In Search of the Perfect Pair of Pants: Shopping List Part Deux

Back in October 2010 I blogged about the quest I’m on for the perfect pair of pants that carry me from bike saddle (with comfort!) to board meetings (with style!).  I didn’t actually heat up the debit card yet, as I kept finding more possibilities and need help narrowing them down.

As a recap of the faults I find with most of the pants out there, for me the pants fail if:
  • They look like I could go bouldering in them.
  • They make a swishy sound when I walk.
  • The detailing screams “sportswear!” (Ann Taylor and Liz Claiborne do not make me wear their names on my butt).
  • The legs flare too much at the bottom.

Here’s Part Deux of the list—hoping for feedback on ones you’ve worn and liked.

Clever Cycles Stealth Trousers: Unisex. Great review and description by Lovely Bike blogger. Not crazy about the elasticized waistband in back, although I get their reasoning that this keeps you from getting cut by the waistband. Flat seams and apparently some clever tailoring so they don’t bind or cut. Just not sure how much “poof” I’d end up with in a pair that covers my behind and then nips in at my waist. Charcoal only, sizes 2-16. $157.

Terry Kavu Vamos Pant: Pant legs roll up and snap to stay out of the way of the chain. Nothing in description to tell me whether there’s a gusset or at least flat seams. Trouser style, only available in navy, $70.

Isis 5-Star Pant: Looks like comfy fabric; described as “easy care” which may be a good sign (or may mean they look like old-lady polyester when you get up close). Only available in black; sizes run 2-14, $75.

Isis Grand Tour Pant: Another possibility. Black only, $69.

Isis Cassandra Pant: A little sporty but not in an obvious way. Color is “tar” (dark gray), $110.

Athleta Passage Pant: Content is polyester/wool/spandex; described by several reviewers on their site as itchy, which would be a problem for me personally because I really react to anything other than merino. Style a bit on the casual side but cute. Available in sizes 0-16 with petite/regular/tall inseam length options, espresso is only color, $90.

Athleta Skinny Dipper Pant: Fabric described as soft corduroy might be okay. Several color options with artsy names like asphalt and tapenade; you’ll want to look at the swatches. $90.

Athleta Slimline Packable Pant: Anything “packable” typically is a soft, crushable fabric, which bodes well for biking comfort. Slim-cut legs wouldn’t catch; one review mentions them as comfortable for an eight-mile round trip bike commute. They do have ankle zips which puts this a bit on the sporty side, but tucking them into boots would hide this; another review said “think leggings with seams” (referring to a pin tuck on the fronts/backs of the legs). The otherwise usually wonderful product display on the Athleta site doesn’t tell me what my butt would look like though…. Three colors (heather, “falcon” and black), $79. 

Athleta Fusion Pant:  Fairly yoga but with rear pockets. Available in black, grey (“asphalt”) and brown (“falcon”). $79, sizes XXS-XL (an indicator of the yoga market assumptions).

WinterSilks Crepe de Chine Flat Front Pant:  Personally I’m not a fan of side seam pockets. Why I’d want a pair of pants that flares out right where I do, I couldn’t tell you. But if you like those, these might be your deal. I don’t think of silk as an incredibly durable fabric and having to hand wash is a thumbs down but it’s certainly comfortable and beautiful. Available in Seabreeze (kind of a turquoise) and Taupe (a fairly dark brown interpretation of taupe based on the screen swatch). Comes in Misses or Petites, S-XL, $44.95.

Not pants, but a fun option: Cable tights from Isis available in four colors with some matching tops available on the site. Throw on a skirt and boots and you’re good to go. $69

Your turn

Have feedback on any of these? Other brands/styles to recommend? Or have you given up and you're now compromising either style or comfort in order to bike in work clothes?

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