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All I Want in This World Are Pants I Can Overeat In

One food writer’s journey for the perfect stretchy pants.

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A model wearing black pants and a white tee
Everlane Italian GoWeave Easy Pants ($88)

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“How was work today?”

“I had chocolate pudding cake.”

This is an excerpt from a real conversation I had last week, and similar to ones I have all the time because I am blessed to work at Bon Appétit.

Gchat: “Sorry I missed this, we were taste-testing jams.”

Text: “I’m not hungry for dinner tonight, I just ate pot roast and crepe cake.”

For the people who come up with the recipes, the workday is even more of a crazy stream of random dinners and desserts than what I taste for BA.com. They had to eat full-on Thanksgiving dinners all July. That’s a fuckton of turkey, my dudes.

On a given day after work, I might go to dinner at a newish restaurant, have drinks with writers and friends, or cook at home to try a recipe I’m psyched about from the latest issue. For this life that revolves around over-ordering “for research,” a person needs stretchy pants. And not leggings, “joggers,” or Spandex-nylon blends that slick against the skin like cruel body armor, but pants with completely elastic waists that expand as you decide to “get one of each” from the dessert menu. Fancy, work-appropriate, restaurant-ready stretchy pants.

Theory used to make the perfect pair (they were called the Korene Trinity II, lol) and that was what I was going to write about here, but it turns out the brand doesn’t make them anymore, an elastic tragedy. So I went on an IRL shopping mission — bad lighting in department store dressing rooms and everything — to find the perfect pair.


The $$$

There’s a lively foot-traffic shopping scene on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, but not so much inside the flagship Saks, where the cream-carpeted fourth floor was as quiet as church and just as unsuccessful at converting me.

At Eileen Fisher, I grabbed a pair of black Silk Georgette Crepe Slouchy Ankle Pants ($258), these sweatpant-ish jersey Slouchy Cropped Pants with Cuff ($198) and Lafayette 148’s Millennium Crepe Track Pants ($248) complete with racing stripe. I headed into the dressing room, all of which were empty on a Sunday afternoon because the internet.

But as it turns out, I found PERFECTION. The Eileen Fisher silk pants had a completely elastic expand-o waist, were a fancy drape-y silk material that looks expensive because it is, and had the delicious feeling of pajama pants. Those are all of my requirements.

The tuxedo-y ones from Lafayette 148 were equally perfect in comfort and ass-flattery, though not as lightweight. The racing/tuxedo stripe would pair excellently with a martini, and the crepe silk would easily make it possible for me to sit cross-legged at my desk. They had a sporty tie-waist that I could live with because the key was that it had room to grow. You’d have to hold both pants behind you and have me pick an arm to decide my favorite.

The second pair of Eileen Fisher pants — the gray jersey ones — fit great as well, and I’ve never felt a material that damn soft, but they were ultimately too casual for my mission. Do I still dream about the baby blanket fabric against my jiggly butt? Yes. Was the sole salesperson pissed when I said they all fit excellently and then didn’t buy any? Probably. I am waiting for all three of these pants to go on sale because I’m no stockbroker.


The Not-So-$$$

“Do you have stretchy pants?” I asked a sales associate at Club Monaco, whose eyes went straight to my (unremarkable, not pregnant) stomach. She directed me to snug dress pants with a spandex waist that expands about 3 millimeters — uh, no, that does not count. Same thing at the Banana. And the so-called Easy Pant at J.Crew — so close, but why the restricting metal closure!?! These would definitely need to be unbuttoned after a single dumpling.

The new Italian GoWeave Easy (ahem) Pants from Everlane were so close to perfect, had there not been an odd excess of fabric creating a balloon of air in the bladder region. And H&M had a $10 pair that looked $10.

The people who get it are the cartoon-obsessed geniuses at Uniqlo. I bought the Smart Style Ankle Length Pants ($30!!!) in both gray and blue last year and wear them all the damn time. They’re completely elastic at the waist and have a single-crease slacks look to them that tapers at the ankle. Are they as silky, drape-y, and luxurious as the Eileen Fisher pants? No. That’s a hard act to follow in a polyester-rayon blend. But they work. Overtime.