If you’ve ever made a trip to the mall just to look for plain black dress pants, then you might be familiar with just how confusing the experience can be. In theory, dress pants should be easy to find, but they’re actually quite difficult to style correctly, especially if you’ve never worn them before.
If you are looking for dress pants for curvy figures, the process can be even more daunting. Not only are work-appropriate pants for curvier hips and thighs difficult to find for all sizes, but plus sizes are even more limited. It’s far from an impossible task, though, and there are many dress pants on the market today that work perfectly with any body type.
The number one thing to keep in mind: Dress pants aren’t meant to be skin-tight. As stylist Abby Arad explains, “Save super tight pants for the gym or going out; dress pants should be comfortable to wear all day, especially if you’ve chosen a fabric with some give.”
Meet the Expert
Abby Arad is an LA-based stylist and a personal shopper who believes in the transformational power of style. The stylist behind Your Stylist Says, Abby is known for scoring the racks for the best of the best and turning those finds into the hottest looks for actors, actresses, influencers, and executives.
To help you find your perfect pair of dress pants, here are 10 options that would be great for curvy bodies.
Best Overall: J.Crew High-Rise Cameron Pant In 4-Season Stretch
These classic dress pants offer a good size range in addition to a solid high waist that sits above the hip. Not only do they have a four-way stretch that makes them especially good for curvier bodies, but they’re also designed to flatter your backside. Plus, they have the brand’s ‘Perfecting Pockets,’ which hold you in and lift you up. As one reviewer wrote, “I bought these pants in the size 20, and they fit really well and are excellent quality.” They’re easy to wash, too: Just toss them in the washing machine—no dry cleaner trip required.
Price at time of publish: $98
Size Range: 00 - 24 | Colors: Black, Navy, Charcoal | Material: Polyester, Viscose, Elastane
Best Budget: Old Navy High-Waisted Pixie Skinny Ankle Pants for Women
These high-waisted, ankle-length pants have quite a few things going for them: First, they’re less than $50, which is excellent if you’re shopping on a budget. Second, they come in an incredibly wide size range—0 to 30, in both short and tall lengths, to be specific. Finally, the pants have a stretch fabric that is designed for comfort. What’s more, the pants have a smoothing effect and ‘Never Fade’ technology that keeps the pants from losing their shape and color over time.
Price at time of publish: $45
Size Range: 0 - 30, including Short and Tall | Colors: Navy, Black, Olive, Brown, Maroon | Material: Cotton, Rayon, Spandex
Best Designer : Theory Demitria Admiral Crepe Flared Pants
Those looking to splurge on a pair of designer pants should look no further than the Demetria Admiral Crepe Flared Pants from Theory. Designed to be effortlessly stylish, these pants have a subtly flared pant leg and a concealed side-zip closure for a sleek look, hip to toe. The center leg creasing makes legs look miles long, while the high waist flatters the midsection. Customers of these pants are pleased, saying that the pants are flattering on curvy frames on all ends of the height spectrum.
Price at time of publish: $285
Size Range: 0 - 12 | Colors: Navy, Black | Material: Triacetate, Polyester
Best on Amazon: Briggs New York All Around Comfort Pant
Available in pretty much every neutral shade that you might want, these high-waisted, loose-fitting pants would be an incredible workwear staple. With nearly 2,000 reviews and an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars, you can feel confident that these will be a good investment. Plus, at less than $50 for most pairs, they’re a steal.
Price at time of publish: $36 - $41 (price varies depending on color)
Size Range: 16 - 24, Short available | Colors: Black, Gray, Brown, Navy, Taupe | Material: Polyester, Rayon, Spandex
Most Versatile: Athleta Brooklyn Ankle Pants
If you are looking for a pair of work-appropriate pants that are also good for being up and moving all day long, these versatile ankle pants from Athleta are perfect. While they are definitely on the more athletic-wear side of things (rather than formal), they could still be dressed up for a casual work outfit if need be. You could easily throw a blazer and T-shirt on with these and look put-together enough for anything your workday might entail.
These pants would also be incredible for work travel—the wrinkle-resistant, stretch fabric is comfortable for a flight, yet can walk off the runway and into a conference room with ease.
Price at time of publish: $99
Size Range: 0 - 16, Short and Tall available | Colors: Green, Coral, Brown, White, gray, Black, Navy, Maroon | Material: Recycled Polyester, Spandex
Best Color Options: Wildfang The Essential Trouser
These pants from Wildfang are a great choice if you’re more interested in a cotton, breathable pant than you are in stretch (though these still have 2 percent spandex, too, so they’re not totally stiff). The cuff also allows you to roll the pants up to an ankle length or wear it all full length, making them particularly versatile. Plus, the colors range from neutral to fun and bold.
