Courtesy of Outdoor Voices
Courtesy of Pashko, Outdoor Voices, and ThirdLove
Turns out the best travel pants double as great WFH pants.
Working from home for the foreseeable future? These are the comfy pants AFAR staffers are living in these days, but wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear on an airplane later.
Here at AFAR, we’re all working from home right now, whether it’s because of mandated shelter-in-place orders in the Bay Area, or social distancing measures to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) near our New York City office. Wearing jeans—or really anything with a waistband—seems like an unnecessary constriction during these uncertain and stressful times. Thankfully, some of the best WFH pants double as the perfect travel pants for long flights that we look forward to wearing on planes on the other side of this pandemic.
These are the kind of comfy pants that are stretchy and have little-to-no waistband for keeping cozy during video chats right now, but also look polished enough to walk through TSA PreCheck later with your dignity intact. Here, nine pairs that our predominantly female staff loves to wear, plus one pair for the men who’d rather not deal with denim right now.
I bought a pair of these L.L. Bean heavyweight base layer pants before my Antarctica trip and loved them so much, I even wore them outside of our polar activities. They were a little spendy, so when I returned I packed them away, intending them to be for winter activities only. But somehow, they found their way out of our winter box and into my WFH wardrobe. Whoopsies. And now I wear them all the time, including at the moment I typed this. Why do I love them so? They’re thick and almost feel fleece-lined—though technically they’re not—yet sleek enough (without being skintight) that I can easily throw on a T-shirt and sneakers and appear semi put-together. Plus, the pants are made partially from recycled water bottles, so I feel like a do-gooder even when I’m lazing about. —Aislyn Greene, senior editor
My friend bought these for herself. And then her husband bought them. And then another friend bought them, so I bought them, too. Sometimes we’re all wearing them when we’re together and I’m not even embarrassed, because they’re the softest sweatpants I’ve ever owned and they make me happy. Plus, then we can all sit around talking about how comfy we are, which is a great way to pass the time with friends. —Natalie Beauregard, travel guides editor
Article continues below advertisement
Whether at home or on the road, I practically live in Prana’s Electa Leggings. Available in solid green, blue, black, gray, and coral, these leggings are ultra soft and comfortable. The wide waistband hugs my hips without creating a muffin-top scenario, and the deep side pockets are perfect for holding my phone on the go. —Jessie Beck, SEO manager
The material of these pants seriously feels like butter. It’s the closest I’ve got to feeling like I’m pantless in public. Also, the waistband comes up high enough that it never digs into your stomach when you’re sitting down. —Ciera Velarde, newsletter engagement editor
These pants are comfortable to travel in, and they are also fab for lounging at home, too, while planning my next trip from my sofa. The fabric is luxuriously soft and moisture wicking, and there’s roomy pockets for all your stuff. Plus, there’s no itchy, tight waistband. The tie waist belt is not only stylish, but is also great to loosen after too much snacking. —Lyn Horst, digital photo editor
Don’t you like the sound of these pants? “Signaturesoft Plush for Upstate Sweatpants”—it paints a picture I’d like to live in, kicking back in some upstate bungalow without a care in the world and the equivalent of a baby blanket covering my legs. I actually got these Lou & Grey pants (in gray) during my last pregnancy, and I continue to wear them on flights, on weekends, when I’m puttering around the house. I guess that’s all the time now? They have the requisite pockets and drawstring, and a nice tapered leg so they feel less like sweatpants and more like a jogger. They’ve also survived countless washes and remain as soft as the day I bought them. —Laura Dannen Redman, digital content director
Made from an ultra soft, organic bamboo/cotton/spandex blend, ThirdLove’s joggers are the kind of pants you never want to step out of. At once cozy and breathable, simple yet stylish, they’re just as easy to wear on a cold day snuggled up inside or while transitioning between temperatures while traveling. Plus, they have pockets, and what person doesn’t love a good pocket (or two)? I legitimately look forward to going home so I can put these on. —J.B.
Article continues below advertisement
I am not a cozy pants kind of a person—I’d wear shorts and bathing suits all the time if I could. But I love these Crossover Fleece Leggings from Eddie Bauer. They look like yoga pants, with a high, wide waistband that never digs in, but are soft and fuzzy on the inside and oh-so-warm. They’re not skin-tight, but they don’t bag out anywhere, either. I wear them on foggy beach walks, they’re my after-surfing pants, and I always pack them for camping trips to ward off morning chill. I was kind of devastated to learn that Eddie Bauer no longer carries the plain black style that I love so much; the current style’s color blocking is cute, but I’m not a fan of excessive seams. The good news is, I’ve had this pair for three and a half years now and they’re still in excellent shape—the fleece hasn’t pilled and there are no holes in the polyester/spandex blend fabric—so I’m not worried about having to replace them anytime soon. —Maggie Fuller, associate digital editor
These pants are made of lightweight French terry, so it’s no stretch to say they feel like a bathrobe for your legs. The dark color covers all manner of sins, and even though I wear them practically everywhere—to the gym! to Levain! to Levain again!—these are first and foremost my top travel pants. The night before a trip, I wash, dry, and set them out almost reverentially. —Katherine LaGrave, digital features editor
As a mom who works from home the majority of the time (even prior to coronavirus), I wear comfy pants (my preferred nomenclature) more often than I’d like to admit. Here’s the thing I’ve come to realize about comfy pants—pockets are clutch. I need a convenient place to tote my phone, otherwise the comfy pants are no good to me. I’ve been rocking these simple “women sweatpants” from Uniqlo for years. They’re affordable, durable, and seamlessly go from night to day. But since they’re sweatpants, they don’t technically qualify as pajamas, so I’m not working in my pajamas, OK? —Michelle Baran, travel news editor
These pants are as comfy as my favorite absurdly soft five-year-old broken-in weekend sweats, but have the fit and cut of my best dress for work jeans or cords. Perfect for work trips where I’d rather save space in my carry-on for running shoes versus another pair of pants. —Bryan Kinkade, publisher
Products we write about are independently vetted and recommended by our editors. We may earn a commission if you buy through our links.
Sign up for the Daily Wander newsletter for expert travel inspiration and tips
Please enter a valid email address.