Writer Haley Nahman hunts for the perfect pair of trousers.
I Went on a Quest to Find the Perfect Pants and Found 9
05.10.18

I couldn’t tell you why, but somewhere between 2017 and now, I grew so tired of all my jeans and wide-legged pants that I resorted to wearing a single pair of black trousers from Lou & Grey nearly every day. It was an odd, Doug Funnie-like era in my sartorial life, and the pants — which cost around $70 and weren’t technically a trouser as much as a track pant with a front crease — weren’t exactly built for uniform-wear. When I went to buy a backup pair, though, I learned the style had sold out, never to be restocked again. I looked at my jeans suspiciously.

Soon after, somewhat serendipitously, I came into the possession of a pair of Marni pants I’d have never purchased myself, and fell in prompt and accidental love. Unlike all my jeans, they didn’t miraculously change shape between wears. Neither did they dig into my waist when I sat down nor ride up my crotch when I walked above a snail’s pace. And unlike my wide-legged pants, they offered a silhouette that felt new and fresh without feeling overly trendy: structured but slouchy, and with a subtle flare.

Both of these pants injected novelty into my wardrobe, yes, but their introduction felt like more than my next trend cartwheel. They made me feel like a grown-up version of myself that I wanted to keep around. Whereas my wide-legs and vintage Levi’s felt distinctly 2017, these pants carried a sort of chin-up timelessness to them. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself, and it’s why I went on a hunt to find all the best non-denim pants that gave me that same feeling. Below I’ve documented my findings, categorized by type, with only the cream of the crop included.

1. Linen Pants

White pants are hard, but these Zara ones are the ideal mix of light and sturdy. They’re paper thin without losing their shape or making me feel exposed. I feel like I could wear them to the beach or a nice dinner, which I think makes them the perfect summer pants. (You’re welcome for not saying they can go “day to night.” Oops just did.) They’re also properly high-waisted, which I love, since I often find that pants marketed that way are more often mid-rise.

2. Track Pants

I’ve struggled to get on board with wearing track pants in a non-athletic context — maybe because I’d never tried cropped ones like these, also from Zara. I actually cuffed these a tad shorter than they came as it gave them a delightful Steve Urkel feel. I love the thick green stripe down the side. It gives me all kinds of styling ideas. I think I’m a track pants convert; I might even wear these with heels.

3. Fitted Trousers

These are really similar to the Lou & Grey pants I’ve been wearing ad nauseam, but they’re much sturdier and a little more dressed up (they’re COS). They’re the kind of pants that really hug you as you zip them up, and my immediate thought, before I’d even looked in the mirror, was these are perfect. These pants don’t have a trendy cut, which is a good thing. I feel like they could chameleon their way into any situation or any person’s wardrobe.

4. Canvas Pants

As you’ve probably gathered by now, I’m very loyal to stiff, structured pants, and this Lykke Wullf pair fulfills that tenet perfectly: They’re made of 100% canvas. Here I dressed them up a bit to see if they’d hold their own and they did. They almost feel like a denim trouser, but they have very little give, which is super satisfying.

5. Utility Pants

I’m still on the hunt for the perfect cargo pant, but in the meantime, these NEED utility pants will more than do. They have SO MANY FUN features, like a hammer holder and three nested pockets behind the left knee. Do let me know if you have any small treasures you’d like me to store, happy to be of service. They also have the perfect straight-leg cut and wide cuff; I can see myself wearing them entire weekends at a time.

6. Tapered Trousers

Rachel Comey pants, vintage button-down — another here, Amazon slippers

These Rachel Comey trousers are a little thinner and silkier (and pricier) than I’d normally go for, but they’re cut so well I decided to include them. Given their obvious good-for-work shape and fabric, I wanted to try dressing them down. I felt very ready to peruse a farmer’s market and buy produce that I definitely wouldn’t let rot, emotionally. That said, they feel more office-ready than long-walk-ready.

7. Khaki Pants

I really wanted to find some good baggy khakis to tuck into boots, and Ganni was the first place I looked. These ones are pretty roomy, so buyer beware — or enjoy. I was surprised to really like this outfit, even though it felt like a small departure from my typical style in that it’s horse-ready. In that sense, I’d say these were the “trendiest” pick, but they were so comfortable I had to include.

