In Defense Of Black Work Slacks

Emma Rosenblum tackled the ubiquitous black slack in an op-ed for BusinessWeek titled, "Ladies, Please Burn Your Black Work Pants." Says Rosenblum, "They're boring and sad, and make you look boring and sad, too." While we agree that there are way too many ill-fitting, too-long, crotch-magnifying, slightly shiny black slacks out there, a proper black work pant is indispensable in a woman's wardrobe — and we're not just talking about a woman's 9-5 wardrobe. With the right cut, fabric, and fit, a good black slack can be worn seven days a week, from work to drinks and then out to brunch the next morning.
The key to a modern black pant is in the silhouette. Ending right at your ankles and with a slight taper, a work slack should be slim without being tight and come in a slight stretch. This way, they work with a button-down and a pump for the office, as well as little ballet flats and a sweater for a casual French New Wave vibe, or a bootie and denim jacket for the weekend. And, if there's a little too much fabric at the crotch or rear? That's when a super-dark, matte black fabric comes in — it'll hide any small fit issues that may look obvious in other colors or sheens.
So, which to buy? We've consulted with our market director, Marissa Rosenblum, to pick out the five pairs of black slacks that'll work just as hard as you do. Leave your matches for your candles, ladies. Here are five reasons to keep your black work pants, not burn them.
1 of 5
Theory pants are a bit of an investment, but you'll never regret making the splurge — trust us. The Testra Bistretch is stretchy enough that they feel like sweatpants, but never stretches out. They're also completely matte (shininess is a big pet peeve of our black pants), and cropped just enough for shorter legs. They're also pretty resistant to wrinkles and grime, so you don't have to dry clean them nearly as often as you do your other pants. There's a reason they're all currently sold out everywhere. Keep checking back at major department stores and, especially in spring.

Theory Testra Bistretch Pant, $200, available spring at Theory.
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Unlike a chino, which is 100% cotton, these have a bit of spandex which makes them wrinkle resistant and comfy for work. They also pair well with Uniqlo's Celia Birtwell collection of blouses, if you're already looking for cute work wear — just saying!

Uniqlo Chino, $39.90, available at Uniqlo.
3 of 5
The Brooks Brothers Red Fleece collection has updated slimmer fits, but the quality and fit is everything you'd expect from this tried-and-true American institution that knows its way around tailoring. These pants have a slim fit and waist that sit perfectly along your high hip. No belt needed — there's a pretty grosgrain dotted detail around the waistline!

Brooks Brothers Janie Pant, $198, available at Brooks Brothers.
4 of 5
These trousers from Zara are perfect for boyish, petite, or athletic figures as well as anyone looking for a more feminine silhouette in an office pant. The closed seams at the waist are a streamlined alternative to open pleats and perfect for someone ready to try out this shape but not quite ready for the full-on pleat yet. Wear them with pumps to gussy them up, but we love how they look with a flat ankle boot in the office, too.

Zara Seamed High Waist Trouser, $79.90, available at Zara.
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Emma Rosenblum totally disses the Express black pants in the BusinessWeek article, but is she aware they are currently producing chic black drawstring track-style dress pants that feel like pajamas but actually make you look like the most put-together commanding woman in the room? With a pointed toe high heel, blazer and blouse, there is nothing sad about these black pants. Worried that the drawstring may feel too casual? Wear your shirt untucked to hide the ties.

Express Drawstring Track Pant, $59.90, available at Express.

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