Les Essentiels: Little Black Pants

Two casual outfits featuring Little Black Pants. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

When I’m not wearing jeans, you’ll find me in a pair of Little Black Pants. They’re one of my can’t-live-without wardrobe foundation pieces. They’re what I wear when I want to dress up, but will also make a casual outfit look more sophisticated.

Above: L’Agence skinny crop pants  | Joseph wool trousers

I find a slim or straight leg cut that hits just above my ankle is the most versatile style. Comfort is non-negotiable for me, so I prefer a bit of stretch.

Tried and True…

Eileen Fisher Stretch Crepe. These are great for travel, and come in several styles and silhouettes. They look polished, and are comfortable across a range of temperatures.

Slim Ankle (Petite / Plus) | Bootcut (Petite / Plus) | Straight Leg (Petite / Plus)

And for those who prefer Navy, an option in Stretch Crepe: Slim Ankle (Petite)

Eileen Fisher Ponte Knit. Also a good choice for travel during cooler seasons. Wear to the office, or out to dinner.

Slim Leg (PetitePlus) | Straight Leg (Petite / Plus)

And I feel like a million bucks every time I wear my leather blocked leggings (Petite / Plus).

Black Denim

My current faves are these Kimmie Crops. Lightweight fabric, great fit and some stretch.

Straight Leg (PetitePlus) | Bootcut (Petite / Plus)

New And Noteworthy

J.Crew Cameron pant in black. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

At times, I’d like to have an option that’s a little more tailored, but still comfortable. I’ve just found one that’s right in the ballpark, the J.Crew “Cameron” pant. It’s available in Regular, Petite and Tall lengths. And in Navy, Grey and other colors as well. According to the store Sales Associate, these look good on everyone she’s seen try them on, across a range of body types. I tried the Petites, and the fit was great except they were a little shorter than I prefer. The store had sold out of my size in the Regulars, so I have them on order (both Black and Navy) and will report back. The fabric looks good, and they’re machine washable. I think they run a size small, and found one size up from my usual was a good fit, slim but not super snug.

Do you have a favorite style of Little Black Pants?

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22 Comments

  1. Nanci
    September 14, 2017 / 4:34 am

    I just bought the JCrew Cameron pant! I purchased the royal blue to go with a cashmere wrap. I love them. Heading back to purchase the black, for my trip to Adan Fran next week.

  2. Susan D.
    September 14, 2017 / 4:36 am

    I love the Eileen Fisher Crepe pants that you mention. In fact, I have two pairs of them!

  3. September 14, 2017 / 6:10 am

    Speaking of tailored and comfortable, I just sewed strips of elastic into the backs of all my daughter’s jeans (but you could do it with dress pants, too). What a difference it makes! It keeps them from gaping without making them too tight. Very easy and minimal sewing required. Lots of DIYs on Pinterest.

  4. Patricia
    September 14, 2017 / 6:16 am

    My new favorite black pants are the Juliet by Chicos.

    • Beth Lowe
      September 14, 2017 / 7:11 am

      I am also a great fan of the Eileen Fisher crepe pants. I just purchased a pair this week in the dark grey. I am planning on replacing my black crepe pants after this season. I always have the Eileen Fisher crepe pants, a pair of black denim, and a pair of black trouser pants.

  5. PatriciaB
    September 14, 2017 / 6:16 am

    For some reason, the EF crepe pants just don’t suit me, even though I keep trying them. Instead, my go-to black pants are Talbots refined bi-stretch straight leg pants. I love the side zipper as it doesn’t add bulk in the tummy area. Mine are several years old, but still in great condition. I find they can be dressed up or dressed down.

  6. Nancy
    September 14, 2017 / 6:21 am

    I have two pairs of Eileen Fisher black crepe pants and love them and wore them all over Paris – also have a grey pair that seem to be an odd color of grey – basically only go well with black so far.