8. Athleisure Trousers

I’m pretty sure Amelia and Leandra both have these pants — and I know that because every time I see them I’m reminded of my beloved Lou & Greys, which sit at a similar athletic-trouser intersection. I think these ones can pass for either depending on how they’re styled, which makes them comfortable and also a good investment. I wish they were a little more high-waisted, but now I’m just being greedy.

9. Straight-Up Sweats

Okay okay I admit these are a far cry from grown-up trousers, but I’ve always been drawn to well-cut sweatpants — the kind you can dress up with sneakers and a sweater to run to the store without feeling like a slob. These FRAME ones drew me in from across the room (i.e. browser) with their mullet hems, and I was delighted by how they fell in real life. They’re more than I’d spend on sweats, but they perfectly fulfilled my vision and thus earned themselves a spot on this list.


So what do you think, chicken butts? Should we never wear jeans again or am I just being dramatic?

Get more Fashion ?
  • Leslie Hitchcock

    LOVING this new Haley! It’s you, but different. Achievement, unlocked!

  • Kary Wayson

    cute new cube!

  • Becca

    The Cohen pants by Aritzia are the best pants I’ve ever owned. The Filippa K Flynn pants are a close second.

    • Kiks

      The Cohen pants are amazing!! I want them in every colour.

    • rachella

      Can you possibly send a link to the Cohen pants by Aritzia ? Thank you so so much…

  • Great pants look so fantastic! Glad you found some you love. You can’t go wrong with blue and classic white linen!

    Eva | http://www.shessobright.com

  • Please let us know when you find the perfect cargo pant because I’ve been looking for months to no avail.

    • Haley Nahman

      WILL DO

  • jugarboo

    Been wearing only skirts and dresses because my body has suddenly and very firmly rejected jeans lately. Thanks for the options!

    • Haley Nahman

      Is denim rejection a rite of passage??

    • I also had a phase like this! Wore nothing but dresses for maybe two years. It was when I gained weight early in uni and didn’t have the strength to deal with my waist size. Now I’m back to wearing pants but hardly ever jeans! They feel so boring and lazy-default after all this time with dresses which always feel more dressupy and intentional. But denim shirts, jackets and overalls are a whole other story!!!

  • ฯLene Jaf

    Try Hue brand available at Bloomingdale’s

  • Edith

    Haley, your outfits are always absolute perfection. <3

    I don't think I will ever fully abandon jeans, but your outfits sure are making a very tempting case!

  • superhappycamper

    Those linen pants…I love them but white pants make me have panic attacks. I’m not even a messy eater. I’m just afraid to touch anything when I wear them.

    • Haley Nahman

      True. Especially in New York. Disaster waiting to happen!

  • Shasta Hagar Goff

    They all look the same jajaja

  • Jenifer Gransee

    Why, oh why are these all so short???? No, thank you. A cm above the floor please. I prefer to elongate my physique. . and not chop it off above the ankles.

    • Haley Nahman

      Good point, I’m such a freak for a crop that I didn’t even notice!

      • Permanent Bishface

        I love them all on you and don’t think they cut you off.

  • Nancy

    Ah, yes trousers. Tried and true staple of my business-casual office life. SO MUCH more comfortable than jeans and they don’t go in and out of style every year. I love your styling here – breathing new life into this closet staple. By the way, I have never seen someone wear sock-shoes so well!! Do you have tiny feet? They look so small and cute in your many sneakers. Also, finally, I always wear my jean jackets buttoned up (why is this so comfortable?) and my friends make fun of me… too bad for them Haley made it cool now!!

    • Haley Nahman

      My feet are a 7.5! Which I think is around average for my heigh (5’6). And yes I’m all for jean jacket worn as shirt, I’m doing it right now!

  • Isabel

    Haley has the coolest and most original fashion content. I am nothing like her shape and I read this with real interest cos she always picks out great stuff and has insightful commentary. Also she’s a great writer, with an honest and original voice. But it’s probably her fault that orange frame shirt is sold out so -1 for that.

