Posted on: May 7, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

Lightweight, summer dress pants and summer work pants for women can be difficult to find — you want to look professional, yet be cool, and of course you don’t want to look like a wrinkled mess. (We’ve also gotten reader questions from active women who do a ton of sports and activities in the summer that result in bruised legs, making them prefer pants to skirts in the summer.) Let’s discuss…

Ladies, do you prefer to wear pants year-round — and if so, what fabrics and styles do you prefer in summer? Any classic pants you buy year after year in new colors? 

Some of our main fashion articles that might be of interest include our Ultimate Guide to Business Casual, Wardrobe Essentials for Work, and The Corporette Guide to Comfortable Heels — all constantly updated! If you’re just starting out or on a budget, check out our Affordable Office Clothes roundup — and if you’re plus-sized, check out our Plus-Size Picks for Work.

General Tips on Summer Work Pants for Women

Some general tips at the outset for stylish summer dress pants for work:

Watch the pockets — even even regular five-pocket styles can be too casual for most offices (but know your office!), so be especially wary of cargo pockets

look for details like pintucked creases down the front — the pintucked creases have a way of keeping the look sharp and structured even as the pants loosen up through the day

check out our tips on how to avoid sheer pants if you’re leaning towards wearing white pants for summer

Our Latest Favorite Summer Work Pants

Some of our favorite lightweight summer pants as of 2024 include options from Nic & Zoe, Express, Old Navy, UniqloBanana Republic Factory sometimes has pants in their AirStretch line, also!

Nic & Zoe


Types of Summer Dress Pants for Women

Summer Dress Pants in Stretch Cotton

For a more conservative business casual office, stretch cotton is probably the first line of defense. These are widely available in ankle pants; you can also find some stretch cotton trouser options.

For a more conservative business casual office, I would look for full-length cotton pants without lining. These are increasingly difficult to find, though!

In 2024, you can find cute summer work pants in stretch cotton at Brooks Brothers,

Summer Dress Pants in Cotton Pique

Textured cotton pique pants can be lighter than regular cotton, but hold their shape a bit better — and they wrinkle a bit less than linen trousers.

Good options for summer work pants in cotton pique include Krazy Larry,

Summer Dress Pants in Seersucker

Seersucker options can be great (particularly in certain parts of the country, like DC, where they have Seersucker Thursday!) — and they often offer matching blazers for women.

In 2024, check for seersucker options at Brooks Brothers (regular & petite), Nordstrom, Dillards, Hilary Radley, and Anne Klein.

Stylish Summer Work Pants in Drapey Fabrics

Know your office well, but note that there are now a ton of relaxed pants in crepe and other flowy materials — perfect for hot days. The trick is finding ones that have a breathable blend instead of 100% polyester… Blends with Tencel and bamboo both tend to be good options to look for.

Good options in 2024 for drapey summer work pants include Everlane, Madewell, Ministry of Supply, and Brooks Brothers.

Stylish Summer Dress Pants: Linen

Linen is the obvious choice for hot summer days — but it’s so hard to find a great pair for work. Still: here are just some days where you need to be in a suit or something else Very Professional, weather be damned — a summer associate lawn party, an old courthouse, some other sweltering summer event — and linen is the obvious choice here.

Note that a cotton linen blend will wrinkle less; also note that the closer to 100% linen an option is, there may be opacity problems (yay) and shape-retention problems (i.e. serious stretching out).

(Another warning: you may think that palazzo linen pants are a classic for summer… but I don’t wear mine anymore since my then-pre-schooler asked why mommy was wearing pajamas. So… maybe keep those for the beach.)

Good options in 2024 for linen dress pants include Banana Republic Factory, Boden, Theory, NYDJ*, and J.Crew Factory.

Summer Work Pants in Seasonless Fabrics or Tropical Wool

These aren’t going to be your lightest options, but if you can find them they’re going to hold up better, be wearable for more seasons, and probably have matching blazers and other pieces.

As of 2024, some of our favorite seasonless wool suiting includes Ann Taylor on the affordable side, and Theory, Brooks Brothers, M.M.LaFleur and Argent on the more expensive side. Talbots’ line of seasonless wool suiting includes regular, petite, plus, plus-size petite, and tall sizes. See our roundup of the best women’s suits of 2024 here!

Great Summer Work Pants for Business Casual and Conservative Offices

Uniqlo Smart Pants

These are shockingly lightweight, very comfortable (many styles are pull-on only), and usually have pockets. They’re regularly $39 at Uniqlo.

Banana Republic Factory AirStretch

Banana Republic Factory often has pants in their AirStretch line. The brand describes them as “light as air and engineered with performance technology, this ultra flexible fabric is consciously crafted from 86% recycled polyester, 14% spandex.” Nice!

The pictured, tapered pants are available in three colors sizes XXS-XXL — they were $75 but are marked down today.

Nic & Zoe Wonderstretch

These are the priciest of the bunch, at $128–$138, but readers love these for a great reason — their pull-on waistband makes them extraordinarily comfortable! They’re also machine washable. 

(Elizabeth thought these pants were a very similar dupe if you’re hunting for more colors or prints!)

Ministry of Supply Velocity Pants

Reviewers love these machine washable and “naturally wrinkle resistant” pants for hot weather. They also offer a comfort waistband with encased elastic in the back for a clean look in front, slanted full-hand front pockets back patch pockets, and pintuck stitching on the front and back leg.

The pictured pants are available in three colors in sizes XXS-XXL for $185; there’s also a tapered version in this fabric. You may also want to check out their crepe fabric and “kinetic twill;” both are also great for breathability.

M.M.LaFleur OrigamiTech

M.M.LaFleur has some pants in an “airy” fabric, but their OrigamiTech is one of their bestsellers and is lightweight, easy to fold, machine washable, and wrinkle resistant. There are matching blazers and dresses, as well.

The pictured Colby pants are $235 and available in 8 colors, sizes 00-20.

Readers, how about you — which are your favorite lightweight summer pants for women? 

Stock photo via Pexels / Elina Volkova.

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