  7. Sally
    September 14, 2017 / 7:10 am

    thanks for this posting Susan! The cleaners just ruined my new pair of EF gray crepe pants by putting a huge snag in them. I was wondering if this would happen to these pants….But fortunately I have two black pair as a back up. One of my dilemmas is finding black pants that will reach and cover the tops of my Aquatalia waterproof booties! Some how it looks ok if I wear jeans that are rolled up at the cuff with these booties but if I wear the booties with those EF crepe pants it looks stupid. I know I’ve seen actresses and models wearing pants that don’t cover their booties but…..
    So what do you do about this??
    When I have a chance I’ll look into the JCrew black pants and those black jeans. I think I just bought a pair of AG black jeans that look good.
    Another thing that’s difficult for me is finding the right ‘light weightness’ of a jean on line. So trial and error there. If the AG’s are very stretchy I’ve found I have to size down one size.
    Currently my wardrobe that I’ve packed is boring beyond belief–I don’t seem to find stuff as stylish as yourself, but at least it’ll be comfortable–it’s almost all EF!
    You’ve taught me so much about packing, cosmetics and wardrobes, I just can’t thank you enough! XO

  8. Kathleen Ludgate
    September 14, 2017 / 8:08 am

    My favorite black pants are also Juliet by Chicos as well as their Elyse. Elyse has a zipper and stitched creases. Very dressy with jackets. Love the ponte knit in both. I also have Renuar pull on stretch narrow pants in a variety of colors that I buy at my local boutique.

  9. September 14, 2017 / 8:13 am

    Cannot have s functional wardrobe without my skinny black knit pants! I wear them weekly and they are so versatile!

  10. Cathy D.
    September 14, 2017 / 9:00 am

    Don’t know what I would do without the Eileen Fisher crepe slim ankle pants. I’m short, so the regulars are almost full length on me, which I like. I now have 4 pairs (2 black, navy and white) and my spring, summer and fall wardrobes would not function without them. I also have 2 pairs of Eileen Fisher’s skinny black ponte pants and 2 pairs of her leggings, one ponte for winter and one lightweight for the other seasons.
    Susan, you turned me on to Eileen Fisher a few years ago, and I do not know what I would do without her pieces in my wardrobe. Thank you so much!

  11. September 14, 2017 / 9:01 am

    J. Crew Pixie Pants. Hands down, my go-to black pants!!

    • vtaloni
      September 15, 2017 / 4:00 am

      I have the Pixies also. In fact, I’d worn/washed mine so many times, I just tossed them. Need to get another pair. I also have the white and khaki.

      • September 15, 2017 / 11:19 am

        They are the greatest item J. Crew has ever created!!!

        • vtaloni
          November 21, 2017 / 2:59 am

          On sale right now! 40% off.

  12. Nancy K
    September 14, 2017 / 9:07 am

    I don’t wear jeans much; I don’t find them as comfortable as you do. I can’t imagine a long flight in jeans. I wear a lot of black and gray and that includes my pants. I look for high quality fabric with stretch to make my pants, but I have not been able to find a comparable fabric to Eileen Fisher’s stretch crepe without having polyester in the blend. I keep looking. I can find wool crepe with some lycra and I use stretch silk to line them. I don’t have to put up with polyester lining and don’t have to pay a fortune to get silk lined wool pants.

  13. September 14, 2017 / 9:29 am

    My go-to black pants are the Eileen Fisher crepe or ponte knit. Several times a week they are the base I build my outfit around. They’re amazing!!

  14. Nicole K
    September 14, 2017 / 1:36 pm

    Susan I am loving the look of those Seven/7 Kimmie Crops!

    My black wardrobe:
    EF Crepe Slim Ankle
    EF Ponte
    NYDJ Alina
    Just added Vince Crop Stretch at Nordstrom sale (will likely replace my EF ponte-more interesting cut)

    Looking at J Crew Cameron and maybe some velvet wide legs this season!

  15. Sadie
    September 14, 2017 / 2:04 pm

    I’m curvier. For a while NYDJ was doing a Bi-Stretch slim pant that was my platonic ideal. Not only are they not making them any more, I’ve hunted down all the ones I can find on eBay!

  16. Linda
    September 14, 2017 / 11:29 pm

    Your Eileens are my favorites, too. Crepe for summer, ponte for fall and winter. I live in fear of either one being discontinued!

  17. rukshanaafia
    September 20, 2017 / 1:41 am

    A lot of black trousers (UK here!) – 2 pairs in linen for summer ; 1 each cord , silk velvet , noil silk . The 2 pairs of black jeans I’m unsure about keeping but the others get regular use all year . In fact I’m just back from a few days in Berlin and recommend noil silk as an adaptable fabric for the range of temperatures they subject you to nowadays in ‘planes/airports !

  18. November 18, 2017 / 5:56 am

    When I went to the States (Seattle) for a visit, I was sure to stop by Nordstrom’s for a pair of Eileen Fisher crepe pants. I can see why you recommend them so highly! I only had one day to shop and had to be efficient with my time, so thank you for the recommendations.

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