Work pants with soft, elastic waist

I’m learning that I won’t be able to wear pants with a regular button waist & belt for quite some time, likely about a year, due to some screws in my iliac crest where pants sit.

This is a bit of a poser since I manage a farm and generally wear work pants and a belt every single day. (Usually the Duluth Firehose, but I have a couple pairs of Dovetail.)

I’ve been looking at sweats, leggings, yoga pants & scrub pants. I’m really not sure what might work here. The waist band cannot be binding on the hip bones at ALL. Pockets are vital. I hate elastic at the ankles (usually called joggers.) I’m hoping to not spend a gazillion dollars but will pony up if something really works well.

Any ideas or suggestions? Flying kind of blind here. I have a few months before horses come home, so time to figure out this question.

I’ll also need something that I can wear out in the real world and not look like a total slob (my favorite sweats are certainly out) so any suggestions there, too, would be great. Jeans are just not gonna happen :-/

Ouch. Screws in any body part sounds painful. Maybe elastic waistband hiking pants? They are likely a little tougher material than sweats/jogging pants and usually have pockets. A little pricey, but here are a couple of options. Could probably find cheaper options somewhere other than REI:

Not work pants but when I took a tumble and bruised my hip, I lived in these sweats. Still do actually.
I tried to link and it said nope, but 11.00 in a ton of colors on Amazon and Walmart. They actually look decent and not frumpy like I just rolled out of bed.
Hanes Women’s EcoSmart Open Bottom Leg Sweatpants

1 Like

Well, screws in your waist sure doesn’t sound like fun.

For cheap, I really like Hanes French Terry for my dog walks and running around town. The waist is a wide elastic that lays flat and has plenty of stretch without getting floppy. This says they are 90% polyester, 10% cotton but I think they have it backwards because mine are definitely cotton heavy . There are some heathered colors that are 50/50, though, and I have not liked them at all.

These are a tiny bit more comfortable but rely more on the drawstring to stay up.

I can’t comment on recent quality but I have a pair of Starfish pants from Lands End that are going strong after 10 years. The NoGA fabric from Duluth is really nice, too.

As for pockets, I gave up on those for sweats years ago. You really can’t put anything heavy in them without getting a droop and very few reasonably priced options will keep a phone or wallet safe. I switched to a gardening/fishing/photography vest type thing with all the pockets and zippers where I want them.

1 Like

I have two pair of North Face, one lined and one sheerish workout fabric but not too thin. Great pockets. Hope you are in the mend soon!

Can you wear coveralls instead? That sounds like a better option to me, because if you’re wearing firehose pants you’re going to trash any of these wimpy fabric-ed hiking pants in short order, and they’re not cheap.

They make coveralls in all different weights, and I’ve never found them to be uncomfortable even in summer heat because you can wear shorts under them.


This is my experience too.
Hopefully the OP finds something that works for them.
I like @endlessclimb’s idea above. Coveralls or even overalls should work out great.

1 Like

Oooo overalls. Good idea. Totally fits the farm manager vibe, too!

1 Like

what about maternity pants? don’t they have a wide elastic waist band? Although I think overalls are a better option…

If pockets are a necessity, I think overalls are the way to go.

They really are comfy and very practical.


Tommy Hilfiger (sp?) has a line of work pants/legging hybrids that might be worth looking into.

Underarmor has a yoga pant type that might work for what you need - no elastic ankles on it, it had a wide waistband and tapering end.

An out of the box suggestion would be bamboo harem or yoga pants – the ones that have a yoga or jogger cut. They dress up well, and also dress down well and I’ve done chores in mine before when coming home from work.

Hope you heal up and feel better soon.

Lands end makes " Women’s Active 5 Pocket Pants"
"An active pant made to keep up with busy schedules or light workouts. The fabric has just enough stretch to feel tailored but not tight. A wide elastic waistband stays put without restricting movement and five strategically placed pockets hold the essentials. Moisture-wicking technology and UPF 50 protection mean you’re cool and covered all day long. They’re the perfect go-to active pant any day that ends in “y.” "

I don’t wear those for barn work, I wear their “sport knit pants”, but they only have two pockets, though these might work,44967

The sport knit pants that I wear have a softer waistband, but I do not know how well the waist would stay up with heavy stuff in the pockets.

I wholeheartedly agree with the coverall option. Elastic waistbands and anything of much usefulness in pockets just doesn’t work. Duluth has some really lightweight coveralls, and would allow you to just keep shorts on so you’re not changing in and out all the time.

Or, go cheaper with some of the above lounger/sweat type pants, and use a Duluth gardening vest - pockets galore and cheaper than the entire coverall deal.

Replace Duluth with anything similar, I just use them since you’re familiar with the quality already.

1 Like

Coveralls when it’s cool and maybe scrub pants with a drawstring waist when it’s warm? I always found you could situate the scrubs a little higher or lower, depending on your preference.


Oh man, this is brilliant. Duluth makes Firehose overalls and those should be great for barn work. I can probably size up to avoid any rubbing around the screw heads. Thank you!

I know what you all mean about pockets and weight, but I need some place to stash my phone, and I’ll be on crutches for quite some time so gotta have a way to carry my pudding cup from the fridge to the couch :joy:

I’m sorry I can’t reply to you all individually, but I very much appreciate all of the suggestions, especially the links!

@cayuse do you have any suggestions on scrub pants? There are SO many options. I was eyeballing these:

But I just have no frame of reference on how these fit or feel or wear so it’s tough to know what might work :-/


If the overalls have the elastic waistband, it’s easy to remove with a seam ripper and a little time. I prefer my overalls to fit like a paper sack, not form fitting at all, so it’s the first “surgery” I would perform on a new pair.

I always found it cooler in the summer to not have the fabric touching me at all. Different strokes for different folks though!

Hope you feel better soon!


The Hanes I posted will be great for pudding and a phone (they make them in shorts, too) but don’t overlook a muumuu with pockets for the initial stages. I have discovered the usefulness of a roomy house dress over the last year of staying home more. LOL

Duluth used to make a pair of outdoor pants (Black Hills?) in that style that I loooved and was going to suggest for the barn if you could find them. I would definitely give those scrubs a try for that price.

Boy it’s been a long time since I wore scrubs! Those you linked to look comfy, do they also have a drawstring? I liked the drawstring ones so I could cinch them up if they loosened during the day. I think you can get them that have both the yoga type waist plus the drawstring. Best of both worlds.

Good idea there. I’ve always just avoided that style.

Overalls with shorts instead of pants can sometimes be found. Perhaps not the best look on me, but I wore them when I lived in the dark ages of no golf cart.

Don’t judge me, anyone, but I live in leggings from Walmart by Time & Tru. They look decent enough to wear to work, and yet are stretchy and comfortable. They have an elastic waistband that sits high on the waist, comes nowhere near my hip bones! I run in them as well. They will develop some small wear holes over time and fade, but that’s to be expected for pants that cost $10/pair.