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The 12 Best Summer Pants For Women

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by Andrea Gale
Originally Published: 
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The heart wants what the heart wants, and sometimes what the heart wants is to wear pants even though it’s summer. Who cares if it’s a zillion degrees outside? Lightweight, airy, and effortless, the best summer pants keep you covered up without making you instantly break out into a sweat.

With rising temperatures, summer is the time to buy pants in lightweight, breathable materials like linen and cotton. You also can’t go wrong with a pair of leggings or joggers in a moisture-wicking material that’ll keep you cool and dry, whether you actually plan to engage in outdoor activities or not. Pay attention to the cut of your summer pants, too. Wide-leg pants offer better ventilation than skinnies; floaty crops and culottes do the same, while simultaneously showing off that cute pair of sandals you’ve been waiting all year to wear.

Print and color are also great ways to signal summertime. A nautical pinstripe gives beachy vibes, and bright colors channel the season’s playful energy. And if summer denim is on your shopping list, try a pair in fresh white or in a soft, light-wash chambray.

Whether you’re heading out for a hike, braving scorching city sidewalks, or simply looking for a chic alternative to your tried-and-true summer dresses, here are 12 of the best summer pants for women.

These High-Waisted Palazzo Pants For Your Day-To-Night Wardrobe

Palazzo pants are quite possibly the perfect summer pant (those wide legs basically double as ventilation devices); and you can’t go wrong with this pair, which are made of a silky, breathable polyester fabric and feature a relaxed fit. Pockets, an elasticized paper-bag waist, and a tie belt add structure and polish, making these ideal for your day-to-night wardrobe — just add espadrille wedges, a rattan clutch, and some gold jewelry, and your WFH outfit is ready for cocktails. The khaki-and-navy animal print featured above is a fun choice for summer, but with 18 colors and patterns in all, you’re sure to find a pair you love.

Rave review: “I normally don’t write reviews but these pants exceeded my expectations. I purchased the red and black/white print and they are superb. Looks exactly as pictured and fits perfectly. For reference I’m 5’5 and they fit just under my ankles like the photos, no dragging. And I must add the material and quality are great; light fabric almost like a polyester/chiffon feel but definitely not see through. I’m so pleased with my purchase I’m considering buying the remaining colors!”

  • Available sizes: Small — XX-Large
  • Available colors: 18
This Pair Of Cropped Linen-Blend Pants In A Cute Pinstripe Pattern

Perfect the art of lounging in this pair of linen-and-cotton pants. Featuring a loose fit and cropped length, two side pockets, and the most adorable pinstripe pattern, these pants are ready for anything summer sends your way. The linen and cotton blend will be breathable and cool, and the loose fit offers ventilation. Wear these with your swimsuit to the beach, then slip on a fitted tank and kitten heel sandals for brunch. And if you don’t love the pinstripe, you have 19 more colors to choose from, including a healthy selection of solids.

Rave review: “I was so tired of wearing yoga pants all the time, and wanted something a little ‘dressier’. These are so comfortable, but also look great. Initially they didn't quite have the linen look I had wanted, but after washing them they do and I like them even more! I also like the wide waist band with the drawstring. It doesn't look ‘frumpy’ as so many elastic waist pants do. I highly recommend these!”

  • Available sizes: Small — 5X-Large
  • Available colors: 20
A Pair Cargo Joggers For Active Days

Cargo pants are back, and this pair is ready for action. Made of a water-resistant, moisture-wicking polyester and spandex blend, and treated with UPF 50+, these pants will help keep you cool, dry, and protected from the sun while you’re out on your summer adventures. The elastic waistband has a drawstring so you can adjust the fit, plus you get five functional pockets with zippers to keep your keys and phone safe. That cuffed hem adds a dash of loungewear sophistication (yes, cargo hiking pants can be chic); toss on a cropped fitted tank and some slides and head to brunch.

