6 Best Women’s Plus Size Dress Pants


LiveLifeBig.net may earn a small commission when you use one of the links on this page to purchase.
plus size woman happily wearing dress pants

Dress pants are a staple of any wardrobe. They’re perfect for working in a business casual office but they can also be worn out to a nice dinner. Dress pants are versatile; the same pair is appropriate for a variety of situations, simply by changing your top and your shoes.  A complete wardrobe for any woman should include at least a couple of pairs of dress pants, if not more.

And not just black dress pants either- even though they are the classic color.

Choosing the right dress pants can be a challenge, however, especially if you are a curvy or plus sized woman. Choose the wrong cut or style and you’ll find yourself with a very unflattering outfit and that’s too tight in the wrong spots and too loose everywhere else. 

As a curvy woman, it’s a struggle I’m familiar with.  There are currently half a dozen pairs of black and grey dress pants hanging in my closet, in a variety of brands and styles, all size 22.  Despite all being the same labeled size, none of them fit in exactly the same way. 

They do fit, though, unlike the ones stored in a tote in the basement that are “just a little snug” and “will fit in about ten pounds”.

No, whatever the future holds, it’s important to fit the body you are in now, with dress pants that are both comfortable and flattering. That’s why I’ve put together a list of my six favorite dress pants for plus sized women, along with some helpful information on choosing the perfect pair. 

We’ll cover everything you need to know about picking out the perfect pair of dress pants for any occasion but if you want to skip ahead and see what made the list you can check out my favorites below:

  1. Best Range of Sizes: Ellos Women’s Plus Size Woven Wide Leg Pants
  2. Best High End Dress Pants:  Joseph Ribkoff Pant
  3. Best Color and Pattern Options:  Lee Women’s Plus Size Flex Motion Dress Pant
  4. Best Tapered Leg Pants: Calvin Klein Women’s Plus-Size Three Pocket Suiting Pant
  5. Best on a Budget: Rafaella Women’s Plus-Size Curvy Fit Gabardine Bootcut Pant 
  6. Best Wide Leg on a Budget: Stylzoo Women’s Plus Size Palazzo Pants

The Truth About Women’s Dress Pant Sizes

Women’s clothing sizes, including dress pants, in the United States are best described as “almost random” and they seem to get even more random as the sizes get larger.

Sizes vary from brand to brand and style to style. Not to mention the confusion between plus-size labels and traditional sizing (like the fact that XL and 1XL aren’t the same things). 

So first things first, take that label with a big grain of salt!

Depending on the brand and the cut of the dress pants, you might need to go up or down a size or two from your “usual” size. Because taking four pairs of pants with you to the dressing room isn’t an option when shopping online, consider ordering several pairs and most retailers have extremely friendly return policies. 

Choose a variety of sizes and styles, then return the ones that don’t work. It sounds inconvenient until you compare it to a trip to the mall. You can try the clothes on in the comfort of your own home and not in a cramped, poorly-lit dressing room with a sales clerk knocking on the door to “see how you’re doing”. The point is, it doesn’t matter if the tag says 13 or 30, as long as you look great and feel amazing. 

Sizing charts can also help you navigate and find the right fit even when normal size labels don’t make sense.

What Should Plus Size Women Look For In Dress Pants?

Let’s break down how to make dress pants look great on curvy bodies starting with the fit.

How Dress Pants Should Fit On Curvy Bodies

Dress pants that fit well will be both comfortable and flattering. There’s not a pair of miracle dress pants on this list that will make you look skinny, because you’re not skinny. We’re also not going to get into camouflaging “flaws” or “problem areas”.

There’s already enough fat-shaming on the internet- despite the fact that fat folks can do everything that skinny people can from hula hooping their butts off to hiking straight up a mountain. But that’s a topic for another day. 

In a nutshell, you want dress pants that aren’t too big and baggy, that aren’t too tight, and that aren’t too short or too long. They need to fit your waist, your hips, and your thighs, the three areas of your body that are most likely to have fit issues. 

The dress pants you choose need to fit the largest part of you comfortably. If the waist is perfect but the hips are too tight, the fabric will pull across the front, creating a “whisker” effect.

Not a good look.