Price at time of publish: $108
Size Range: 0 - 26 | Colors: Black, Blue, Green, Pink, Orange, White | Material: Cotton, Spandex
Best Leather: Banana Republic The Straight Leather Pant
These leather pants are as good as it gets, and their price reflects the quality. The high-waisted, loose fit makes them a great option for workwear and dressier events. While we wish the size range (24 to 35, including both short and tall) was more expansive, it’s a wider range than you typically find in luxury leather goods.
Price at time of publish: $700
Size Range: 24 - 35, Short and Tall available | Colors: Black, White | Material: Leather, Polyester
Best Pleated: Express High-Waisted Pleated Ankle Pant
These Express pants are the perfect everyday pleated pants, ideal for everything from date night to important meetings. What's more, the ankle-length means they are great for displaying bold pairs of heels but can also be easily paired with flats or sneakers, too.
Price at time of publish: $70
Size Range: 2 - 18, Petite, Short and Tall | Colors: 9, including Black, White, Light Blue | Material: Polyester, Spandex
Best Ankle: Spanx The Perfect Pant, Slim Straight
In case you haven’t heard, people love Spanx dress pants. While the brand has tons of options for dress pants (all of which are great for curvy bodies, thanks to the brand’s famous stretchy, smoothing materials), these are the highest-rated ankle pants available. They also have a solid size range from XS to 3X in petite, standard, and tall.
Price at time of publish: $150
Size Range: XS - 3X, Petite and Tall available | Colors: Black, Navy, Navy/Gray Pinstripe | Material: Premium ponte fabric
Best Wide Leg: Eloquii High-Waisted Wide Leg Pant
Get in on the wide-leg trouser trend with these high-rise pants from Eloquii. Complete with slanted pockets and a belt that loops through and ties around the waist, the trousers are flattering and stylish. Plus, with sizes ranging from 14 to 28, there’s ample opportunity to find the perfect fit. Customers love these pants so much that they’re begging for more. One online reviewer said, “Please make these in all the basic colors and keep them in rotation. Some of us can not wear skinny-leg pants. These are fabulous, both dressy or casual.”
Price at time of publish: $90
Size Range: 14 - 28 | Colors: Black, White | Material: Woven polyester, Rayon, Twill
What To Look for in Dress Pants for Curvy Figures
As Arad explains, there are a few different things to keep in mind when shopping for dress pants that will work for a curvier body. “The first is fabric—a stretchy or ’technical’ fabric will have more give and will ultimately be more comfortable than a stiffer fabric with no flex,” Arad explains.
The next is fit. If you have a curvier figure, stick with a higher-waisted pant (and this goes for trousers, jeans, any pants at all), Arad says. A high-waisted pant is a great way to lengthen the leg line for any body type, but it’s also a great way to find pants that fit comfortably if you have hips that are wider proportionally than your waist. A high-waisted, wide-leg pant can also make sitting more comfortable if you tend to need more room in the stomach, hip, butt, or legs.
What are dress pants?
Technically speaking, pants are just pants, right? So what is it that makes dress pants different from all the other options on the market? According to Arad, it all comes down to fit. Dress pants tend to fit differently than skinny jeans or leggings. In other words, they shouldn’t be skin-tight and made from fabric like denim or cotton (though there are exceptions to the latter, depending on silhouette).
Office culture also varies widely on what is considered work appropriate, so you need to also take into account your office’s dress code—which may be formal or casual. You can never go wrong a little overdressed with a traditional trouser cut and material, like J.Crew High-Rise Cameron Pant In 4-Season Stretch or Old Navy High-Waisted Pixie Pants.
How should dress pants fit?
When it comes to fit, dress pants should skim the body, says Arad. Well-fitting dress pants are also defined by length, too.
“Dress pants should be hemmed to the shoe you’re wearing and hit about 1/4 or 1/8th of an inch above the heel of your shoe,” Arad explains. “If you’re wearing a more casual dress pant with a flat or sneaker, these should generally hit at the ankle or a little above for a cropped look.”
How to style dress pants?
Styling dress pants is probably not as difficult as you think it will be. Whether you’re opting for wide-leg, statement-making dress pants or a more simple, classic cropped pair, you can likely pair your pants with items you already have in your closet currently.
“A slightly cropped dress pant with a ballet flat or dressy sandal is a perfect way to wear dress pants for summer and can give the whole look a more casual feeling,” Arad suggests. “A long dress pant worn with high heels is also so classic and flattering.”
Why Trust Byrdie
Olivia Muenter is a fashion commerce contributor for Byrdie, and she has been published in Refinery29, Bustle, Fashionista, Glamour, and Woman’s Day, among others. Her search for this piece covered retailers of all types. For criteria, she evaluated customer reviews, size range, versatility, and style.
Caitlyn Martyn is a commerce writer on staff at Byrdie, where she has experience testing and recommending fashion and beauty picks. Her search for this piece covered items of all price points and styles.