I’ve recently become obsessed with pants that secretly aren’t actually pants. They look like pants in that they resemble a casual black work trouser but they feel like leggings in that they are stretchy and feature nary a zipper fly, thus delivering the best of both worlds: a put-together aesthetic cloaked in comfort. I’m not sure what to call them. Stretch trousers? Strousers? Regardless, I’m pretty sure they are the secret to workplace attire and airport chic — two of the notoriously toughest nuts to crack.
Elizabeth is also a noted fan of strousers (she owns quite the collection herself), and below is her market report of the best options out there, some culled from her own wardrobe and some from the internet. Peruse her picks below, and let me know if you’re on board with this lifestyle choice.
1. COS, $99
These from COS are about as close to a legging as a strouser can get, but you’ll notice a crucial distinction just north of Elizabeth’s feet: non-grabby ankles! A characteristic wherein the circumference of the ankles in question are just roomy enough that perceived athleticism is not in the cards. Elizabeth also assured me that even though these strouser err on the side of form-fitting, they are very comfortable and easy to sit down in.
These are the most expensive strouser present in Elizabeth’s roundup, and she told me they really feel like it: luxuriously thick and relatively structured for a stretchy pant. They’re also wrinkle-resistant, which makes them great for travel, which confirms my theory that strousers might be the very best thing to happen to airplane outfits.
Elizabeth asked her Instagram followers to recommend the best stretch trouser, and Everlane’s Work Pant came up again and again. After trying them on, she described them as “thick and supportive” (which is incidentally how I describe my hair). They’re also $50 (!!!!) and come in a variety of colors.
4. Stelen, $84
The first day Elizabeth wore these to work, half the people in our office (including me) asked her where she got them. They have a super high waist and a bit of a sheen, which makes them look deceptively dressy. Perfect for wearing to a party when you’d rather be home in bed.
Elizabeth is the proud owner of these, too, and says she’s never received more inquiries about a single pair of pants. They transition seamlessly between nice dinners and casual errands, and they’re made with a distinctive ribbed material that you should definitely zoom in on to see for yourself. Can you believe they’re $19.00? Me neither.
6. Vintage Ralph Lauren from The Break
These are vintage, but similar options can be found here, here and here. You could also cut an extra long pair of skinny trousers or leggings to recreate the same ankle split. Elizabeth likes wearing them a bit long to create a true puddle hem, or as she calls it, a “hoof.”
Apparently these strousers feel like a combination of yoga pants and pajama pants thanks to their elastic waistband and thin, silky material. I’m already on board, but in case you need any additional convincing: They’re on sale for $34.99.
If you’re looking for glorified athletic pants that successfully can pass as a flared trouser, these are IT. Because of their bellbottom shape, Elizabeth says they successfully sit on top of a boot without any weird bumps or grooves. Do you know what a triumph that is when it comes to winter dressing!? Rhetorical question. Of course you do.
Any favorite strouser recommendations missing from this list? Drop them below.
Photos by Edith Young. Styled with Urban Outfitters mary jane platforms and Swedish Hasbeens clogs throughout. Feature photo wearing Nanushka coat, vintage sweater, Nini Molnar bag and Derek Lam sunglasses.