Or they will be too tight in the seat, displaying your panty lines to the world. Don’t do it! Select dress pants that fit well around the hips and seat, even if they are too large in the waist. The waist can be taken in. If alterations aren’t your bag, you might need to engage the services of a tailor. A tailor can easily take in a too-large waistband. 

High Waist or Low Riders?

We all remember the early 2000s when pants, usually jeans, but sometimes khakis and dress pants, were extremely low-waisted.

Those were not flattering on anyone!

I’ve heard they’re making a comeback, but I didn’t join that trend the first time around. I’m not planning to get on board now, and you should avoid this temptation as well. You’ll be hiking your pants up all day and there’s no way to avoid a plumber’s crack. 

That said, be careful about going too far in the other direction. It’s important to be aware of your own body. If you have a long torso, you can wear a higher-waisted dress pant. If you don’t, you run the risk of your pants pooching out in front in a very unflattering way every time you sit down. (Side note: A side zip dress pant, rather than a front fly, can alleviate some of this.) The take-away from this should be to avoid extremes of either high or low, and to try on a lot of dress pants, to see how they look when you sit down.

Flared or Tapered?

This choice really comes down to personal choice, and what you think looks good. Personally, I love a wide leg, that basically falls straight from my hip to the floor, when it’s paired with a cute high-heeled shoe and a stylish elbow length top

I’m already pretty tall though, 5’9”, so a wide leg and a heel just make me look taller, balancing out my wider areas. If you are petite, or if you don’t like heels, you run the risk of a wide-leg making you look very square. Not square as in lame, as in literally shaped like a square. If that’s the case a straight leg might be a better option.

When I was in high school in the 80s, we used to peg our pants. Khakis, jeans, dress pants, all of them. If you’re too young to know what it means to peg your pants, Google it. Don’t judge me; it seemed cool at the time. What I’m saying is that a tapered leg can also be flattering. If you like it, if it makes you feel sexy and confident, that is the right pant leg for you. Once again, you might have to try on many pairs of dress pants.

Noticing a theme here?

Fabric

Wool and wool blends make for beautiful dress pants. They are warm and likely to be lined. Lined pants will be smooth over your rear end and drape very nicely, all the way down your legs. A possible downside to wool and many wool blends is that they might require dry-cleaning, which is an extra time and expense to consider as you are putting together your wardrobe.

Wool can be irritating to sensitive skin, and while that “warm” thing is great in January, it’s a bit less desirable in August. (Full disclosure. I live in Michigan.) 

Linen dress pants also look great. They drape beautifully and are the perfect weight for warm weather. They also wrinkle like crazy! If you wear linen dress pants, you will be doing some ironing. Some linen requires dry-cleaning, like wool, and some linen garments can be washed at home. You’ll want to consider these things when shopping. 

A very common option is going to be some sort of blend of cotton, polyester and rayon.

Often a little spandex is thrown in to help the garment hold its shape. This is going to come down to personal taste again.

Lean too heavily in the cotton direction, and you risk being too casual (think yoga pants and joggers). Too much polyester and the fabric feels weird and looks cheap. Rayon is cool, in that it is a quasi-natural fiber. It originates from wood pulp, or some sort of plant base, but goes through enough chemical processes that by the time it gets to your clothes it’s not 100% natural fiber.

Most of the time it feels soft and drapes nicely, and depending on what other fibers it is blended with is easy to care for.  We’ve already discussed how you are going to need to try on a lot of dress pants to find ones that fit correctly; the same is true for finding ones made of flattering fabric.

Day Office Casual vs. Evening

What constitutes an evening look in Detroit is not the same as what you might wear clubbing in LA and what is acceptable business casual in the Midwest might not fly on Wall Street.

It might be helpful to do a little reconnaissance and see what dress pants other plus size women are wearing in your part of the world. 

That said, generally speaking, business casual dress pants are going to be made from low-maintenance machine-washable fabrics. They are going to pair well with a simple sweater set or button-down blouse. Higher-end “fussier” fabrics such as wool are appropriate for a more professional outfit, say for a job interview.

For evening wear dress pants look for flowy fabrics like silk, something lightweight and expensive-looking. linen. They will be lighter weight, have a gentle drape, and definitely require professional cleaning.

