Best pants for in the office

Looking to buy some more pants, current first year. What are the best pants to buy as a guy?


Comments (22)

Jul 17, 2022 - 6:40pm
Sanduskk, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Lululemon commission / Rhône pants, provided that analysts / associates in your group doesn't wear suit pants.

Both are super comfortable and stretchy.

  • 2
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jul 17, 2022 - 6:41pm

Have lulu commissions currently, feel they are slightly too casual and would prefer to have something a little more traditional. Great pants though

Most Helpful
Jul 17, 2022 - 8:57pm
bawstin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well, it really depends on what you're looking for in traditional pants.

1) There are main two fabrics to choose from: Wool or Cotton. Wool pants are more expensive and traditional. You will have to take these pants to the dry cleaners to be cleaned. Cotton pants, aka. Chinos, is cheaper and can handle a regular wash and iron. In general, both fabrics are breathable and comfortable if you buy the right brands. They are also durable, but cotton beats wool in most cases. You can dress up and down with cotton easily, if that's what you want (but it's possible with wool pants too). I have a mix of both fabrics in my closet.

A general rule is for you and everyone here to avoid synthetics like the plague. I'm talking about polyester and spandex. These synthetics are not hallmarks of a quality garment as they will make you sweat and they don't last very long. Most companies are going full-out on 99% cotton and 1% spandex because most men don't know how to dress and could give two shits about the garments they buy, so long as they think they're comfortable. It's a marketing gimmick that's been working for the past 5-10 years; so unless you're going to the gym or climbing a mountain, you don't need spandex in your pants, or your everyday clothes, to feel comfortable. So long as you are wearing pants that aren't tight and have room for your legs, you should be good.

2) We need to determine your fit and style. There are 5 main types of fits from slim to widest: skinny, slim, straight, regular/classic, and relaxed. Your choice of cut will depend on your body type and style. You have to consider the thickness of your legs, your torso length, your height, and your upper body build for your pants to be harmonious with your look. If you have skinny legs and/or a not-so-large upper body in proportion to your body, then you could look for skinny or slim fits. Average legs and/or average upper body, straight fit. Larger legs and/or larger upper body, regular/classic and relaxed fits. When I say and/or, one characteristic is enough for you to try out one of those fits. For example, for someone who has skinny legs but a larger upper body may want to experiment with skinny, slim, regular/classic, AND relaxed fits. Why? Slimmer pants may look "right" for his already slim legs, which might apply to someone with a short height. Wider pants may look "right," because they may compliment his larger upper body and small torso (think about it, dude is jacked up there, but his wider pants easily hide the fact that he skips leg day). You have to figure out what fit works best for your body.

A note on style, here are my takes.

  • Skinny: Unless you look like a scarecrow, these pants will make you feel like a sausage. It's not 2013, skinny pants are out.
  • Slim: A fit that traditionally existed for years, but has been en vogue since the 2010s. However, I think they may go out soon. Ladies already ditched them by the late 2010s in favor of wider pants. Slim pants and anything slimmer notably have a narrow leg opening, which exaggerates the size of your feet. This can work for some people, but if you have large feet, avoid.
  • Straight: Timeless fit.
  • Regular/Classic. Timeless fit. Ladies' fashion has been going in this direction. Perhaps it will be the same for men soon.
  • Relaxed: For men who have a large beer belly. (Rise of pants in 2 paragraphs below)

Another factor to consider if the type of leg, which includes: straight, taper, and bootcut. These features are more subject to fashion tastes. The straight leg is most common, which means that the width of your pants from your knees (more or less) doesn't change when it goes down to your leg opening. Taper leg (sometimes the athletic fit) means that your pants become narrower by the leg opening. This has been the 2010s trend, but it may be in its final run. If you have larger legs, you may like the look of pants getting narrower by your feet. It's like a hybrid between a regular/classic fit above the knees, and a slim/skinny fit below. I'd be cautious though as they can make you look like a carrot. The bootcut increases in width to accommodate large boots. This fit works for you if you work in the Dallas office, or if you're a part-time cowboy.

