Lights! Camera! Action Slacks!

While noodling around on the Internet last week, an article grabbed my attention: I Work from Home and Only Wear Sweatpants from These Seven Brands.*
Think about all that is embedded in that title. The author has at least seven pairs of sweatpants. The author has bought so many pairs of sweatpants that her knowledge of sweatpants is vast — so vast that she believes she has usefully whittled her knowledge down to a manageable set of just seven brands. And, the author seems to think that working from home = sweatpants.
Since we are moving into a period where many of us will be working from home (WFH or WFHing, as we call it at my firm), I feel I must speak out on this topic.

Do you know the expression, “start as you mean to go on”? It’s generally good advice. But looking at the current situation pragmatically, I think we have to acknowledge that . . . we don’t know exactly where things are headed and that it might be best to aim high and adapt accordingly as circumstances change.
Last weekend The Photographer and I surveyed the various frozen and canned goods as well as treats (boxes of cookies, bags of corn chips, and Justin’s peanut butter cups) that he had bought to last as long as we are supposed to be keeping to ourselves. While it was tempting to declare an Anything Goes Weekend and dive into the junk food, I said to him, “There may come a day when we are eating directly out of boxes and bags like raccoons, but let’s not start there.” We agreed to take turns cooking a fancy dinner every other night (leftovers on the in-between nights) as long as we have access to fresh meat, poultry, and vegetables.
My comfort zone: action slacks and a turtleneck sweater

Theoretically running
And so I suggest to you, Dear Readers, don’t start in sweatpants. We may all end up there, but that’s no reason to give up immediately.
If you can’t bear your khakis and jeans, how about Action Slacks?**
I have been delinquent in showing the ones that took me all over Patagonia, but they’re here now (in this post) and they are perfect for WFHing.

This first pair is the Klash Pant from Kuhl. I found them at REI.
They are a very dark grey, medium weight.
There is a set waistband, but it is partially elasticized. The pants have zippered pockets and straight legs that end with zippered gussets which can be unzipped to accommodate bulky boots as needed.

Suitable for lunging; here, lunging in the style of Balanchine (Prodigal Son) or Agnes de Mille

The pants feature well-placed seams and ease for movement and a little bit of accent fabric at the hem. This may, or may not, be a tougher fabric for a higher-friction part of the pants. It may also just be decorative. I don’t know!
Mystery accent fabric

These pants are made of some sort of technical fabric (a nylon/polyester/spandex blend) that makes a swishing sound when you walk.
Personally, I don’t mind the sound (I like it!) but be forewarned if you think it will drive your family insane. Also consider: You won’t be able to sneak up on anyone while wearing them. The Photographer and I have discussed Inspector Clouseau/Cato-style workouts to keep our bodies and minds sharp.

Greeting the Directorate

Lighting the way
In order to illuminate my face, which is helpful even with natural light at certain times of day, The Photographer brings this off-camera flash with us when we take photos outside. He usually wedges it in between the branches of a nearby tree, props it on a railing or retaining wall, or even sets it on the ground — but I thought it would be very funny if I started holding it for all the photos. The Directrice as that iconic beacon of freedom and opportunity: The Statute of Liberty.

Here are the other Action Slacks:
I am wearing skinny pants; are you happy now?
You probably wish they were tighter

This pair — the Halle Pant from Prana — is styled like a skinny jean, but made of another stretchy synthetic fabric. These are lightweight and come in a number of colors.
They are wonderful, but pick up cat hair like it’s their job.
See how stretchy?
If Anxious Mouse became a chorus girl

In addition to two front pockets and two back pockets, they have one additional zippered pocket on the left thigh. We took a photo of it, but it wasn’t that interesting. Indeed, an image of a disembodied, zippered pocket is a little disturbing.
Since you, Dear Readers, are an extremely intelligent and creative bunch, would you please share your ideas about combatting isolation, boredom, and anxiety? I think we could all benefit from sharing our best ideas.
If you’ve never posted a comment before, now is the time!
There was much more mugging than I am sharing; I am starting as I intend to go on, but holding something in reserve

I do love a turtleneck sweater
While I enjoy dressing up for work, the actual truth of the matter is . . . a turtleneck sweater is my ultimate comfort zone.
I bought this one from JCrew easily 10 years ago. I wish I had bought it in every color offered — though, as I remember, the colors were all variations of grey and brown. There may have been a dishwater pink.

Back in 2015, I posted a tribute to Converse All Star sneakers, which remain a favorite. As predicted, in re-tooling the original design, some nice padding and other comfort features were added.
I couldn’t resist this modern pair: platform high-tops in basil green.
These are making me very happy

* This wasn’t the only headline that caught my attention. But it’s the only one that made me laugh.+
** I wish I could claim authorship of the term “Action Slacks” but I think the honor belongs to a friend who was ironically describing some purchases made for a big cross-country trip back in the early 1990s.
+ Not true! This one also made me laugh.
Zippered gusset less disturbing than zippered pocket; I will show you

Note: Posts are still not displaying properly in Google Chrome on my laptop. Lucky for those of you not having that problem, but for readers who are not seeing column format (photos adjacent to text), try Internet Explorer. Hopefully I will figure this out soon.

24 thoughts on “Lights! Camera! Action Slacks!”

  1. Capacitar International — an NGO that works around the world to address the trauma of poverty and violence — has put together a PDF of wellness practices for the pandemic. You can download it from I was introduced to the organization by a friend who provides counseling to refugees.

  2. On a lighter note, walks and hikes will be my source of comfort and I’m fortunate to have easy access to the outdoors. My question: Directrice do the Klash pants run small? Since REI stores are closed I’ll have to order online. For comparison, I wear 4 JCrew and had to buy a size 8 in my last pair of Khul pants.

