I always look like a frat bro who raided a concept store. Also, I’ve noticed that, lately, there have been a ton of TikTok videos featuring people making fun of this party on the top, lazy on the bottom phenomenon. In some of these clips, the TikTokers will roll out of bed and throw on a decent shirt. They tip the junk off their desks and fluff their hair and put lipstick on. They are almost always wearing sweatpants or underwear to drive the half-done-up point home. The sweatpants WFH TikToks feel strangely ominous and philosophical to me. It’s like they’re saying that, in life, we are all half-dressed in one way or another.

But behold the antidote: fancy pants. Recently, I was doing a deep dive into the Vogue archive (I love escaping reality!) and I ended up digitally flipping through the June 1996 issue. I landed on the “Vogue Index,” which had a page that showcased a bevy of colorfully arresting pants. Smack dab in the middle was an image of model Natane Boudreau with a pixie cut wearing a pair of moss green Prada pants from the spring 1996 collection. A halo of psychotically flamboyant pants surrounded the photo of Bourdreau, including a purple and pink checked pair from the label Dollhouse, a sear-your-retinas citrus striped version from Jill Stuart, and a hazy blue version, titled “virtual cell,” from Tripp, which reminded me of Jean Paul Gaultier’s famous, hallucinogenic cyber-dots.

The visual was inspirational. I loved how fantastically ridiculous and excessive those fancy pants were. Plus, the look was a shock to my sartorial system, considering the whole bottom half of my wardrobe has been sweatpants for almost a year. Even before the pandemic, my trousers—a sad word for pants—diet was basically made up of various pairs of inexpensive black Gucci pants scored from The RealReal and woven polyester Wrangler Wranchers. It’s easy to throw on a wild top when you’re wearing basic pants like these, but opting for loud print-centric pants? That commands attention. But if wild fancy pants are made to be seen and you’re only wearing them alone in your room, are you even wearing them?

The answer is, emphatically, yes. Lately, I’ve actually started slowly infusing outré lower-half wares into my wardrobe in order to spice up my WFH day. Besides, the idea of wearing sweatpants and a nice top to those Sisyphean virtual meetings is a perpetual reminder to me that life probably won’t return to normal in the near future. Just the other day, I did a grocery store run in a stretchy pair of midnight purple, blue, and black pants designed by Maayan Sherris of the small label Sherris. These silhouettes cling to the body and transform me into a long-lost member of a Y2K girl group. Wearing something, which typically I would only wear on an unhinged night out pre-COVID-19, to buy a can of olives and paper towels gave me a weird sense of purpose. And truly, they looked great. Now how do I show them off on Zoom?


Collina Strada abstract-print cropped trousers


Jean Paul Gaultier vintage wall-and-flags-print pants trousers


Versace mid-rise straight-leg pants


Sea patch pants


Marni Pop Garden–print crepe flared-leg trousers


House of Sunny high-rise highway-print flared trousers


Lisa Says Gah Paloma Wool Fuego pants