Don't want to complicate it further, but one important feature is the rise of the pants. A short rise sits below the hip. A regular rise sits at the hip. A high rise sits at the natural waist (a tad below your belly button).

My general recommendation for the average guy: Straight or regular/classic pants. These pants are the most traditional, most versatile, most timeless, and fit the majority of men out there. Some features include a straight leg, and either a regular/high rise.

Overall, you want your pants to be comfortable and well proportioned to your body. When trying out, focus first on how your thighs feel when you sit down while carrying your phone, wallet, keys, etc. This is the most important thing about trying on pants because you can't increase the width of your pants. Either find a larger fit or increase your width size. By doing so, you can always tailor any extra fabric from the belt line. This is true for me, as I have a pack and large legs (an hourglass figure).

My brand recommendation:

  • Bills Khakis: Hands down the best chino pants I tried. Costs $185 each. I wear the M2 Classic fit with the Original Twill. I visited a local store before purchasing.
  • Brooks Brothers: They used to make great chinos, but now have downgraded to 99% cotton. However, you can find BB chinos in excellent and even NWT condition on Ebay and Poshmark that are still 100% cotton. Before buying online, I suggest you go to a BB store and try out their pants there. Their fits: Soho (slim), Milano (straight), Clark (regular/classic), Hudson (wider than Clark, discontinued by 2010s), Thompson (Clark but lower rise, pleats, and cuffs, discontinued by 2000s), Elliot (wider than Clark but with pleats and cuffs, discontinued around 2020). Be careful, make sure your purchase their mainline pants and not the outlet ones. The outlet ones will either be labeled as 346 or the Brooks Brothers name will be spelled in Times New Roman capitalized. These tend to be lower quality. The mainline ones have Brooks Brothers spelled in cursive.

Last note, remember that fit names and numbers are subjective from brand to brand. A regular fit for Brooks Brothers will not be the same for J Crew. In addition, fits can vary in between trends. For example, Banana Republic's straight-fit pants were much wider in the 2000s but then became slimmer by the 2010s. Best of luck with finding the right pants. Will be glad to help you figure out your fit if needed.

  • Teller in IB-M&A
Jul 17, 2022 - 10:18pm

Dude this write up is awesome - thank you for taking the time to type this all out. You know way more about this than me, so what would you recommend for a guy with bigger legs? It sounds like you may have dealt with this problem, but I have pretty big thighs (27 inches) with a moderate waist (33 inch) and I cannot find pants that fit welI for the life of me. I am 5'10" and around 200 lbs. I agree with you, I HATE the feeling of stretchy pants and refuse to wear lulu commissions and spandex chinos. It seems like everything is cut so damn slim now. What do you do? Use a tailor? I feel like any pants that fit my waist and calves well and have a nice silhouette are just so damn tight on my thighs. The only pants I have that fit remotely nice are tailored suit pants, but that get expensive quick lol

Jul 18, 2022 - 12:44am
bawstin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks man! I suggest you look into both Bills Khakis and Brooks Brothers in the meantime. My thighs are 23 inches and my waist is 31 inches, but opt for a 32 and get the belt area tailored, I know how it feels.

To suggest sizes, I would try Bill Khakis' M1 Relaxed fit. Like I said, brands label their fits differently. Relaxed fits usually tend to be lower in the waist. This brand is the opposite:



I wouldn't worry about the man with the flat butt in the picture. Your thighs will really show off on these.

