Stuff We Swear By: These $20 Uniqlo Pants Come in Virtually Every Color

The ankle pants have long been our go-to trouser

August 10, 2023 11:52 am
a photo of the Uniqlo Relaxed Fit Cotton Pant on a sky blue background
These Uniqlo Pants are the secret weapon any uniform warrior needs in his arsenal.
Uniqlo/Getty Images

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This is Stuff We Swear By, a series in which our editors expound on an item they use (and love) on a daily (or near-daily) basis.

It’s a big wide world of pants out there. Jeans, suit trousers, shorts, should you take the literal definition. And I, even among the cohort of product-loving, semi-snobby editors who bring you InsideHook on the daily, am especially particular about my pants. And there’s one style in particular that’s had a chokehold on my wardrobe for some matter of years now: the Uniqlo Cotton Relaxed Ankle Pant.

Item: Uniqlo Cotton Relaxed Ankle Pant

What are they?

Uniqlo’s ankle pants, one of the Japanese giant’s staples for nearly a decade along with their ultra-lightweight Airism tees and best-in-class socks, are a simple three-season cotton trouser, fitted with an elastic waist and drawstring and cut right at the ankle. Blended with a touch of elastane (3% of its overall composition) for serious stretch, think of them as smack dab in the middle of the causal-formal continuum — a touch more modern than your typical worker bee chinos, but infinitely more elevated than the average athleisure “performance” pant. I’ve been reaching for the style since my r/MFA days, and the most recent iteration, the Cotton Relaxed Ankle Pant, is by far the best yet.

How I Wear Them:

two models in a pair of Uniqlo Cotton Relaxed Ankle Pants
The options are virtually infinite for wearing the Uniqlo Relaxed Cotton Ankle Pants.

As I previously mentioned, Uniqlo’s cotton pants are a force in great part because of their versatile nature. Beyond their appeal as a happy medium, the style comes in a slew of colors, ranging from Dark Green to Stone. In total, there are more than a dozen currently available in the relaxed fit alone, with loads more in other versions of the ankle pant.

As for how I actually style the trou, I’ve worn my various pairs (of which there are many, including the standard stone pairs, some sized-up olive joints and even a denim-esque drop from a previous Uniqlo U season) with almost anything you can imagine. A heavyweight tee or rugby and Birkenstock Bostons is a tried and tested big-shirt, big pants combo — not to mention practically TikTok uniform at this point — but I’ll just as often toss on an oxford or Madras shirt, slip into some burgundy leather penny loafers, and let the outside world rock in my prep-inspired wake. If you feel you can pull it off, an oversized pair and tank top — and your most torched Vans, if you happen to have some — is, as the kids say, a total vibe, and one I’ve been known to rock on occasion.

It is worth mentioning two things here, a sort of good news-bad news situation. The bad, first: despite a sleek finish and generally work-passing sensibility, the Uniqlo Cotton Relaxed Ankle Pant is without fly, button, or belt loops, meaning that they probably won’t work if your wardrobe consists entirely of fitted Brooks Brothers dress shirts. That being said, as someone who works in a semi-professional setting, I’ve never had an issue sporting mine with an untucked button-up or tasteful sweater. Just be forewarned: style editor opinions on dress code typically differ from those of upper management.

Why I Swear By Them:

There are any number of reasons I could offer up for my staunch ankle pants stewardship — the aforementioned versatility, a cut that I actually want to wear, Uniqlo’s frankly astonishing quality — but really, it boils down to a single metric: CPW. No, not your computer’s brainpower (that’s CPU, dummy); I’m referring here to a trusted notion by all on-the-fence shoppers, cost per wear.

It’s a simple equation: the price of a garment, divided by the amount of expected wear you’ll get out of said jawns. And in the case of the Uniqlo Cotton Relaxed Ankle Pant, often available on sale for a mind-boggling $20 and a still-meager $40 at full retail, the CPW makes it quite literally mathematically impossible to not buy a pair.

Until I find a pair of pants with a similar CPW (and trust me, I’m always on the lookout) you can expect the ankle pant to stay firmly in the rotation. I’ll urge you to try a pair for yourself — given the breezy cotton fit, they’re even better as a transitional pant with fall just appearing on the horizon. Grab a pair, or five — regardless, they’re worth it.

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