Rave review: “Bought these pants to work in, needed something lightweight, with ample and secure pockets. They have exceeded my expectations so much so that after I received my first pair, went back to order 3 more. I needed a pant that I would not trip over the bottoms, that dried fast and stayed up not sliding down my behind every time I had to bend over. With the wide elastic waist band, and the tie these stay put. The zippered pockets allow me to keep my vehicle keys, money secured, and the side cargo pockets with velcro closures keep my cellphone safe and clean. Most of all they are COMFORTABLE, and wash up really nice. [...]”

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 3X-Large
  • Available colors: 12
An Essential Pair Of High-Rise Jeans In Summer White

Add to your denim collection with this pair of high-rise jeans by classic denim brand Wrangler; they’re the perfect warm-weather choice in a bright summer white. The straight leg is on-trend, and the high waist will pair well with your cropped T-shirts and tanks. Plus, the denim is blended with 2% spandex for a hint of stretch, and they’re available in three inseam lengths to find your best fit. Don’t put these away once temperatures drop — winter white always looks chic.

Rave review: “These jeans are true to size, I normally wear a size 4 / 36” length, which is what I ordered and they fit perfect. I like that I can pick the length, they’re high waisted and they’re really comfortable. I’ve washed and dried them several and they didn’t shrink. I think these are nice jeans and the price is great!”

  • Available sizes: 0 — 18 (available in 30-, 32-, and 34-inch inseams)
  • Available colors: 7
These Lightweight Terry Lounge Pants You’ll Want In Multiples

For after-work lounging (or anytime lounging), these terry pajama pants are hard to beat. They’re made from a blend of rayon, cotton, and spandex, so they’ll be breathable with enough stretch that you can comfortably do more than just lounge (they’d also feel great for an evening stroll or yoga), while a drawstring waist allows you to adjust for fit. The relaxed fit couldn’t feel more comfortable, but you’ll still look put together. At under $15, why not grab them in a few colors?

Rave review: “Love these. Lightweight. Comfy. [...] not tight at all, loose-fitting, and come all the way to my ankles. They wash and dry well. No apparent shrinking yet. I wear them around the house, but I can throw on some shoes and run to pick up the kids and they don’t look like I’m in my PJs. I just ordered a second pair!”

  • Available sizes: X-Small — XX-Large
  • Available colors: 6
A Pair of Fan-Favorite Yoga Pants With Side Pockets

Yoga fans, breathe a sigh of relief: These high-waisted yoga pants are made of a spandex and polyester blend designed to help keep you cool when it’s hot — and with over 15,000 five-star Amazon ratings, they’re one of the internet’s most popular yoga pants. Four convenient pockets (two in the back and two on the sides) make these look more like “real” pants than your typical leggings, and the bootcut legs offer style as well as ventilation. Off the mat, try pairing them with a crisp white button-down and leather loafers for a comfortable and chic office look.

Rave review: “Absolutely love these pants! They are lightweight, true to size, perfect length AND they don't fade. I purchased these pants for a serving job that asks for A LOT [out] of my clothes. These pants exceeded expectations. I previously purchased their workout leggings and capris, I have yet to be disappointed. All pants hold their color and shape. They are also squat proof. They're beautifully packaged when shipped each and every time. Customer for life!”

  • Available sizes: X-Small—3X-Large
  • Available colors: 13
These Plus-Size Wide-Leg Pants Made Of Breathable Linen & Cotton

These wide-leg pants are the perfect easy summer pant. The breathable linen and cotton blend allows for ventilation and will help keep you cool; ditto for the generous, wide-cut legs. They have a drawstring waist for an adjustable fit, and not only will they be cool and comfortable, but they’re endlessly versatile, too. Pair them with a matching linen button-down and slides for a chic summertime office look; or pair with a fitted tank and flip-flops on the weekends. You can even wear these as a swimsuit cover-up with an oversized linen button-down.

Rave review: “I absolutely adore these pants. I’ve coveted a good pair of linen pants for many years and found the perfect pair! [...] The feel of the pants is very lightweight, but I didn’t have any issues with seeing my undies through them [...] They can be dressed up or down, I have paired them with a tank top and a cropped tank with a light denim jacket and I feel SO CUTE. I’ll have to get another pair in white or the same color so I’m never without them. The price was a steal too. Get ‘em.”