For Brooks Brothers, I think that the Clark fit is going to be too tight for you. Give it a try and see regardless. I would recommend the Hudson fit, if you can still find it at mainline or outlet stores, or the Elliot fit. (quick note on outlet stores, you can still find mainline items being sold at a discount. have seen some mainline hudson and elliot pants being sold a few months back. but even if there are no mainline, the outlet brand still uses the same fit. so you can wear and try out, then look for the exact fit on ebay) Though the elliot has pleats, I think they are a good thing for your case. The purpose of pleats has always been to help men with large legs or bum to feel less constricted while sitting down. Basically, when sitting down, your pleats open for extra room, and when standing up, the pleats are back neatly in place. I say neatly if the chinos are of high quality, like Brooks Brothers, because chinos with cotton of less weight won't be able to hold the pleat in place unless ironed recently. Pleats have the misconception of creating pants that are too baggy or flare outwards. Pleats create baggy pants only if the person wearing has slim legs in proportion to the space provided by the pants, hence why there is too much extra fabric. Pleats flare outwards when the pants are too tight, and the solution is to simply size up. So try out pleated pants and see if they're right for you.

Jul 18, 2022 - 7:57am
poignant, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I prefer Indochino wool pants for the price. You can get their MTM pants for less than $100 a pair and for the price they're pretty solid workhorse pants. Just make sure you go in to get measured.

Otherwise I'd recommend Ralph Lauren or Ralph Lauren Purple Label. I've never been a huge fan of the lulu's just by fact they are too casual and synthetic for office wear. Great workout cloths though.

Jul 18, 2022 - 10:00am
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Great answer and I'm on board with the Brooks Brothers recommendation, they make some great chinos that look good with any number of outfits (at the office, happy hour, etc.). I think I have about 8 pairs of these pants. 

However, why are you knocking them for not being 100% cotton??? You kind of want them to be a blend, especially since the other 1% is the elastane stuff that gives them a little stretch to the pants. 100% cotton pants are a complete bitch in the summer since they don't breath very well at all. I see them moving away from 100% cotton as an upgrade and it results in a better pant. 

  • 2
Jul 20, 2022 - 11:28am
bawstin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I understand where you're coming from. I have two reasons for why I don't like elastane. For one, I don't need my pants to stretch when they are already comfortable to wear. The appeal for stretch comes from many who feel their pants are too constrained when walking, sitting down, or squatting. Since the latest trend favors slim-fitting pants, many have this problem. The solution would be to size up and wear classic-fitting pants. I don't have problems with doing any of these motions while wearing them. In fact, cotton itself already has a little bit of natural stretch. So unless you run to work or do serious workouts with your chinos, there won't be many instances where your pants become too constricted.

The second reason has to do with the longevity of elastane blended products. Cotton is a strong material, resistant to most scratches and permanent distention. Elastane is like a rubber band, which is not so durable and can create distention. What happens to the cotton-elastane pants is that you'll start to see stretched-out areas of the pants, such as the knee, in a sort of bulge (like when blowing bubble gum). The fabric is no longer evenly spaced across the pants, making it easier for them to rip with light damage. Machine washing them also creates problems as the fabric tumbles around, and inevitable stretching and elastane damage occur. What you'll end up is a shorter lifespan of cotton-elastane pants versus the 100% cotton.

To answer your point on summer, cotton comes in all weights and forms. The regular BB "Advantage Chinos" are weighted as normal, while their "Lightweight Advantage Chinos" are much more breathable and great for the summer. Both are 100% cotton, it's just that they're different weights of cotton. If they still don't feel comfortable on you, then 100% linen pants or seersucker are the way to go. Brooks Brothers offer both.

Most companies are already moving away from 100% cotton, but not because it results in better pants. IMO, it's a financial decision. They save hundreds of thousands of dollars by using 1% less cotton by adding a cheaper substance to their garments.

Jul 18, 2022 - 11:12pm
ledagl8888, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Good write up but bro pick some better brands

Go rag & bone for their chinos

Jul 18, 2022 - 3:32am
kinghamasaki, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I really like pants from Sandro, pretty popular brand here in Europe.

Jul 29, 2022 - 3:09am
fredbrown, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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