  3. ”I am wearing skinny pants; are you happy now?”

    Yep! They make a big difference to the silhouette of your outfit, and still have some of the roominess that you like.

  4. Hi everyone, just FYI, The Directrice is having trouble with her WordPress layout tools. That’s why, in Google Chrome, the pictures are all the same (large) size and the text is unevenly spaced. We think it has to do with a WordPress plugin that’s no longer being supported. Until Directrice Global Industries’s IT department (me) can figure it out, we suggest you view the site using Internet Explorer. Thanks so much for commenting–The Directrice is greatly cheered whenever anyone comments!

  5. It’s our best season in DC, so I’m doing what I can outdoors. My garden is going to look GREAT this year.

    Also: my kids always called swishy pants Fast Pants. And I want those green sneakers something awful but I splurged on some Birkenstocks last week so I cannot.

  6. Yes, I am happy that you are wearing skinny pants!
    It having been determined that I am an essential employee (how gratifying), I am required to come into the office while all my direct reports work at home and bring me their drafts to review on non-overlapping days. It’s pretty dang quiet around here. Meanwhile, my husband is on forced teleworking and hasn’t left the house in almost 2 weeks. As an introvert, he couldn’t be happier.

  7. Hmmm. I was actually hoping you’d link to the seven best sweatpants!

    I work from home and have for years. I have no shame in admitting that my everyday work outfit is a pair of yoga pants (and yes, I do know the seven best brands), a long-sleeve supima cotton tee, and a Polartec fleece vest.

    No zippers, pockets, waistbands, or material that makes noise. Give me soft and comfy cotton every day!

    • Bette, same. My WFH attire is stretchy skinny jeans and a tshirt or sweatshirt. Anything requiring special laundering is not on the list! What are these amazing sweatpants??

  8. This made me laugh out loud: “There may come a day when we are eating directly out of boxes and bags like raccoons, but let’s not start there.” I will bear this in mind as a “shelter in place” order comes likely today! (and thanks for the laugh)

    Getting outside, especially with my virus-oblivious toddler, is a big help to keep the mood light. As are novels read before bed (instead of news), reggae music, episodes of Portlandia selected at random, and random invented food celebrations (brownie sundae nights!).

  9. Action pants is a hilarious term. I won’t ever think of my gear pants as anything but AP henceforth. Yes, I do like the skinny pants silhouette on you. Looks great.

    I’ve worked from home for decades and never worn sweatpants once. However, just this past fall I stumbled across Uniqlo’s high waisted, barrel legged
    ponte pants and fell in love. I bought 4 pairs, 2 in mustard! and two in black. I love them extravagantly, and wore them ceaselessly. With turtleneck neck tops of which I have a manifold number.

    I predict my roof garden will rival the Hanging Gardens of Babylon by the end of this pandemic. My cats will relish a return to normal—they are feeling the strain of all my increased attention in them!

  10. Thank you for bringing some sunshine and humor with your marvelous smile and graceful poses. And thank you to the photographer for capturing it all.

  11. At our house we call them Space Pants because the fabric is so high tech we think it must have been a by-product of the moon landing program.

    And also? This may be my favorite post of yours ever, and that is saying something!

  12. I am a raccoon. My husband is the sensible one, making homemade dinners with leftovers for the next day. I contributed by making homemade cookies.

  13. Okay, I love the skinny pants, which really aren’t that skinny, more like slim and straight. Kudos!

    How I am combatting stress? Well, when I am combatting it, rather than succumbing to it, I am doing so by listening to meditation podcasts. Several meditation societies and podcasts are featuring regular, live daily talks or guided meditations for dealing with anxiety and uncertainty. Every day, for example, the Insight Meditation Society is having a talk you can access through Facebook or YouTube. They’re streamed live and available for viewing later, too.

    Also, I am getting dressed every day. Usually just my basic, boring jeans and cardigan.

  14. Love the action pants – I have multiple pairs of that sort of thing but not those specific ones. Since I’ve worked from home for decades my normal outfit – mostly jeans and a long sleeved tee – is still serving. Getting outdoors daily helps a lot. And love that turtleneck – it looks snuggly!

    Firefox on a mac – your site looks fine.

  15. I have survived the last two weeks of video conferences by throwing a colorful scarf over whatever I’m wearing (which admittedly have been pajamas on occasion).

    Love this post. It has inspired me to up my WFH game. 🙂

  16. THAT SMILE! Thumbs up for mugging. And red lipstick is a) great on you and b) one of my go-to morale-boosters under any circumstances. Also, given that the first principle of red-lipstick management is *don’t touch it or let it touch any other part of you or your clothes or anything else* it’s also very practical in the current circumstances.

    As a professor now teaching via Zoom, I think it’s good for students’ morale to see faculty going on as normally as possible, so I dress exactly as I was pre-apocalypse, which I’d sum up as “details matter”. The problem is that now they can’t see my marvelous shoes — though I’ve also discovered the joy of wearing unfeasibly high heels and vintage shoes I usually save for super dressy events TO WORK! Silly maybe, but it’s gett me through. ; )

    Thank you and The Photographer for continuing to raise everyone’s spirits!

  17. Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog! Love both sneakers selections but especially the green pair. I just started listening to the Nothing Much Happens podcast in the evening and that’s helping me.

  18. Hi from Honolulu! On week three of being stuck in a house and working from home with three teen/tween girls, our dog and a foster cat. We have combated boredom with a lot of gardening, teaching the dog new tricks, and making food that we normally do not have the time to cook. Yesterday we spent six hours making lahmajun. The foster cat was taken in as a boredom buster too.


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