Dad Pants Are the Next Sweatpants (And They're Nothing Like Mom Jeans)

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While we’re definitely excited to start making plans that involve actually leaving our homes and, consequently, putting together “real” looks, we’re not entirely sure we’re ready to give up on the comfort our quarantine outfits have afforded us over the past year. As such, it appears many of us are on the hunt for items that bridge the gap between slouchy sweatpants and sleek skinny jeans. The latest example: Dad pants. Searches for the semi-tailored trouser are up 67 percent according to the global shopping platform ShopStyle. But what exactly are dad pants?

For starters, they’re way more comfortable than mom jeans. Dad pants are trousers that are pleated at the waist with a looser fit through the leg—though it’s worth noting that they aren’t bootcut or wide-leg. They’re just a loose, straight cut. And it’s the generous fit that makes them so incredibly comfortable…as does the fact that most of the styles found are made from lightweight materials that will let your legs breathe even as the temps heat up. So, without further ado, here are five dad-pant outfits to recreate ASAP, plus ten pairs of trendy trousers to play around with.

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how to wear dad pants with a t shirt
Christian Vierig/Getty Image

1. with A Vibrant T-shirt And Flat Sandals

A T-shirt, tank top or blouse in a bright print helps up the cool factor of basic beige trousers, especially if you opt for a chic French tuck. Choose equally stand-out sandals and a colorful tote to round out your look that can seamlessly take you from the farmers’ markets to brunch with the gals.

how to wear dad pants with a fitted top
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2. with A Fitted Top And Glam Accessories

Balance out the volume of your dad pants with a curve-hugging top or bodysuit. You can absolutely rock a sexier style—including a low-back tank or a V-neck blouse—but for dressier occasions we love the simplicity of a crewneck long-sleeve. Add a chunky chain necklace and some pointy-toe pumps in a bold animal print to complete the look.

how to wear dad pants with a blazer
Christian Vierig/Getty Image

3. with A Coordinating Blazer And Easy Blouse

If this trend has visions of Annie Hall dancing through your head, you’re not the only one. And while we’d gladly use Diane Keaton as fashion inspiration any day of the week, there are better ways to rock pleated pants in 2021 than with a matching vest and a wide-brim hat (sorry, Diane). Layer an easy blazer over a casual top, a short-sleeve Hawaiian shirt or graphic tee will do, and keep the rest of your accessories on the simpler side—seriously, don’t underestimate the power of plain white sneakers and some classic aviators. And don’t worry, the blazer doesn’t even need to be part of a matching suit, so long as it’s in a complimentary color or the same fabric.

how to wear dad pants with a tank top
Christian Vierig/Getty Image

4. with A Tank Top And Minimalist Accessories

Consider this minimalist ensemble your new summer uniform. Simply coordinate your tank with your pants, then loop a contrasting belt through the waist and slip on sandals and sunnies in a contrasting shade. Keep your handbag on the smaller side and bonus points if you match it to either your clothes or your accessories. We love the look of this black-and-white getup, but you could recreate it in shades of beige and brown or even tan and something more colorful (like bright pink or sage green) and still have a go-to ‘fit to wear until fall rolls around.

how to wear dad pants with sequins
Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images

5. with A Party Top And Heels

For those not yet ready to pull on their cocktail dresses for parties or nights on the town, dad pants can easily look just as festive. The key here is to choose bottoms in a color other than brown, tan or beige, and pair them with an over-the-top blouse, like one covered in sequins or trimmed with fringe or feathers. Add a pair of sleek high heels or pointy-toe flats and then pile on the glitzy jewelry before you head out the door. The result? You instantly look chic, polished and trendy.

everlane dad pants

1. everlane The Put-together Pleat Pants

This cropped pair works best for more casual ensembles, and is also available in black and a warmer brown hue. (P.S. there’s also a matching blazer, if you’re a suit kinda gal.)

Available in sizes 00 to 16

madewell dad pants

2. madewell Drapey Pleated Wide-leg Pants

Embrace the slouchy nature of these lightweight trousers and French tuck an oversize tee into the waistband.

Available in sizes 00 to 16, also Petite and Tall

tory burch dad pants

3. tory Burch Canvas Pleated Trousers

Be sure to fold or hang these trousers properly to maintain those crisp lines down the front.

Available in sizes 00 to 14

free people dad pants
Free People

4. free People Pia Dad Pants

Yes, this Free People pair also comes in black, but we’re really digging the banana-yellow hue for more of a South Beach vibe.

Available in sizes 0 to 14

asos dad pants

5. asos Design Extreme Dad Pants

Extreme dad pants call for extreme dad pairings, including a white button-down and chunky New Balance sneaks. Throw on some colorful earrings or a stack of beaded bracelets to avoid looking like a total costume.

Available in sizes 0 to 14, and 12 to 24

asos plaid dad pants1

6. asos Ultimate Slouch Dad Pants

If you prefer patterns over monochrome hues, opt for a classic print, like plaid or houndstooth, rather than whimsical florals or polka dots. We suggest you stick with lighter shades, as well, to keep things looking seasonally appropriate for spring and summer.

Available in sizes 0 to 14

joanthan simkhai dad pants

7. jonathan Simkhai Belted Trench Pants

The matching belt can be easily swapped out for a leather style in a contrasting hue, or you can go totally beltless for a more relaxed vibe.

Available in sizes 0 to 12

mara hoffman dad pants

8. mara Hoffman Dita Pants

This no-fuss pair of trousers is made using sustainable methods for those looking to make their wardrobe more eco-friendly.

Available in sizes 00 to 20

loulou studio dad pants

9. loulou Studio Moretta Pleated Pants

Gray pinstripe pants are truly seasonless. Just layer them under a chunky cashmere knit in fall and winter, then tuck in a white T-shirt or black tank top when the warmer months roll around.

Available in sizes XS to L

meadows dad pants

10. Meadows Sanne Trousers

This cropped style works best on taller frames (but don’t let that stop you from trying them out, petite folks) and when paired with flat sandals or backless loafers rather than heels.

Available in sizes 4 to 12

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Abby Hepworth


Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on...
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