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My work wardrobe just got a major upgrade with these $33 bestselling pencil pants

The spacious pockets alone make them worth every penny.
Courtesy Danielle Murphy

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It had been about two years since I stepped into an office. While the work-from-home life has its benefits, I didn't realize until I finally went back that first time how much I missed the in-office experience — chats around the water cooler, staff lunches, meeting with coworkers that I only had the pleasure of talking to through a computer screen.

But the most unexpected joy I missed about working in the office: dressing up. I can't remember the last time I donned a blouse and business bottoms, never mind a full face of makeup, but I felt like a new woman.

Since then, I've been on a work wardrobe journey, refreshing my looks and outfits in preparation for the day that I once again make the trek back into Rockefeller Center. One piece I'm excited to put on and show off is this pair of Grace Karin Pencil Pants, which have been patiently waiting to be worn since I first purchased them — right before quarantine started in 2020.

Grace Karin High Waist Pencil Pants

They were Amazon bestsellers back then, and now, they're the online retailer's No. 1 pick in Women's Pants. For me, it's not hard to see why.

With the pull-on fit, soft feel and expandable waistline, I can't imagine anything better to wear during long days of sitting at the office. The material is mostly made up of polyester and a little bit of spandex for some added stretch. Over 2,000 shoppers took the time to write glowing, five-star reviews (not to mention the 14,000 customers who gave the pants a perfect rating), many of which raved about the comfortable fit.

It also feels breathable enough to make my upcoming summer commutes a little more bearable (if you've ever walked or biked though the streets of New York City in sweltering heat, you know what I'm talking about).

My only gripe with the material is that it easily wrinkles. I'm not a morning person, so it's unlikely that I'll wake up an extra 10-15 minutes earlier just to iron my clothes. So, I have to take a little time out of my evening routine to smooth out the fabric — a small price I'm willing to pay for a really cute outfit.

Associate editor Danielle Murphy wearing the Grace Karin pencil pants
I'll be ordering these in more colors ASAP.Courtesy Danielle Murphy

There's a stylish component that makes these perfect for happy hours, or even more formal gatherings held outside of the office. I'm obsessed with the self-tie belt, which not only looks super trendy, thanks to a ruffled front trim, but also flatters my waist and gives a slimming effect. I like to show this feature off with a tight tank tucked in and a blazer for a more professional look. And if the belt doesn't suit your style, it's completely removable.

The matching bow ties at the ankles are also fully adjustable, so you can keep them as tight-fitting or loose as you want. As someone who stands at a mere 5 feet 3 inches, finding bottoms that don't require post-purchase tailoring is always appreciated. The cropped hem hits right at the top of the ankle, which gives me unlimited shoe pairing options, from heels to flats.

Last, but certainly not least, we need to give the side pockets a round of applause. They are, hands-down, the best feature these pants have to offer. They're deep (arguably as deep as the ones you'd find built into men's pants), so I can comfortably fit all my essentials if I'm not in the mood to lug around a purse or bag. And I can sit down at my desk without worrying about anything important falling out.

The great news for me — and maybe bad news for my wallet — is that the Grace Karin brand has even more options to choose from in a similar style to the bestselling pencil pants. You can grab the same bottoms in a plain straight leg (no ankle bow ties) or even opt for the same tie-waist design but in a shorts version.

Grace Karin Cropped Paper Bag Pants

Grace Karin Casual Bowknot Tie Waist Shorts

For more work attire we're loving, check out:

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