the zipper is on the side instead of front. Bottom left is the pants after movement.
These are thicker and stretchier than the pair above. And in case it wasn't clear in the first half of this post, I'm delighted by them. :)
Halogen Grey Pants - size 8
These are also stretchy, and they are soft! I really love the color, but they are too thin for me. See the side profile pic, how there are some lumps there? That's from my shirt tucked in, and the pants material is not thick enough to smooth out those little things, which overall usually doesn't bode well for other lumps! Also, there's a lot of extra material in the crotch area on me. They don't look like that on the model, though, so there's hope for you if you like this style!
The one review it has said they have an hourglass figure and it fits their hips and thighs without the usual gap they have.
Halogen Ankle Pants - size 8
These are also stretchy but structured, and the material is fairly sturdy. They are ankle length on me without any alterations. However, the waist is the problem I have with most pants--the weird flaring out. Based on the material, stretch, and structure, these would be a great pair of pants to have if they fit you well. Available in 4 colors.
Overall, I'm noticing a theme that most of these Nordstrom pants have stretch but still hold structure, and that makes the pants AWESOME.
Anyway, I'm SO RELIEVED I found a pair of pants! If you're in the market, try some of these because the stretch is great. Good luck!
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