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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for best lounge pants for women

There’s a reason why so many women are investing in lounge pants these days. Lounge pants are some of the most comfortable items you can wear, whether you’re relaxing at home, sitting by the pool, or even participating in an at-home video meeting. Purchasing these pants is a delight because you’re treating yourself to something casual, comfortable, and fun.

Before you add that cute pair of lounge pants to your shopping cart, take a look at your options to make sure you’ve chosen the best for your money. Although one might say there’s no such thing as a “bad” pair of lounge pants, some are more durable and, well, lounge-worthy than others. You’ll need to make a few choices: Do you want lounge pants that are long, short, or somewhere in between? Do you prefer a cozy, warm material or an airy cotton blend? Would a drawstring or a band of elastic feel better around your waist.

Read on for our expert advice on lounge pants, and don’t forget to check out our favorites, which are spotlighted on this page.

lounge pants for women
The terms “wide leg” and “palazzo” are both used to describe some lounge pants, and while similar, the styles are not technically the same. Palazzo pants are made of lightweight material and are so widely cut that they often appear skirt-like, whereas “wide leg” pants can be of any material and various widths.

Key considerations

Perks of lounge pants

In case you’re debating this purchase, here are a few reasons why we love lounge pants.

  • The pants are flexible through the hip and leg for unrestricted movement.
  • The waist gently conforms to the body via drawstring or elastic. No pinchy buttons or buckles!
  • The pants may be short or long — with fitted or loose legs — to maximize comfort. You choose what you love.

Types of lounge pants

Let’s take a look at the pant styles that are popular for lounging, which range from sweats to yoga bottoms.

Sweatpants: Classic sweatpants extend to the ankle, but there are some cute cropped sweatpant styles as well. The hem may be cuffed, elasticized, or open. You might opt for solid-colored sweats with zero frills or bejeweled sweats with rhinestone pockets. In most cases, these pants are better for cool weather because the bulky material tends to retain heat. That said, some sweats are made of thin, breathable cotton that’s just right for late spring or early fall.

Joggers: With a tapered leg, cuffed ankle, and tailored fit, joggers are often considered a step up from sweats. Although the word “jogger” implies you’ll be exercising in them, they serve equally well as lounge pants thanks to their soft fabrics and comfortable cuts. These pants may have deep side pockets or even a back pocket for your phone, wallet, and keys.

Leggings: Leggings were once relegated solely to the “loungewear” category, but no longer. Comfy, stretchy leggings can certainly be considered lounge pants, but they pull double-duty as a trendy staple for running errands, living the nightlife, and in some cases working at the office. Note, however, that some leggings are designed specifically for exercise. For example, Lululemon markets its leggings as activewear that can be worn for yoga and running.

Yoga pants: Yoga pants may be short, long, or somewhere in between. They may be loose and flowy or skintight. Although highly comfortable, some people do not consider yoga pants to be lounge pants because they see them as exercise gear. However, exercise is not the only purpose the pants can serve. We’ve seen yoga pants worn as dress slacks and yoga pants modeled after traditional denim jeans.

Pajama pants: Some people want to stay in their PJs all day, and we don’t blame them. Pajama pants may not technically be lounge pants, but people definitely lounge in them. If you’re into matching tops and bottoms, check out our page on the best women’s pajama sets.

Sizing

In addition to traditional sizes like Small, Medium, Large, and X-large, some companies classify their lounge pants in terms of the wearer’s height. For example, if you’re a tall person, you might prefer to order a Tall Medium rather than Petite Medium or Regular Medium.

If this seems like an overwhelming amount of choice, check the sizing chart to see if it provides more defining details. Tall and Regular sizes are usually based on inseam length. For example, the Tall Medium mentioned above might have an inseam of 34 inches, whereas Regular Medium might have an inseam of 30 inches.

To find your inseam measurement, locate a pair of pants you already own that fit well. Measure the seam length in inches from crotch to hem. This is your inseam measurement.

Material

Cotton: Cotton and cotton blends are popular, and the material tends to get softer the more you wash it. However, cotton may also shrink over time.

Polyester: This synthetic material is known for its durability. It holds on to color and is unlikely to shrink in the wash. However, it’s not highly breathable, which can lead to sweating and chafing.

Modal: This semisynthetic material is made from the pulp of beech trees. It can be found in a lot of activewear and is valued for its breathability and moisture-absorbing properties.

Spandex: Spandex, along with Lycra and elastane, are synthetic materials derived from petroleum. A pair of lounge pants with a spandex, Lycra, or elastane blend will be stretchy and strong.

Flannel: Soft and warm, flannel is a popular lounging fabric that may be made of cotton, wool, or a synthetic fiber.