Think About Your Shoes

Earlier I mentioned that dress pants should not be too long or too short.

But what is too long? How short is too short?

Well, footwear matters. When you try on your dress pants, try them on with the shoes you intend to wear with the outfit. If you are wearing heels, you want the hem of your pants to just graze the top of the shoe in front, and to land about ½ an inch above the ground in back. For flats, you want the pants to almost fully hide the back of your shoes without actually touching the ground. 

Best Dress Pants For Curvy Women

With the background information out of the way, let’s start looking at the best plus-sized dress pants for curvy women!

Best Range of Sizes – Ellos Women’s Plus Size Woven Wide Leg Pants

ellos Women's Plus Size Woven Wide Leg Pants
  • Available in sizes 14 to 34
  • Wide leg cut is very flattering for curvy ladies
  • Easy care and comfortable fabric

I love love love a classy wide leg pant!

Paired with a cute pair of high-heeled boots in the fall or an open-toe pump in the warmer months, there is nothing better. That’s not the only reason why these made the list, however. 

This particular dress pant is available in sizes 14 through 34, which is a very inclusive size range!

They feature a zipper fly with a button waistband, and a back elastic. While a fully elastic waist is not flattering and can have the effect of making your belly and your butt look even rounder, a small section back elastic can pull in the waist.

Remember earlier when we discussed dress pants that fit well around the hips but are too large in the waist? A small section of elastic in the back will pull in the waist without making it look like you just cinched a sack around yourself.  It’s a comfortable, aesthetically pleasing feature that saves you a trip to the tailor. The fabric is a polyester-spandex blend that drapes beautifully and is machine washable.  Gotta love that convenience! 

If I could change one thing about these pants it would be the lack of color options. They are only available in black. While you can’t go wrong with a nice pair of black dress pants, obviously, it would be nice to have options so you can mix it up a bit. 

You can take a closer look at these stylish dress pants and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.

 

Best High End Dress Pants – Joseph Ribkoff Pant

Joseph Ribkoff Black Pant Style 143105 (Size 4)
  • Available in sizes 2 to 22
  • Wide leg cut is very flattering for curvy ladies
  • Silky smooth and super comfortable fabric

These stylish dress pants come at a premium price but there are several reasons that make these pants worth top dollar. 

Number one, they get rave reviews about how flattering they are, from both short and tall women. You know you’ve done something right when a 5’4” woman and a 5’9” woman agree on the design of your pants!

Number two, they are available in sizes 2 -22. It’s nice when companies don’t “other” larger women, and instead just design their clothing in a wide range of sizes. Yay inclusivity! These are available in four colors of silky knit fabric: black, vanilla, champagne and midnight blue. My personal favorite is midnight blue. 

If I could change one thing about these pants it would be that they have to be hand washed. The soft silky feeling of the fabric might make it worth the hassle, though.

You can check out all the reviews, take a closer look at each color and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.

 

Best Color and Pattern Options – Lee Women’s Plus Size Flex Motion Regular Fit Trouser Pant

On Sale ($4.50 OFF)
Lee Women's Plus Size Flex Motion Regular Fit Trouser Pant, Black, 16W Medium
  • Available in sizes 16 to 30
  • Flexible cotton and polyester blend that moves with you
  • Three lengths to choose from so you can find the right fit at any height...and at any size!

If you are looking for options you can’t go wrong with these pants!

First, you have a generous range of sizes from 16 to 30. Then you can pick from three different lengths: petite, regular and long. 

But the most exciting feature of these pants is the seven color/print options to choose from. Truly something for everyone!

The cotton-polyester blend (with a bit of spandex thrown in so they hold their shape) is conveniently machine washable. Reviews of these pants are mostly positive, but many reviewers do mention that they run small. (Sizes are just random suggestions, remember?) Keep that in mind when ordering these dress pants and don’t be afraid to try out a few sizes. 

You can check all the color and size combinations on Amazon (along with today’s price) by clicking here.

 

Best Tapered Leg Pants – Calvin Klein Women’s Plus-Size Three Pocket Suiting Pant

Calvin Klein Women's Size 3 Pocket Suiting Pant, Black, 14 Plus
  • Available in sizes 14 to 24
  • Flexible cotton and polyester blend that moves with you
  • Three lengths to choose from so you can find the right fit at any height...and at any size!

