Climbing the corporate ladder is tough. It would be nice if we all had the money to spend on natty clothes that could also stand the test of time, sor if we were all able to work in jobs where we didn’t need to both look good and slither around under desks doing real labor, but those are few and far between. For most guys, we’re required to look ready for management yet be prepared to crawl into the ducts to lay cable. Finding a pair of pants that can do the job of showing off and showing up to work as hard as we do is a challenge. Add in the need to fit into our budget, and it’s asking a lot.
The good news is that there are a few brands out there that understand you’re busting your hump, and ready to cover your ass while you do it. They’ve turned the art of clothing into a serious job with pants that are heavy enough to let you get down on your hands and knees, then hop up and still look ready to give out orders. These are the 13 work pants that are also dress pants which you can afford to beat up, but won’t show the abuse.
Kirkland Signature 5 Pocket Brushed Twill
Entry-level workers who need a savvy look but don’t have the cash for something exceptional will find these to be a great set of pants that are kind to your wallet. Get a few pair and then start saving for something a little more natty and durable.
Dickies 874 Work Pant
You might have to work a little bit to get the proper Dickies, since they have some options that are made in the USA and hold up great, and some choices that are far less durable. The 874 is a solid mix of style, coloration, and durability that can handle most office jobs, and won’t show much wear or fading as time goes on. Just be aware that when they hit they do it hard, but when they miss, they whiff big. Purchase: $28+
Carhartt Rugged Work Khakis
Carhartt has gone the way of Dickies in that they can still make some exceptional stuff, but there’s been a noticeable drop in quality. Still, for the price they certainly earn their keep by offering months worth of wear in a 100% twill body. Their relaxed fit is nice, but the overall build can be a little too casual for some workplaces. Purchase: $40
L.L. Bean Wrinkle-Free Double L Chinos
There’s a reason that these are practically handed out to every mid-level worker who needs pants that stand the test of time, look good after loads of wear, and provide professional comfort that’s good for actual work, Nerf gun fights in the bullpen, and will let you survive thermostat battles in style. Purchase: $45
Duluth Flex Fire Hose Work Pants
Perhaps one of the most beloved work pants of anyone who needs to do a real job, the plethora of pockets give you loads of space for any gear you might need, and the cotton bears a hint of spandex for easy range of motion. The Fend-Off fabric even resists staining while the triple-stitched seams keep them coming back for more beatings. Since they have a wide color range and a fairly reasonable price for how durable they are, those who can’t stand the outer pockets might consider having a tailor take them off. Then there’s the gusseted crotch that won’t blow out the first time you pop a squat. Utterly belovable. Purchase: $70
If you can get away with a more tactical or cargo pant in your job, then you’re not going to do better than 5.11’s popular Stryke option. A ripstop build made of Flex- Tac fabric bearing a sum total of 12 smart pockets for loading around all your EDC gear, those in the IT industry tend to find the storage space extremely useful so that you don’t need a man purse for toting around basic tools.
Built for adventure travel, you’re going to need a more casual office environment for these to pass muster, but for tackling tough weather, hard tasks, and switching between indoor and outdoor suffering day after rat-racing day, these live long and prosper. Purchase: $75
Bluffworks Travel Pants
Bluffworks doesn’t do much, but what they do they do with aplomb. As the name suggests, these are made more for travel than hard work, so if you normally spend your days at a desk, but require breathable comfort in a build that can survive ordinary office abuse, or are a jet-setter who needs to go from the plane to the conference room for a presentation, you’ll get it here. Look for a sale as they’re good, but a tad overpriced. Purchase: $98
Orvis Ultimate Khakis
Dress khaki fans will find these to be mecca. The fabric is rugged 9.5-oz. pure cotton twill that’s capable of taking more abuse than ordinary twill without feeling too heavy or suffocating your legs when it’s time to hit the job site and show these greenhorns how it’s done. Smooth and broken-in from the second you put them on, they don’t offer the ideal range of motion, but don’t bunch and bind too badly so long as you get the right size. Purchase: $109
Filson Fenimore Twill
Why Filson can’t make these in more colors or longer legs is a mystery to us, but if you fall into their restrictive size range and your boss can stomach either khaki or a dark olive, then these practically fall into the category of Buy for Life. Made of tough twill for kicking ass and taking names of more asses to kick, the price tag is actually light for what you’re getting. Purchase
Outerboro Motile Pants
Capable of repelling water, coffee, and dirt, the Motile pants give you a semi-tailored look that is eye-catching, all with a 4-way stretch that’s touchably soft but moves with you as you hop, skip, and toil. Called “urban outerwear” these are upwardly mobile without forgetting their working class roots. Purchase: $148
Mission Workshop The Division
The one issue to note is these aren’t cut for people who are truly man-sized, but if you’re slim enough to slide into them, then you’ll not only get a stellar set of go anywhere, do everything pants, but an honest to god forever guarantee that would make Buck proud. That alone makes them worth saving up for, since The Mission clearly stands 100% behind them. Purchase: $225
Outlier 60/30 Chino
Though the cost is prohibitive, the outstanding longevity of the whole Outlier lineup makes them well worth it. A smart, snappy set of work pants that can go out into the field as much as into your cubicle, the story here is the comfortable stretch that comes from a build that is part cotton, part micronylon, and 7% elastane so they don’t bind or break when crouching, crawling, or, in short, working. Purchase: $248
Fire hose Flex pants get one little cut and they start to fray like crazy, not tough.