Worried about losing the drawstring of your lounge pants in the wash? Tie the two ends together before tossing them into the machine.

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Features

Length: Lounge pants may be full length or cropped. There are also lounge shorts, if you are so inclined, that have the same relaxed feel with a drawstring or elastic waist.

Wide leg: For a breezy fit, consider a pair of lounge pants with wide or bell-shaped legs. Some people say the body-skimming nature of these pants makes them feel as if they’re wearing nothing at all.

Fitted leg: If you like snug-fitting pants that wrap your legs in comfort, consider a pair of tapered-leg pants or pants that sit close to your hips and thighs and gently flare at the ankles.

Drawstring waist: A drawstring allows you to adjust the fit of the pants around your midsection. If you like the security of a tight waistband holding up your trousers, you can cinch the drawstring. If you prefer a looser fit (say after a big meal), you can loosen the drawstring.

Elastic waistband: These slip-on pants require no fiddling: just pull them up and you’re ready to relax. Notably, some elastic waistband pants also have a drawstring.

Pockets: Some lounge pants have pockets; others do not. If you like to carry your smartphone around, look for a pair with at least one deep pocket. Many pairs of lounge pants we looked at have two side pockets, sometimes called “slash” pockets because of the diagonal seam at the hip.  Occasionally, you can find lounge pants with cargo pockets on the legs or back hip pockets on the rear.

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DID YOU KNOW
Over time, lounge pants may begin to pill — loose threads and bits form small clumps on the material. Pills can be safely trimmed away with scissors, but do this carefully so you don’t puncture the fabric.
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Pricing

Inexpensive: For $15 or less, you can find simple sweatpants in solid colors and an array of pajama bottoms, including happy colors and fun prints. The quality of the stitching and material may not be topnotch, but these pants should last a year or more with proper care.

Mid-range: Between $15 and $25, you will find sweats and other lounge pants of higher quality, including fitted joggers that offer a bit more versatility. You may also see a few multipacks of pants (usually two or three per set) in this price range.

Expensive: While you can find some designer names and high-end brands in the middle range, you are even more likely to find them here. Lounge pants that cost $25 or more (sometimes up to $50) from reputable athletic brands like Danskin and fashion brands like Calvin Klein are likely to be seen here.

Lounge pants may have a high-rise, mid-rise, or low-rise waist. High-rise pants skim the belly button; low-rise pants sit around the hips. Mid-rise pants are somewhere in between.

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Tips

  • Choose a length based on your height. If you’re petite, select a pair of lounge pants that won’t get caught under your feet and pose a tripping hazard. If you’re unsure of the inseam length, consider a pair of cropped lounge pants or pants with elasticized cuffs that don’t extend below your ankles.
  • Choose the right size. Most lounge pants come in general sizes like Small, Medium, and Large. However, it’s not hard to find plus sizes (often up to 5X) as well as X-small and Petite sizes. If you prefer to buy pants with numeric sizes, these too can be found, although numeric sizing systems are not as common in the loungewear world.
  • Choose the right pants for lounging. Although some leggings are great for lounging, athletic leggings are not ideal for this purpose. The material and cut of athletic leggings are often more functional than comfortable. For example, it isn’t a great idea to spend all day lounging and napping in a pair of compression leggings, which are designed to boost circulation to the muscles after exercise.
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Want to go out but don’t feel like taking off your lounge pants? You can change your look in an instant by throwing on a matching blazer, high heels, and a flashy necklace.

FAQ

Q. Are PJ pants considered loungewear?

A. Just as “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” the answer to this question depends on whom you ask. Technically, loungewear is an apparel category of its own; the clothes are meant for lounging rather than sleeping. That said, there are people who lounge in their sleepwear, and there are people who sleep in their loungewear. This makes sense to us, since both types of apparel are comfortable and designed for relaxation.

Q. Can I wear my lounge pants in public?

A. The consensus these days is that lounge pants are passable in public. You might wear them while walking the dog, picking up items for dinner at the supermarket, or hosting a casual get-together on your deck.

In some cases, this “slouchy” apparel may even be worn on the job. Of course, that depends on the nature of the pants as well as where you work. If you have a pair of stretchy yoga pants that could pass for dress pants, you just might feel comfortable wearing them to the office.

Q. What is the difference between leggings and yoga pants?

A. Yoga pants are expressly made for the practice of yoga, whereas regular leggings are not usually made of material geared toward fitness. Regular leggings may be too thin, too see-through, or otherwise unsuitable for physical movement and stretching. In addition, the waistband can fold over with your body movements on a regular pair of leggings, whereas the waistband of a pair of yoga pants is designed to stay put throughout a workout.

 

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