Promises, promises. Rifle through the racks at almost any store and find pants — trousers and jeans — that beckon, vowing to be, “slimming,” or “gravity-defying” or to “lift and contour, sculpt and shape.” Bottom line, ahem: Buying a go-to pant is a real challenge.
A recent survey commissioned by Talbots found 76 percent of 2,000 women surveyed say that they don’t wear half the pants they already own. Comfort is key, as 90 percent of respondents ranked that the most important criteria. According to the survey, 36 percent want pants to smooth their stomach while 23 percent are concerned with the “rear view” and 22 percent are focused on slimmer legs. The data, “corroborated loud and clear that the struggle is real,” says Deborah Cavanagh, Talbots’ senior vice president and chief marketing officer of the quest for the perfect pant. “Sometimes buying pants is actually more emotionally challenging than buying a bathing suit.” Underscoring the point, according to the survey, nearly four in five agree that great pants relieve insecurities they have about their body.
Social media influencer Mercedes Gonzales, 22, of Smithtown, whose fashion-focused Instagram account, @styleitwithtrix, includes her well-dressed Chihuahua Trix (she doesn’t wear pants) concurs. “For me, I’m self conscious about my inner and outer thighs. I can honestly say that it took me years to find the perfect jeans. I’m known to have a curvier figure and the best jeans lift you up and hug you in the right places,” she says. Though Gonzalez has tried “more affordable” brands, she’s sold on L’Agence, a California brand that starts at $225. “I can’t live without them.”
Pants have been elusive for plus size influencer and stylist Meaghan O’Connor, 34, of Atlantic Beach, (@meaghanpoconnor on Instagram).
“It’s taken me the majority of my adult life to find them. I remember vividly when I worked in corporate, it was a real struggle to find something to look how I wanted to look … fashionable, tailored and polished. It’s incredibly frustrating.” Today, her search has ended with a particular style — the “Allie” from Lane Bryant. She looks for mid — or high-rise waists with straight, slim legs and a sturdier knit fabric.
Talbots has tweaked its jeans and trousers with a slimming new fabrication — cotton bi-stretch — and added new style and color options. And they’re making promises too, dubbing the collection, “WOW. Guaranteed.”
How to shop for the perfect pant
DO YOU Plus-size influencer and stylist Meaghan O’Connor says that the fitting room experience should “mimic your every day life” so, wear your regular undergarments and bring the shoes you know you’ll likely wear with your trousers, which is "especially helpful in places that offer alterations.”
COMFORT IS QUEEN If pants bind, cut-in or chafe, know that these pants will be relegated to the rarely- or never-worn pile that probably already exists in your closet.
GO FOR FEEL Influencer Mercedes Gonzalez wants her pants to be “buttery soft” while O’Connor goes for a smooth, structured knit. There have been huge strides in stretch technology, which creates a supportive, flattering, comfortable silohette. O’Connor urges shoppers to source “better fabrics and craftsmanship …. you’ll be better off in the long run.” Again, if pants don’t feel good against your skin, they are not going to make it into your rotation.
SIZE DOESN'T MATTER “Fit is so important,” says Gonzalez adding that pants sizes may vary depending on the brand and that shouldn’t deter you. “Size is just a number on a tag," O’Connor agrees. "The focus should always be about fit — ignore the number and just find what you feel great in.”