Even if we set aside the fact that Calvin Klein just rocks, these are some stylish pants all on their own. 

And I’m certainly not the only one who thinks that as these pants of plenty of positive reviews across the internet.

These Calvin Klein pants feature tapered legs and a French fly for a smooth fit at the waist. They are perfect for the office, paired with a structured jacket for a job interview, or with a sparkly blouse for date night. Versatility!

And check out the cute zipper details on the front pockets. The size range is pretty good, 14 – 24, but they are only available in black. Even Calvin isn’t perfect.

If I could change one thing about these pants it would be that they’re dry clean only. That might be a deal breaker for some people. And I’d probably also offer a pair in chocolate brown, but that’s just me.

You can take a close look at the super cute zipper features, read more reviews and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.

 

Best on a Budget – Rafaella Women’s Plus-Size Curvy Fit Gabardine Bootcut Pant 

Rafaella Women's Plus-Size Curvy Fit Gabardine Bootcut Pant
  • Available in sizes 16 to 22
  • Low profile pockets for a clean look
  • Easy on the budget and easy to keep clean

These pants are crazy popular for work. They are very flattering to curvy bodies while being comfortable too. With five colors to choose from and a low price point, these pants are a great way to expand your work wardrobe. And they’re machine washable!

So not only are they easy on the budget, but they’re also easy on time!

Unlike some of the other dress pants on this list, they’re primarily made of synthetic fabrics and there’s no cotton to be found. That gives these pants flexibility that I love but not everyone will be excited about the fabric. However, the lack of cotton is also what helps keep the price of these pants down.

If I could change one thing about these pants it would be to expand the range of available sizes. Right now they are only offering sizes 16 – 22.  

Still, these budget-friendly and plus sized dress pants are definitely worth checking out. You can click here to see today’s price on Amazon along with the 1,000+ five stars reviews from other plus size women.

 

Best Wide Leg on a Budget – Stylzoo Women’s Plus Size Palazzo Pants

Stylzoo Women's Premium Modal Softest Ever Palazzo Solid Stretch Pants Black Regular 1X
  • Available in sizes XL to 4XL
  • Stylish and comfortable foldover waist similar to yoga pants
  • Multiple length options to work with

As I mentioned previously, I love a wide leg dress pant for plus size gals. The wide leg creates a straight line from the hip to the ankle which, when combined with a heel, elongates the leg and provides a great look for curvy bodies. 

These are very stylish wide leg dress pants at a lower price point. The size ranges from XL to 4XL and they come in two lengths.  The foldover waist will remind you of your favorite yoga pants. The reviews overwhelmingly say how comfortable these are. Comfort, style, low price, it’s hard to go wrong.

That said, there are a couple of things that could be better about these.  They need to be hand washed and dried flat. Some reviewers describe the fabric as thin, but that seems to be less of a problem in the darker colors. The two available lengths are “supermodel” (34 inches) and “regular” (29 inches).  It seems like there should be a third one, somewhere in the middle. However, most ladies will be able to find something that works, especially when you start considering different shoes. 

You can read more reviews and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.

Closing Thoughts

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to picking out the perfect pair of dress pants for the curvy lady and we’ve addressed most of it!

While it can feel a little overwhelming, picking out the right pair really comes down to three considerations:

One is that you will need to try on many pairs to find the ones that are right for you.

Two is that you will need to consider the occasion. Are you headed to a business casual office in Lansing or an office in lower Manhattan? Are you checking out a new brew pub in Ann Arbor or the trendiest new club in Hollywood?

Three is that you might need to engage the services of a tailor into your fashion budget to hem your dress pants when they are too long and take in the waist when it is too big.

With a little time and effort, you can incorporate dress pants into your plus-size wardrobe and look stunning for any occasion.

What do you think? Did you find the perfect pair for you?

Camila R.

Camila is a body positive blogger and fat activist that's focused on helping people of all sizes live life big! That means accepting yourself at any size and just enjoying life! She lives in New Mexico with her husband and two chihauhuas.

Recent Posts