Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Aella is a full-on clothing line, but we’re here to talk about pants.
Work-appropriate pants can be hard to find and even harder to get excited about buying. They’re typically dry-clean only (annoying) and can look and feel stuffy. Aella — a brand focused on modern workwear — wants to make better ones, with comfort being the core mission.
Founder Eunice Cho started the brand when she was interviewing for business school and had to wear suits for the first time. “I hated wearing wool suits. They’re uncomfortable and I felt shapeless,” she says, explaining that her clothes seemed to undermine the confident persona she hoped to project while interviewing. “I believe clothing should be an armor and allow you to feel powerful and confident — and comfort is the biggest factor in making that happen.”
Aella, and its hero item — the pants — was born when Cho graduated. Aella’s pants are meant to make wearing trousers comfortable to work in thanks to innovative, machine-washable fabrics used for business-appropriate silhouettes. Think a yoga-pants feel, but with pockets, an actual waistline, and a zipper — no faux-fly to be found. “We’re always looking for new fabrics,” Cho says, “but a fabric would never become a ‘signature’ unless we’ve tested it through small-batch product launches and substantial internal wear testing.”
The customer-favorite fabric is an Italian knit jersey called Matte Skin, a bonded knit made of two fused layers of elastic, four-way knit stretch. These properties make for pants that retain color and shape, even in the washing machine. It’s used for the brand’s best-seller, the Ankle Skinny ($198), which comes in mid-rise, high-rise, and a long length for tall customers. It appealed to Cho because of its similarity to the fabrics we exercise in. In fact, she says, “it’s been used for luxury lingerie, shapewear, and swimwear, which drew me to it even more, because fabrics used for undergarments sit as closely to the body as possible and have to feel amazing on the skin. I wanted our pants to feel that way.”
They’re certainly not cheap at just shy of $200, though at least there’s money (and time) to be saved by skipping the dry cleaning.