    • Haley Nahman

      This was so kind I have to assume my mother wrote it under a pseudonym. If I’m correct, so excited to see you on Sunday mom! If I’m not, thank you so much!

  • doladex

    Haley, what are your sneaks in the first photo??

  • NEW APARTMENT ALERT!

  • Lebanese Blonde

    HALEY MOVED

    • Jeannie

      APARTMENT TOUR PLz!!

    • Haley Nahman

      I DID

  • Jessica

    Gave up wearing jeans several months ago and never looked back – tapered pants from COS in assorted different fabrics are my life. Jeans make me feel so restricted now, I can barely stand to wear them anymore.

  • Harling Ross

    i went on a quest to find the perfect human and found u

  • Jenna LoPresti

    the tan ganni’s paired with a dainty white peasant, topped off placed into boots is my most inspired summer ensemble <3

  • Kristin

    Love your writing ! And pants, but I actually think I’m over my ankles.

  • Melanie

    Of all the Man Repellers, Haley is the one I resignate the most with regarding personal style. Like a classic, tom boy ish, casual but still sharp enough to wear somewhere and maybe be underdressed but no one notices because of personal style radiating outwards. I feel comfortable just looking at her outfits. Comfortable, inspired, and wanna recreate now.

    Also – where did you buy your Vejas? Online searching only leads me to buying out of the country.

    • Nancy

      You can buy Vejas in the US from Need Supply, Anthropologie, Madewell, Shopbop… I just ordered a pair from Shopbop 🙂

    • cryptdang

      Amour Vert also has a pretty wide selection of Vejas!

  • Autumn

    Last weekend while shopping with my mother she dragged me into J. Jill and I ended up buying an amazing pair of pants: black, slim leg, structured but also elastic waist. I love them so much

  • Kubla

    I like the framed underpants.
    I currently don’t want to wear pants in the near future.

  • Ma

    Is that your new place on the background? It looks so bright and spacious and lovely!! Hope you’re settling in just fine 🙂

  • MB

    But wait–how did you get the Ganni pants? Their online store doesn’t ship to the US, and I don’t see that style anywhere else. Help!

    • JK

      THEOUTNET.COM baby!! <3 🙂

      • MB

        They’re not there! 🙁 🙁 🙁

  • Sexylala34

    Her styling looks drab and old to me..why are most of these high watered? There is a way to be quirky but stylish…idk i think alot of these wash u out make u look way bigger than u are. Its not a diss just an observation

    • Permanent Bishface

      It’s a diss. You could’ve just said you weren’t a fan of these cuts instead of going full a-hole about it.

      • Sexylala34

        Coming from someone who name is bitchface..stop it. I am not an asshole, she put this out here to not only get positive feedback but constructive criticism and fashionable perspective from the public. Ur being a psycho…go away, i see why ur always mad..🤣🤣🤣.
        I didnt say she was anything im critiquing the clothes…Wow just wow

        • Permanent Bishface

          Lol at psycho. Ok, lady. Anyway, if you scroll up and reread your comment where you unnecessarily said: “idk i think alot of these wash u out make u look way bigger than u are.” you might see what I’m talking about. I’m only giving you constructive criticism from a Not Trying To Be A Jerk perspective. 🤷🏾‍♀️

          • Sexylala34

            Wow u are very delusional…u clearly hear and see what u need to promote negativity. Pay attention..i said that statement regarding the fact she clearly has a cute shape and some pants made her look that way and washed her complexion out. Did i say she was ugly, fat etc. U really are psycho go take ur menopause meds…🤣🤣🤣🤣 ur barking up the wrong tree bish

          • Permanent Bishface

            I see you continue to be quite lovely and “not” at all asshole-ish. 🤣 Your replies prove my point quite well.

