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What do both French gamines and American power execs reach for in their closet when they have zero time and need to exude perfection? The perfect black pant.

There’s a pair for every woman, and we’ve searched high, low and online for the best pairs. (You know, the ones that make your legs appear longer, your bottom seem shaplier and your tummy look flatter.)

From skinny to wide-leg and everything in between, check out the pants that you need in your closet stat.

Best Skinny Ankle: Aella

With a 27-inch inseam and made of stretchable polyamide that’s like yoga pant material with a bit of support, these pants ($132) work with a silk blouse for work and with a plaid flannel shirt for biking around town.

Aella, 143 N. Larchmont Blvd.;

Best Fashion Statement: Lanvin

Want to look super-chic yet not sacrifice comfort? How about a couturier’s version of sweat pants done up in satin ($740)? These will turn you into a street-style vision even if you just throw them on with a T-shirt.

Elyse Walker, 15306 Antioch St., Pacific Palisades; 310-230-8882 or

Best Crop Pant: Raquel Allegra

These trousers ($149) are short enough to show off those new shoes you’re so proud of, and the side zip makes for a nice clean silhouette.

Barneys New York, 9570 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; 310-276-4400 or

Best Wool: Everlane

This is what our mom used to call “a nice pair of slacks.” Wide-legged, with a non-itchy texture and a bit of two-way stretch, these look ultra-elegant when hemmed to be worn with a pair of ballet flats and a turtleneck.

Available at

Best Flare: J Brand

Yes, these pants ($228) are stretch denim, but they're as far from a casual pair of jeans as you can get. They’re high-waisted, which smooths your tummy, and have a 21-inch leg opening that makes even a thick leg look willowy--especially when worn over your favorite pair of short boots.

American Rag, 150 S. La Brea Ave.; 323-935-3154 or

Best Elastic Waist: James Perse

A wide band of elastic forms the waistband of these pants ($325), which are fitted with a back dart detail that hugs--but doesn’t stretch tight over--your bum. They’re medium-weight, so you can wear them year-round.

James Perse, 225 26th St. #7, Santa Monica; 310-656-2800 or

Best Dressy Pair: Saint Laurent Paris

This women’s tuxedo pant ($990) was worn by Angelina Jolie on the red carpet, and when you try it on, you’ll see why--the front darts keep the satin stripes exactly straight on the sides, and the low waist is super-sexy.

Saint Laurent Paris, 469 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills; 310-271-4110 or

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