This month, I found myself shopping for pants with a more forgiving waistline to deal with the aftereffects of my winter diet. Hopeful that I’d quickly shed an inch or two, I didn’t want to spend money on more than one new pair, which meant that I needed something I could pass off at work in addition to everywhere else. After browsing a few stores in the mall near our office, I settled on Lululemon’s ABC Pant, impressed by how much they look like suit trousers — thereby making them office- and event-appropriate — but feel far more comfortable, thanks to their roomy cut and stretchy material. They may have cost more than I planned to spend, but given how versatile the pants seemed and how durable other Lululemon pieces I own have proved to be, the price felt justifiable.
I’ve worn them to work practically every day since — though not yet to my actual office, because we were asked to work from home indefinitely shortly after I bought the pants. Comfier than jeans and chinos yet far more formal than sweatpants, they allow me to dress for working from home without feeling like I’m stuffed into actual trousers. Made of a proprietary fabric called Warpstreme (which Lululemon claims can stretch in four directions as opposed to two), the pants feel good whether I’m sprawled out on the couch or sitting upright at my dining table. (In my experience, you’ll hit the limits of your own flexibility before you find out just how much the pants can stretch.) Because that stretch fabric is also on the waistband, the pants don’t fight against me on days when I skip my at-home workout. And their tongue-in-cheek name (ABC stands for Anti-Ball-Crushing) needs no more explaining, other than to say: It’s not wrong.
Sure, these may not be the most fashionable. Their synthetic material means the pants stand out when paired with natural fabrics like denim, cotton, or linen. But unlike most other men’s loungewear, these could be paired with a button-down shirt in a pinch — and that’s not just me hypothesizing. When I bought them, a Lululemon associate told me that since the ABC Pant launched in 2015, it has become a bit of a status item among finance guys, who say they will wear the pants with a shirt and tie and their colleagues have no clue that they’re basically wearing pajamas to work. Skeptical of whether this was just a sales pitch, I mentioned her claim to my cousin who works in private equity while FaceTiming, and he quickly broke into a smile. “All the associates in banking wear them,” he said. “Even though they’re basically yoga pants.”
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.