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16 Alternatives to Jeans

Wear these alternatives to jeans when your favorite denim pants won't suit the occasion. From capris to dress pants, track pants to palazzo pants, you can find the right styles for your event.

This is a close look at a row of various jeans on display.

Jeans provide the pant version of the universal fashion staple. Sadly, you just can’t wear jeans for everything. You still want to wear pants. You might desire a casual look or cozy feeling, but you still want to look good. Both men and women have tons of alternatives to jeans.

The Alternatives to Jeans for Women

This is an illustration of the various women's pants.

As comfortable as they are, sometimes jeans just won’t suit the occasion. You might need something that qualifies as business casual. Explore these options to find an alternative to jeans suitable for your next outing. The most common pant style alternatives include the following:

  • Capris,
  • Catsuits,
  • Culottes,
  • Dress pants,
  • Jumpsuits,
  • Leggings,
  • Skorts,
  • Slacks,
  • Stirrup pants,
  • Tights,
  • Trousers.

Capri pants 

A woman wearing a pair of green capri pants.

Choose these fitted pants to show off some leg as if you wore shorts or a skirt. You get the comfort of jeans with the coolness of shorts and a dressier option. This Italian creation hit just below the knee. You can use these pants to seem taller by choosing a pant in a shade close to your skin color. This seemingly creates a longer silhouette, especially if you choose pocketless capris.

Catsuits

A woman wearing a black latex catsuit.

Try this one-piece, fitted pantsuit when you want an easy outfit. Throw on a catsuit for an immediately sexy look that’s also put together. You only need to add a belt and a complimentary necklace with matching shoes and a purse to finish out the entire outfit.

Cropped pants 

A woman sitting on her luggage wearing a cropped gray pantsuit.

You can get a jeans-like fit from a wide-leg cut of these pants that hit about three inches above the ankle. On most people, the hem hits just beneath their calf muscle. The variety within cropped pants lets you choose the cut that suits your build. You can commonly find a straight-legged or skinny cut, too.

Culottes 

A woman wearing a pair of brown loose culottes.

These pants look like a skirt. They flow like a dress and typically come in linen or silk or cotton. You can purchase them in denim, too. Culottes can go dressy or dressed down, depending on the material or styling. The linen or silk version provides a fashionable look appropriate for any office or religious service.

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Dress Pants

A woman wearing a pair of black tight dress pants and black stilettos.

The term dress pants typically refer to chinos or khakis. They may or may not have a pleated front at the waistband. These pants you purchase separately, whereas trousers, which we cover later, may come as part of a suit or alone.

Jumpsuits 

A woman wearing a bright pink jumpsuit with her high heels.

Choose a jumpsuit if a catsuit seems too tight for the occasion or you would not feel comfortable wearing something skintight. This all-in-one option provides pants and a matching top. It lets you create the same type of instant fashion look as a catsuit, but suitable for the office.

Leggings 

This is a close look at a woman wearing a pair of sporty black leggings.

For casual outings and workouts, you can wear leggings. This second skin-fitting pant typically consists of cotton and Lycra. They stretch to cover your body and conform to your curves.

Skort 

A woman wearing a pair of checkered yellow short skort.

Only you will know you wear a pair of shorts underneath the skirt everyone else sees. A skort combines the outer look of a skirt with the total comfort of a pair of shorts underneath. The two pieces get sewn together to form a single garment.

Stirrup Pants 

AmeriMark Women’s Stirrup Pants Garnet Large

These full-length pants fit like leggings but feature a stirrup at the bottom of each leg that fits under the arch of the foot. This attaches the bottoms to the feet. They bear a close similarity to riding pants which equestrians wear. Riding pants typically come in khaki though, while stirrup pants come in all the colors of the rainbow plus tie-dye.

Tights 

A woman wearing a little black dress, black patterned tights and black stilettos.

Whether footed or footless, tights provide a skintight option that pairs well with sweaters and tunics. You can also wear this option for athletics, especially with shorts for running track.

