I’ve written at length about my general disdain for shorts and overwhelming preference for pants. I’m thoroughly convinced that even during the summer, pants are the absolute best bottoms around. They’re easy to move around in, they keep your legs from sticking together and even when they ride up, they keep you covered.
That said, thick pants and humidity are a miserable combination. So in order to make the whole summer pants thing work, you really have to stock up on an array of different styles—all of which need to be as breezy, comfy and breathable as they are cute.
Thankfully, clothing stores are chock-full of pants that fit the bill. It’s just a matter of finding them.
This summer, stores have loaded up on wide-leg cropped pants made from linen, denim, corduroy and more. Accordingly, Pinterest users are saving wide-leg crops to their virtual vision boards 45 percent more frequently this year than they were last year. In other words, wide-leg culottes are having a moment.
And since I’ve designated myself a ride-or-die for Team Summer Pants, I decided to embark on a (brief) quest to find the best pairs of wide-leg crops around.
Here’s the deal: I called in wide-leg cropped pants from a few different brands and spent a couple weeks trying them on. I enjoyed some of them so much I actually wore them around, but others remained in the confines of my apartment. I snapped gifs of most of the pants so you could get a sense of their fabric, how they move, etc., but some just translated better to photos.
Oh yeah, and I began by trying them all on with the same outfit: my trying-things-on uniform, if you will. (It’s a black tank and understated black heels—hard to go wrong.) A few of the pants were so wonderful (or bizarre) that I felt the need to assemble actual outfits, so you’ll see some styling sprinkled throughout.
At the end of each review, you’ll find a verdict—as well as a shoppable link to the pants. All in all, I tried on eight pairs and walked away with four favorites that I’m super excited to integrate into my summer wardrobe.
Lucky Pins Jean with Side Slit
From the bright color and thick fabric to the mid-rise waistband and slit hems, these mustard cords aren't at all what I'd normally pick out for myself. But I ended up really enjoying them.
I stuck with my trying-things-on uniform, but these bright pants have tons of potential. They'd go great with all kinds of neutrals, and you could even pair them with royal blues or emerald greens if you're looking for something incredibly statement-making.
Worth noting: They weren't super comfy (it's way too hot to wear corduroy right now), but they'd probably make a great transitional piece once fall starts setting in.
The verdict: Comfortable, surprisingly stylish, but ultimately not for me. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a killer pair of yellow pants, though.
Lucky Pins jean with side slit, $99 at Lucky
Green Culotte Cotton Trousers
This was another pair of pants I wouldn't normally pick out for myself. The cut is too structured, and the shade falls outside my go-to saturated AF color palette.
But I have to admit, they were incredibly comfortable. No, I wouldn't wear them, but they're a solid basic that could definitely find a home in someone else's closet.
The verdict: Not for me, but definitely comfortable—and a good basic.
Green culotte cotton trousers, $160 at Cinzia Rocca
Denim Crop Trouser in Sea Lane
You might not be able to tell from the picture, but the legs on these jeans actually widen at the bottom. So they go from wide to even wider, and there's a little splattered bleach on the bottom that gives them a grungier feel.
These are details I'd normally shy away from, but damn—I loved these jeans. As you can see from my photo, I was so inspired by these pants I actually assembled an outfit and walked around in it. The jeans went perfectly with my black mock neck tee, black ankle boots and glasses, and I felt about as Brooklyn as possible walking around in this ensemble.
And, yes, the pants are as comfortable as they are stylish.
The verdict: Genuinely obsessed. Take a chance on the details and add these to your wardrobe, stat.
Denim crop trouser in Sea Lane, $119 at Lucky
Lucky Palace Pants
Another favorite, these flowy pants were so incredibly cozy I wanted to wear them everywhere. And I did. I usually come home and change into leggings, but I started changing into these—they're way breezier, which is key in this August humidity.
And before you think they're just pajamas, I've worn them to the office twice—and traveled in them over the weekend. They're stylish, comfortable, elegant and versatile all at once. And they're begging to be added to your closet.
The verdict: These were my absolute favorites. The comfiest and most versatile of the bunch. Plus, they're cute.
Nayan Palace pant, $180 at Aish
Levi's Wide-Leg High-Water
These jeans come in a lighter wash than I'd normally go for, but they are straight perfection. They fit me in the waist and the hips, which almost never happens; I'm a pear-shaped lady with a size 4 top and size 8 bottom, and it's challenging to find a high-waisted jean that works for me.
I don't know that I'd wear them all the time. They definitely pair well with T-shirts (like the one I'm rocking here), but I haven't quite figured out how to dress them up yet.
The verdict: A solid choice for anyone looking for wide-leg cropped jeans.
Levi's wide-leg high-water, $98 at Levi's
Vanessa Floral Pant
These pants seriously surprised me. I like my tropical prints as kitschy as possible, so bright colors, pineapples—the works. These were a little more understated and, well, elegant than I'm used to wearing.
But I loved them. The cut was flowy, but the fabric felt structured; the pants were cozy enough to lounge around in but breathable enough to wear outside. They'd go great with heels or flats.
And the best part: You don't have to do any styling work. See how good they look with a black tank and black heels? Throw on some makeup (or not), and walk out the door—instant office, weekend or date-night style.
Excuse me while I wear these until cold weather sets in.
The verdict: A surprising favorite. Equal parts stylish and comfortable—and great for date night.
Vanessa floral pant, $68 at Haute Rogue
Painter Corduroy Pants
These pants simultaneously delighted and perplexed me. On the one hand, they're a stunning shade of pink that I couldn't wait to add to my closet. On the other, I have no fucking clue how to wear that shade of pink with anything.
In the midst of my struggle, I attempted to pair the pants with a tropical top and my glasses—but I think the final result is more nerd than nerd chic.
I'm bummed I couldn't make these work. They're so pretty; I really wanted them to be a new staple.
The verdict: Pretty and adequately cozy, but incredibly hard to style. I'd pass, but maybe you'll think of something I didn't.
Painter corduroy pants, $136 at ban.do
BDG High-Rise Pleated Carrot Jean
These Urban Outfitters jeans are cut perfectly. They're tight in the waist, loose in the hips and just cropped enough to fall right above my favorite ankle boots.
I styled them with a darker, dressier T-shirt than the one I wore with the other pair of jeans in the bunch. But—as was the case with the other pair—I haven't figured out how to dress these up yet.
Also worth noting: These have a button closure instead of a zipper. This isn't that inconvenient, but it's frustrating if you're trying to get dressed in a hurry.
The verdict: These are great. If I had to walk away with just a few pairs from this list, I'd go with these or the bleach-splatted ones for jeans, the white linen pants for casual wear and the tropical print pants for dressier occasions.
BDG high-rise pleated carrot jean, $64 at Urban Outfitters