I’ve had a work pants conundrum for the last six months. I mentioned in a previous post that I’d gotten my old work pants altered to fit my new measurements. They’re ok but the fit is really loose everywhere now. They don’t look like boyfriend pants; they’re baggy in the seat and thigh but still snug around the legs. It no longer looks right on me, so they’ll have to be donated. I only have one black pair that I’d consider work-worthy (these Target Mossimo ankle pants) but my current pair is faded already. The Mossimo ankle pants have a bit too much stretch. What was a form-fitting pant (see photos on the Target website) becomes saggy all over at the end of an 8-hour day.

So we’re back on the hunt for functional, shape-keeping, pocketed, slim-fit, slim-legged work-appropriate black pants (use all the adjectives!) Last year I was on a quest and found a solution; this year I also have my changing body to deal with. Enter my favorite store–you guessed it–Japan’s answer to normcore: Uniqlo! I have been toeing the casual line at work with these:

This is as dressy as I’ve gotten lately at work. Rising temperatures means I reach for loose cottons and rayons as they are comfortable to wear.

What can I say, I’m a really big fan of the Ultra Stretch denim line. On my recent trip to SF, I bought two pairs of Ultra Stretch denim: the ankle length and the 33″ inseam model. Why two different pairs? I’ve been burned by “black” jeans at Uniqlo before–I picked up their current black model from over the winter which promptly faded to grayish-black after the first wash (I turned them inside out, washed it on cold, dried on medium heat.) I knew that previous iterations of the black 33″ inseam jean were truly black, so my mission once I got to SF was to dig through the piles and check the SKU’s to find the older model.

At this point you probably think I’m insane for being so picky, but I wasn’t about to purchase the same gray-black jean again. It turns out the SF Union Square store had plenty of the true black Ultra Stretch, but what I didn’t account for was the sizing issues. When I first purchased from this line last year, I bought my true size at the time (29), not knowing how much it was going to stretch. I subsequently bought a 28 and two 27’s as I lost weight, but I quickly realized how giving the jeans really were. This time around I was less afraid to size down twice.

A note re: Uniqlo’s denim, in case you haven’t already gleaned it from my wall of text: each of the denim cuts seem to vary wildly in sizing and fabric integrity (when it comes to colorfastness.) I’ve noticed that the dark navy Ultra Stretch holds its dye well and doesn’t fade very much, but the more recent black jean has gray showing through (even before washing!) Sizing is a mess. When I bought my 27s earlier this year, I had to return one of them because it didn’t fit like the other jean. The tag said 27 but it had so much slack in the waistband toward the back. Obviously we all don’t have the opportunity to shop in-store to try everything, and reviews on the Uniqlo websites don’t talk about the variations between the different lines. For example, I’m wearing a 26 in the ankle length but a 25 in the 33″ inseam pair. The ankle length (not photographed here) was a perfect length for me, but I’m 5’1″. It will be shorter on someone with longer legs. It makes online shopping a lot more challenging when there’s little standardization of sizing, and Uniqlo seems to manufacture each lot slightly differently.


Granted, I know not everyone’s workplace will be happy with them wearing what is basically upgraded leggings. I try to rotate by wearing skirts or dresses at work just so I don’t get complacent. But these pants are really comfortable and my older self likes the conservative mid-rise and well-appointed pockets that shape my derriere and provide housing for my smartphone/pedometer. And because I’m strange and I like to crawl about at work–I have literally run in these jeans before, and moving about is no problem. Just like how they had dancers promoting the jeans in the ad campaign from last year–when I regain my former flexibility, I theoretically could dance in these pants.

I would like to eventually find a more refined pair for work, but for now I hope you’ll keep my sartorial substituting a secret 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!



4 thoughts on “Masquerading

  1. I’ve been sneaking my black skinnies around as work-appropriate, haha. I feel like they’re very neutral, no one seems to look twice at them, as long as I wear nice shoes haha. My Uniqlo jeans do seem to have faded awkwardly/quickly as well, like there’s a faded mark where I usually keep my lip gloss in my pocket. It’s sad because the fit is so good! I wonder if I could dye them again, but I’ve never tried dyeing anything before.

    1. Same here! I might try that on my gray/black pair, maybe in the future. I’ll have to read up on the dying process though.

      I agree with you though–if the top is clean, and the shoes are leather/good condition, I think the skinnys can scoot on by. However IMO the 5-pocket/4-pocket styling is what gives it away so I’ve been trying to pair it with tunic-length tops to disguise it even more.

  2. I don’t wear pants very often to work, but on the rare occasion I do, they are always black skinnies and a long top. No one notices… I think 🙂

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