Playsuit or Romper 

This is a close look at a woman wearing a white patterned romper.

Also called a jumper in the US, this all-in-one outfit combines a coordinated top and shorts as one piece. The shorts’ hem typically hits at mid-thigh or above the knees. The flowy shorts produce the illusion of a skirt, but you luxuriate in the comfort of pants. You typically find these in common dress fabrics such as silk or linen.

Trousers or Slacks 

This is a close look at a woman wearing a pair of lilac trousers.

The term trousers denote slightly less formal pants than dress slacks. This broad category of clothing includes a number of styles including baggy pants, bell-bottom pants, flares, cargo pants, carpenter pants, cropped pants, drainpipe trousers, dungarees, fatigue bottoms, harem pants, jodhpur pants, palazzo pants, peg-leg pants, stovepipe pants, and toreador pants.

The Alternatives to Jeans for Men

This is a close look at various men's fashion illustration.

Sadly, gentlemen have fewer alternatives to jeans. Let’s face it. If jeans are too casual, you can’t wear shorts. Guys get two choices for dressier occasions than those allowing jeans – dress pants or trousers. For a workout, you can choose track pants or sweatpants.

Dress Pants 

A man wearing a black suit with dress pants.

The term dress pants typically refer to chinos or khakis. They may or may not have a pleated front at the waistband. These pants you purchase separately, whereas trousers, which we cover later, may come as part of a suit or alone. You can find these in numerous colors but choose a pair of khakis and a pair of navy-blue dress pants. Also, pick up a pair of black ones.

Sweatpants

A man wearing exercise clothes with sweatpants.

Typically made of cozy cotton or fleece, sweatpants make comfortable pants to wear for working out or lounging around the house. They come in many colors, but the most common include navy, gray, and black.

Track Pants 

A man wearing a pair of yellow track pants.

Usually constructed of nylon or polyester, track pants provide an alternative to jeans that you can wear in casual situations or while working out. You can also find track pants with Lycra that provide a fit similar to women’s leggings.

Trousers or Slacks

A man wearing a pair of gray checkered trousers.

The term trousers denote a slightly less formal pant than dress slacks. This broad category of clothing includes a number of styles including bell-bottom pants, flares, cargo pants, carpenter pants, drainpipe trousers, dungarees, fatigue bottoms, stovepipe pants, and toreador pants.

Frequently Asked Questions

You have fashion questions and we have answers. Read on to find responses to the most frequently asked questions about these alternatives to jeans.

From what fabrics do designs make these jeans alternatives?

Most designers offer these alternatives to jeans in cotton, linen, or polyester. Some options, such as playsuits, also come in silk, bamboo, and fabric blends. Workout wear often comes in nylon or cotton.

What shoes can guys wear with these jeans alternatives?

You probably want to wear your sneakers, but that only works with sweatpants and track pants. You need dress shoes or dress boots to wear with dress pants and trousers. Match your socks to your pants or to the darkest stripe in your tie. For example, if you wear a blue, red, and white striped tie, wear socks of the same color blue with your dress shoes.

Where can you buy these jeans alternatives?

Expand your wardrobe shopping at one of the many stores carrying these fashionable looks. Choose from major department stores such as Macy’s or Nordstrom’s, or try regional department stores such as Dillard’s, Foley’s, Belk’s, and Kohls. You can shop for these stores online or in person.

Of course, Amazon and eBay provide a vast array of choices. Subscription box options include ThredUp and Stitch Fix. You can find athletic wear options such as tights and leggings in these cuts and styles at Lululemon and Fabletics. Also, try Walmart and Target for reasonable prices and a vast selection.

For other options, shop H&M, Blair, NY & Co., Haband.com, and Venus. You can shop all of these stores online.

References:

Sew Guide: Different Styles of Pants

ThreadCurve: 50 Different Types of Pants for Women and Men (Epic List)