          • Sexylala34

            Sure whatever makes u feel good in the morning…u must have alot of yes people around u…tell them to cut that out so u can live in reality..if u ever did. The world is an oyster sweetie full of agreeable and like minded people that look at the world from both sides of the coin. Its called paying attention. Being in a fashion article being maf bcuz someone is givinh their opinion is laughable

      • JK

        I don’t understand where ppl get off trying to tell someone how they intended their own comment? She said it’s not a diss. How can you tell her her intentions, and what it is? You only get to speak for yourself and from your own perspective. Why do you tell her what she “could have” said? She said what she WANTED to say how she wanted to say it. She has a right to say how she feels without having her words policed.

        • Permanent Bishface

          And yet here you are trying to police my comments.

          • JK

            And here you are, you’re still here being angry and well…bitchy. In actuality, I called you out for stepping beyond your place. I guess you don’t like it when someone does to you what you do to others? Oh well. We tried. I guess some folks are just a lost cause…

          • Permanent Bishface

            A. I’m far from angry. I’m actually quite amused that this conversation is still going. You’re the one that seems unnecessarily aggrieved that I “dared” to say anything to your friend.
            B. “Stepping beyond my place”? Please. Nice try, but 😂😂😂. Are you “stepping beyond your place” by continuing to try to “police my words”?

        • Sexylala34

          U notice psycho name thats why she mad. I am not dissing her , im observing the style she is going for is washing her out making her look older and larger than she is…nobody is paying lemon face any mind 🤣🤣🤣

          • Permanent Bishface

            🤣 🚮

          • JK

            Agreed. Honestly, that’s why I just stopped replying and ignored her further comments. Bizarrely defensive, and the point you were making was CLEARLY not attacking the girl, but mentioning how you felt her clothing/style looked on her. Fashion is literally nothing more than self expression and opinion….

          • Sexylala34

            Exactly…i saw most of the posts was praising her but not offering any advice..im like um she put these out here for constructive criticism..at least thats what i thought i read. I think in society in general we have to many Yes people around..thats people become too sensitive. Its all about balance..excluding Bishface bcuz clearly that chic is unstable 🤣🤣🤣

  • Permanent Bishface

    You will neverrr be able to separate me from my wide leg pants! That being said, I love your style. This content is 👌🏿.

  • Robin Slagle Lewis

    Why are all your pants above your ankles. Did I miss something? Surely you had them altered ??

  • YASSSS KWEEEENNN

    Maybe try heans once in a while.

    • Buttnut

      please explain heans? google isn’t a fan of this search haha

  • Gentlywithoutnoise

    Ughh I needed this! Your such a good help my hips don’t lie and jeans just do comfort them not me. Thank you again🙏🏾

  • Ebony

    Loved this piece!!!! Was totally stuck in a rut cos I could not do the whole mom-jean thing anymore, it was even veering into a spandax/leggings territory as a go-to. I loved the ideas of khakis (I had even forgotten about that fabric) and will def be exploring different stles of those pants (no chinos). The linen pants.. fire. And also, pairing those track pants with the zip front polo… polos. Just, like loving styling with zip front polos right now. Just love modern polos. This article made me so happy. xx

  • Dias Nicole

    Everything /all pants shown is nothing new/overpriced & very vanilla.like….where.is.the.actual.good pants actually at?

  • Carol Adams

    I’m working on my 5 year old to stop saying “these ones”. Maybe you could do the same.

  • Ana Maria Lazareff

    Lifehack: Confuse yourself by first reading “pants” as “plants”. Get to the end of the article and wonder why there were 9 pants but only 1 plant.

  • Denise

    None of those look good. And u look pretty young. But your outfits look that of a senior citizen. Sorry. Just my opinion

  • Beasliee

    I love that’s it’s now totally acceptable for the photography for articles like these to just be selfies – makes it seem so much more honest and realistic.

  • Kim

    I do not get some of the negative comments below… personally I think you look dope in all of them and I may or may not have placed a Zara order for 2 pairs of pants mid reading because of you.

  • Rosemary

    I didn’t know my heart was missing these pants until I read this wow thank you

  • Margaret Smollin

    Definitely original however I wouldn’t be caught dead in any of those outfits.

    • Kim

      oh wow.

  • Ellen

    I read the title as ‘plants’ not pants then was very confused as to why you then started talking about trousers.

