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My Work Pant Rotation

For better or worse, the COVID pandemic definitely changed people's work routine and work wear. I was fortunate to be able to keep my job during the pandemic and was able to return to office once the lockdowns were lifted. I enjoy the office environment and find myself much more productive when I am there. But I enjoy being comfortable at work too. We have a pretty flexible dress code but I'm not the jeans everyday type of person. I find a variety of pant styles and colors to be the best.

For pant style, my go-to is a flex straight leg chino. The straight leg seems to the perfect not too skinny and not too baggy look and feel. Plus that bit of stretch mixed with performance cotton makes the pants so comfortable and so easy to mix and match with different types of clothes. It can be dressed up or dressed down with ease and they wash and travel well requiring minimal to no ironing once hung up or folded. 

As for color, here is where my real secret is. You need to have variety, but too much variety leads to extra costs, extra closet storage space, and extra laundry. I try to keep four colors of pants on hand plus a jean suitable for work. This is a total of five pants for work.

My go-to colors for chinos are:

  • Navy Blue
  • Khaki or Tan
  • Cream or Beige
  • Gray
This allows me to mix and match with ease. I can do each color a different day of the week. Or I can go Mon/Wed with one color and Tue/Thu with another. Then Friday for the pair of jeans which I then keep wearing over the weekend. I feel this color combo gives me the most flexibility with my wardrobe and keeps pants from what I call "going stale" in my closet.

I also like to mix and match styles. I am not a fan of buying the same branded pant in different colors. That can look boring too. There are so many places to shop and different ways to mix and match brands and fits - why not spread the love? One thing is for sure, I now always shop online. There is nothing more frustrating than wasting time in a store trying to find your size. No more! Some of my favorite places to look are:
  • Nordstrom Rack for a wide variety of economical and trendy brands all at great prices
  • Gap/Banana Republic/Old Navy (all under the same umbrella family but each with different price points and styles)
  • Outdoor brands like Eddie Bauer, Patagonia, North Face
  • Other "mall" brands like J Crew, Abercrombie, Scotch & Soda
  • Kohls or Macys for Dockers, Dickies, Ralph Lauren or their own private label brands
  • (less well known online spot for some amazing clothing deals but typically need to work with even number pant sizes like 32x32, 34x34, 36x32, etc.)
By the way, I was googling the names of different khaki colors for this post and came across a great guide to khakis on a men's style website called Primer Magazine. I particularly like their way of showing the different pant colors. It's pretty spot on in my opinion.