Dress pants for the office and evening wear now come disguised in stretchy fabrics (including wool/lycra and linen/lycra blend). Stretch corduroy too. The difference between traditional fabrics (e.g. 100% wool) and the stretch combos is undetectable to everyone but you. Bonus: when fabrics contain a tiny amount of stretch, they stay wrinkle-free, no ironing required. You have nothing to lose but that awful tight feeling when you sit down.
Donna Karan popularized black jersey versions of these. Styled after traditional thai wrap pants, (not to be confused with bulky thai fisherman’s pants) they are supremely comfortable as the waistline is adjustable, either by button or flat straps that tie in front and back. Flat straps are important for a streamlined look—there’s nothing worse than a bulky drawstring or puckering under a snug top. You can tie them at the waist or hip. They usually come in silk, linen or cotton, and either solid color or pattern. The traditional thai versions are also very slimming as they carry a border print, like the kind found on the edge of a sari, that runs vertically down the length of the leg in the front. Fantastic in hot weather, as a breeze will open the sides to just above the knee, allowing for plenty of air circulation, and a sexy flash of leg, much like a slit skirt. You can control the level of exposure with a discreet pin. Fun fact: traditionally they are worn without knickers… so if you’re feeling bold, by all means respect tradition! Note: They can be tricky at first to tie (e.g. negotiating their removal when nature calls), but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find them easier to get on and off than regular pants. Combine a silk pair of these pants in a solid color with a chic top and you are set for day or evening.
Alternatives to Sweat Pants
For lounging around the house, try black or grey yoga pants in a cotton/lycra blend with an extra wide (2″+) stretchy roll-down waistband: just as comfy as 100% cotton sweat pants but so much more flattering since the lycra helps them retain their shape over many washes. Even if you think your rear is too big for lycra, trust me, this looks 1000 times better than a droopy diaper look, and a puckered draw-string waist. Sweat pants scream “couch potato”; yoga pants say “I exercise and de-stress regularly.” Even if you don’t.