  • Stacey

    I only read this because I thought it said “plants” not “pants” but I would be happy if y’all expanded into the plant game

  • Sophie

    Hello Hayley the pants lady, be honest, how many 501’s do you own? :p
    A fellow crazy pants lady meself, I own 5 and they’re all special and different to me (all uncomfortable except the “oversized” ones, tho)
    x

  • monochrome

    I’m a jeans girl but omg. Time to shop for pants. The canvas pants and dressy white shirt = perfection.

  • Rose Leger

    Ooooook just want to say the Eileen Fisher linen tank that you’re wearing in outfit numero uno is the #1 best shirt in the world I got one last summer and am unsure if I’ve taken it off yet.

  • fixitfixitfixitfixit

    Great pants, but what I really wanna know is WHERE DID YOU GET THAT MIRROR?

  • EmilyL27

    Hmm wanting to get my utility pants back now. My guy kinda borrowed them but he is actually a carpenter. And they look real cute on him (there’s a trick if you have a small boyfriend who needs better pants. Buy pants “for you” and let him ‘borrow” em)

  • louise

    Why don’t any of these cover your ankles???

  • Gab

    I’m joining this quest. Great picks, you look fantastic. I have a question, though. I noticed you said you like pants with firm material, no stretch. I think Leandra said something similar once before re white jeans. Why?? When I wear non-stretch pants my … ahem … ample thighs feel so CONSTRICTED the minute I sit down. It’s like the pants are reminding me of my thighs. Stretchy pants are so much gentler on my ego. Ha ha. I want to know what it is exactly you get out of firm pants. Am I missing something?

  • Lama m.

    why are people freaking out about visible ankles? i’m very short (152cm short) and i’d rather look shorter than wear something that hides my ankles.
    i love your style btw

  • Jenelle

    I love all of number eight. Congrats on that ponytail.

  • Cléo Charpantier

    love all these pants and outfits so much but came here to say Haley your hair looks so good in all these different looks! makes me desperately want bangs like yours

  • Nichole K

    Filing this article under “How to remove the crutch that is jeans”. I read a comment on an article a million years ago here on MR that the comment-writer thought that skinny jeans are an unwelcome anatomy lesson. That struck a major chord because I’m pretty sure I came out of the womb wearing skinny jeans. Since then, it has been my personal mission to expand my pant wardrobe! Thanks for the selection, Haley! Now I know where to start!

  • JK

    I really try to understand the style of other people. It’s like easy access into their mind, their innerworkings. I personally don’t find most of these looks flattering on you (other than 3 and 4 which were YASSSSS GIRL YASSS) but I am VERY intrigued to hear what/who your style influences are, why certain silhouettes appeal to you, and what motivates a particular look

  • JK

    This website is so dangerous. I WANT to save money, and then I click here and OOPS. Another pair of something ordered lol #linenpants

  • Permanent Bishface

    I’m so weirded out by all the negative comments and people that inexplicably don’t like cropped pants. There’s nicer ways to say that the styles aren’t their idea of something they’d wear without being a jerk about it. I think you look excellent in all of these outfits and love your styling here.

    Idk man….theres many times where I don’t like an outfit on this site but I don’t go out of my way to tell the person that they look horrible like so many seem to think it’s ok to do these days.

  • I live all of them. I think that maybe it all depend on the body shape of a person! At least for me they are all good options for a casual or formal outfit! 😀
    Kiss*
    http://www.fine-alchemy.blogspot.pt

  • Miranda Babbitt

    I swear her fashion game which is already top OF the game looks even better in this beautiful, well-lit Scandinavian apartment now.

  • Jessica Black

    Are those COS pants pretty true to size or do you recommend sizing up/down?

    • Haley Nahman

      I recommend sizing up! My normal size technically fit but was a bit tight

  • Suzanne Barber

    “chin-up timelessness” and “mullet hems”…what more could you want? So many good options here.

  • Carly

    This is the most useful and relevant article I have read in a long time. And I’m saying that as a jean lover.
    Also dangerous because I want to spend all my money on pants now.

  • Mark Publii

    Pants are in aboundecne here https://brickandportal.com/. Good branded pants. Asos and amozone aren’t as good.