Monday, October 19, 2009

Quest To Find The Perfect Pant

So I've been on the search for the perfect pair of basic black pants. I had a couple pairs, but we wear jeans to work, so my black pants have quietly fallen off. Kinda like Mya, but I digress.
You see how the lady's pants fit in the photo above. I LOVE that fit. I remember when Nordstrom starting using that ad campaign, I was thinking damn, those pants are fly. I'm digressing yet, again.

I like my dress pants low rise, with a wide straight leg and not tight on the booty (or tight anywhere for that matter). Sales girls always try to give me tight and/or stretchy-fitting pants because I'm slim. They always think I must want to show off my figure. Maybe because they're young... I wore tighter pants when I was a teenager too.

My thing is: anywhere I'm wearing dress pants, I don't want my booty showing: work, church, conferences, etc. It's just inappropriate. There's no quicker way for people to NOT take you seriously than to show them an imprint of your crotch.

Besides tight, let me say what else I do NOT want in a basic black pant. Jersey, knit, skinny, cuffed, embellished, pinstriped and/or sailor pants. (When I said basic, that's what I meant).

So I went to The Limited. I used to work there about 6 years ago and they're the premier place for pants (or at least that's what the sales tapes said), but they've fallen off. All the fits that I love have been discontinued b/c they weren't doing so well. I actully still love their wide leg pants, but they only do wide legs in special colors, so no black. Stellar customer service at the Limited though.

Next up, Banana Republic. Nice lined pants, but the waistband was uncomfortable. Good customer service, awesome sales and coupons.

Ann Taylor, nice quality pants. Dry clean only looking pants (LOL!), but the waistband was WAY too high. (You all know your mom still wears pants on her waist and not on her hip like we do). Customer service was wack. They only talked to me when I asked a question and the lady pointed me in the right direction rather than walking me to the correct section, there was no door greeter either. I felt like they were just waiting for me to leave and it wasn't anywhere near closing time. I didn't feel welcomed at all.

I'm starting to believe that more companies than just mine have relaxed their dress codes because this time 10 years ago, I'd be tripping over dress pants in stores. Perplexed, I hit up my Twitfam for ideas and they gave me a bevy of options I wasn't thinking about. So in two hours I hit:

Express: Good fitting pants, but the black pants only had flared legs. Not feeling that. Decent customer service, they were knowledgeable about the products and pulled sizes for me, but didn't go out of their way to start fitting rooms. I don't expect too much from them since so many high school and college students shop and work there. I don't think their marketing plan includes acting like a Nordstrom sales associate. (Speaking of Nordstrom, I didn't even carry my broke tail in there. I'm on a recession budget out here).

Gap: They only had black khakis that they were calling dress pants and black itchy pants that I'm not sure why anyone would buy. Good customer service here, friendly, knowledgeable associates.

Old Navy: They USED to have well-fitting dress pants a long time ago. I guess the economy is forcing stores to only stock what they sell very well because they only had black khakis. Good customer service, especially for a discount store. The associate I asked wasn't all that knowledgeable about the merchandise, but she took me to someone who was instead of sending me off and I totally appreciated that.

Club Monaco: They had some NICE pants. I've actually never been here and they had a hot little pencil skirt that I might add to the wardrobe REAL SOON. Kay put me up on game via Twitter. And just like she said the pants "fit the waist, butt, fairly fitted to the knee, then kinda boot cut." They made my butt look NI-ICE (yes, two syllable nice). IF I didn't find the pair I actually bought I would have got these, but they were on the reasonably expensive side (if that's not an oxymoron) and I didn't LOVE the material.

NY & Co: Saving the best for last. The reason NY & Co is head and shoulders above the rest is because they had SO many options of basic, black pants. They specialize in the jersey pant, which I am not on AT ALL, but their signature pants are the 3rd Avenue pant which is low rise/straighter leg and the 7th Avenue pant which is a midrise/flare (I think) and these two pants came in different colors, lengths and material (material is super important).

Their customer service was also on point. The security guard even spoke when I came in. The sales associate wasn't as knowledgeable as I would have liked her to be, but she was extremely helpful. She was actually only unsure about one thing, but you know I set the bar high. Please believe if I was working at a retail store right now I could give you a dissertation about the cut, fit, material and pricing options for any item in the store.

Also in NY&Co's favor is the price of the pants. They were 1/3 of what the Club Monaco pants cost and with sales and coupons they were 1/6 of what the Club Monaco pants costs. (That's right I got about 50%off) Woo Hoo!!!

The only thing I didn't like about the pants were the inseam. Their "average" inseam seemed a bit short for me to wear a 3-inch heel with. I bought the tall and am just going to have it tailored. A small price to pay for a perfect fit.

Last, but certainly not least NY&Co is practical. I believe the pants I bought are machine washable and I used to shop there in high school, so I know the clothes last long (b/c I have a couple of pair of jogging pants from "Lerner NY" that are still going strong). Yes, high school.

It makes perfect sense that two accountants (money savvy folks who have to wear dressier clothes than the rest of us to work everyday) recommended NY&Co. Thanks to K to the and @Lezlie27 (Lez also sent me that coupon).

This post is completely pointless (since everyone isn't shaped like me and will inevitably like different pants than I do), but I feel like it's good information, so if for nothing else this will serve as an archive for me when I'm in the market again.

I hope you enjoyed and I'll still post in the morning.
P.S. I have to find a new blog template. I don't think I said that much, but this post looks a million miles long.


antithesis said...

I like ny &co. Used to work there the summer after junior year. Basically, I learned from this post to keep shopping where I've been shopping. They send great coupons and I like that I've gotten really cute stuff from them for $5 or $10 with the right coupons. If they could be more consistent with cute accessories, I'd live in their fashions. As of late tho, they've been disappointing. Still trying to find themselves after leaving the limited brand fam.

South Loop Social Light said...

Some of my slim friends like H&M for black dress pants too. I work for a publishing company and a dress code is pretty non-existent. I'm more of a dress/skirt/legging type of gal!! But since I'm only 5'2" I always had luck at Express since they had the shorter length.

K to the... said...

Aaaaww...thanks for the shoutout! NY&Co is my favorite store for work clothes.

T said...

@ SLSL, I didn't even think about H&M for pants. I'll give them a whirl next time around.

Anonymous said...

You got to do Ann Taylor Loft: