We’re on our second snow day in a row here today, making this a four-day weekend. Two and a half more days until Florida. In the meantime though, I’m here. Since I don’t work in an office (unless my sofa counts), I don’t actually have to dress particularly professionally that often. When I do, it’s really just about stepping up my casual look, which often consists of the perfect black skinny pants or in more casual situations, a pull-on legging. (Not the workout variety, mind you.)
This fall and winter I’ve been wearing a larger variety of non-perfect and perfect black skinny pants than usual, as a few companies sent me pieces to try out. Here are my perfect black skinny pants findings.
A Ruby is a local Boston area startup led by Avra Myers who believes that less is more and that a wardrobe revolves around five essential basics: a knit pant that works anywhere, a white shirt that can be casual or dressy, a tank that can be layered or worn solo, a fun and flattering graphic tee, and a comfortable, feminine V-neck sweater. Sizing goes from 1-5 and fits sizes 0-18. No muss no fuss. Myers sent me a pair of A Ruby Pull-On Moto Pants, which I’ve been wearing a lot. They’re made from a mid-weight synthetic (but soft) fabric that doesn’t stretch out, sag at the crotch, or bump out at the knee. The waist band is wide, which I like, and twists a little bit, as they tend to do, but not too much. The proportions and fit are excellent. I really like them.
The folks behind the men’s brand Bonobos has recently launched AYR, a line of sleek essentials for women. The company invited me to the Bonobos Guide Shop in Boston for an AYR pop-up shop and a fitting for the perfect pair of skinny jeans. The publicists were so lovely and the clothing is amazing. Very well cut from gorgeous fabrics. In addition to my complimentary skinny jeans, which are made from a great stretchy fabric (denim is their specialty; the founder worked in denim at Madewell), I ordered an amazing jacket I wore all fall. I will be shopping here again.
Several years ago I purchased a pair of Rag & Bone cargo leggings that I loved so much I ordered another pair. I wear them incessantly. They’re lined wool so they’re quite warm and not itchy (an issue for me). Rag & Bone don’t make this style anymore, of course, but their Elettra leggings are probably worth trying out (and they’re on sale). I love Rag & Bone, and there’s a boutique in Boston that I assiduously avoid for just this reason.
• • •
J.Crew is of course a standby, though I don’t normally do well with their tailored pants or jeans, I think it’s the rise that is never quite right for me. I do sometimes have luck with tighter fitting legging-like styles. (As for the Dreamy Cotton Pant, I live in them. Like seriously all day every day.). The Minnie Stretch Twill Pant look to be similar to a style I purchased last year that work well with blazers and booties.
If you read StyleCarrot regularly you might remember when I partnered with Lou & Grey to profile the new Lou & Grey store in the Natick Mall this past October. Owned by the same parent company as Ann Taylor, Lou & Grey is a cross between Madewell and Eileen Fisher — loungey with a touch of edginess. The stores are gorgeous , the looks well styled and comfortable, and the prices excellent. On my visit, I purchased a pair of leggings that I’ve worn quite a bit, made from a tech-like fabric and accented with slanted zippers. They’re no longer available but the current Ponte Leggings are surely worth a try.
As I said, autumn brought a windfall of offers to try what each company touted as the perfect black skinny pants. When a publicist for SlimSation, a womenswear brand launched in 2012 offered to send me a pair of perfect black skinny pants to try, I sent her my address. The line, which focuses on basics pant styles that is supposed to be a kind of relaxed fit shapewear, almost, and includes extended sizing. The contoured waistband is meant to help present a slimmer silhouette, smoothing the lower tummy and shaping the hips. I’ve worn the SlimSation skinny pant a few times, and while I like the stretchy fabric, I feel like the cut is more of a casual, almost activewear piece. It may be because I ordered a size too large. I enjoy them on my brisk exercise walks around the Charles River.
• • •
I live for Madewell denim. When I purchase jeans, I always buy Madewell, and have for several years. The fabric, the cut, the color, the style are all perfect. My current rotation includes lightweight dark rinse jeans, thicker hi-rise gray denim, and new this fall, black denim with holes and an unfinished hem. I have not tried the sateen style I recommend here, but I’m confident they’re excellent, as I am a devotee of Madewell High Riser Skinny Skinny styles.
At the risk of losing my fashion cred, I am going to admit I own very many pairs of perfect black skinny pants from Target. Yes, it’s true, under the Mossimo label there are stretchy nylon/spandex leggings cut in a five-pocket jean style that come in black and heathered charcoal, and I unabashedly adore them. They shrink like nobody’s business, and the consistently comes loose and pops off, unable to be repaired, but I keep buying them and wearing them. They’re inexpensive, fit perfectly, and look good (until you wash and dry them one too many times).
Finally, Vince. I think of Vince as the big name brand that does a stellar job with the whole wardrobe essentials concept. Admittedly, I have not yet tried a legging by Vince, but I love the look of the Vince Satin Side Strapping Ponte Legging and imagine that it could indeed be a pair of perfect black skinny pants, with its high waist and sexy satin tuxedo stripe panel.