  • Available sizes: 1X — 6X
  • Available colors: 5
Editor’s Pick: A Pair Of Breezy Linen Culottes That Work Great For Petites

If you’re on the petite side and looking for wide-leg pants that won’t overwhelm your frame, Elite Daily editor Amy Biggart favors this pair of paper bag-waist linen culottes by The Drop. She says, “These pants are 100% linen, so they’re super breathable and lightweight for summer. I’m fairly short and these are still a bit cropped on me, which I love when the weather gets warmer. I usually tuck a tank top into them and style them with white shoes — my easiest chic summer look.” This is a pant with enough structure to wear to the office, but comfortable enough that you’ll also wear them to lounge at home. Comfort can be chic, and these pants are proof.

Rave review: “For a non-tall person, they actually are palazzo pants or wide-leg pants which I expected.The rust color is lovely and, making an order adhering to the size chart, they fit perfectly.They will be a delight to wear -- especially with a crop top.”

  • Available sizes: XX-Small — Small
  • Available colors: 3
The Best Summer Hiking Pants

Protect your legs from bugs and brambles with these lightweight hiking pants. They’re made from a blend of nylon and spandex, designed to wick away moisture and enhance movement, so you can stay extra comfy on your summer hikes — but they’re polished enough to wear day-to-day, too. Four pockets offer plenty of storage, and the side pockets have zippers so you can secure your keys or phone. The drawstring waist allows you to adjust for fit. With 25 colors to choose from, including neutrals and brights (and a few capri-length versions), you’re sure to find something you love.

Rave review: “Great pants. Lightweight. Breathable. Full coverage against sun and bugs. Zippers are nice on the pockets. Very useful clothing for travel, for everyday wear, for hot weather when you want coverage. I haven’t worn them in rain yet and they aren’t water proof but they are slightly water resistant with very good ability to disperse the water and let it evaporate away from your skin.”

  • Available sizes: X-Small — XX-Large
  • Available colors: 25
This Relaxed Pair Of Chambray Pants That Offer Sun Protection

These chambray pants are made of lightweight Tencel Lyocell, so you won’t overheat. Casual and cute, they feature an elasticized drawstring waist and an easy fit, while UPF 50+ offers sun protection — ideal for outdoor walks. They would look so cute with a cropped, fitted tank, or cuff them and pair with a loose chambray button-down for a summer spin on the Canadian tuxedo. Two side pockets have room for your phone, or for any seashells you collect at the beach.

  • Available sizes: XX-Small — 3X
  • Available colors: 1
The Best Women’s Running Pants For Summer

If you’re a runner, these lightweight capri pants just might be the perfect addition to your summer wardrobe. The shorter length will help keep you cool, and 2% spandex is blended into the polyester fabric for freedom of movement. With three pockets and a drawstring waistband and legs to offer further customization, these pants will be the easiest part of your summer workout routine.

Rave review: “Love these pants so much that after the first pair came, I ordered another, just in case they discontinue them. For me they’re perfect for walking/hiking, working around the house, running errands, and if I ever get to travel again, I’ll take them to Europe. Light, but not see thru. So comfortable and stylish”.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — X-Large
  • Available colors: 8
These Ultra-Chic Designer Pants You’ll Wear For Nights Out

How stunning are these wide-leg pants from classic designer Norma Kamali? The vibrant candy colors on offer and dramatic flowing legs are perfect for a summer evening out, and the extra-long, 34-inch inseam is made for your highest of heels (but you can always get them hemmed if they’re too long). Made from buttery-soft jersey, the wide leg will move with you, and that extra ventilation will help keep you cool. Not only are they glamorous, but these pants also feature a pull-on closure. Getting ready for a night out has never been so easy.

  • Available sizes: XX-Small — X-Large
  • Available colors: 8

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