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162: "Newsletter pants"
Wearing High Sport's Kick Flares three ways.
An unexpected common denominator in the closets of fashion newsletterers is a pair of High Sport’s Kick Flare pants.
The pants—a thick, stretchy knit with a signature pintucked center seam that mimics the crease on a pair of “hard” trousers and a slightly cropped, microflared hem—are often preceded by a certain lore. It’s impossible to discuss them without conceding the fact that they’re almost $900 (at which point you might as well say they’re almost $1,000). So what do the million-dollar pants get you? Let’s discuss.
Visually, you can understand the appeal: a spunky, ankle-grazing length in greige-banishing colors that say “let’s play!” But a crispness and heft that erstwhile utter: “I know a thing or two.”
Fellow newslettereris among the pants’ most outspoken loyalists, with four pairs in her current rotation (in navy, orange, lime green, and black with a skirt), and another on the way from the holiday collection. When I emailed to ask her about them she told me: “I think a lot of us were formal editors in our previous lives, so we’ve seen EVERYTHING. When we see something truly unique and useful that also looks great and solves an actual problem (something you can comfortably wear in any setting), we get excited!”, who neatly fits the description of former editor and present-day newsletterer, is another frequent High Sport wearer. She has two pairs—one black and one red—and agrees about their role in the cozy agenda, saying they “fulfill a specific wardrobe need of pants that are casual but not sweatpants or leggings…I know that I can just grab them and throw them on with a sweater or a snap cardigan and I’ll look put together—the sharpness of the silhouette helps.”
“Based on the frequency that I wear them, I think they’ve turned out to be a worthy investment.”
She also says she got a ton of questions after mentioning them just once, mostly from people wondering whether they justified the price. (Her judgement: “Based on the frequency that I wear them, I think they’ve turned out to be a worthy investment.”)
“Not an easy feat!!” is’s take on what founder Alyssa Zachary has achieved with her pants, echoing the through line among wearers that they are “equal parts functional, flattering, and fashion-forward.” Becky, who owns pairs in brown and orange, says: “I wear so many ‘hats’ in a day: going from LEGO engineer with my toddler to digging in clients’ closets to meeting with designers and shop managers to see new collections, and these pants take me all of those places.”
Puck’s Lauren Sherman “own[s] a couple pairs and wear[s] them multiple times per week,” a testament unto itself, but she adds: “They are truly the only thing I own that, if I don't know what else to wear, I can put them on and feel good instantly. There's a tremendous amount of value in not looking dumpy.”
“There's a tremendous amount of value in not looking dumpy.”
I reached out towho added that, not only is the Kick Flare “a perfect ‘no thinking’ pant” that’s “dead easy to dress up with a little heel,” it’s also super flattering: “The knit is sturdy and fine, so it disguises any lumps and bumps and holds its structure really well.” (She has three pairs, in black, brown, and butter yellow.) Then, within, like, three minutes of replying to my email, Jess sent me an Instagram Story of stylist Ali Pew wearing a pair.
A similar thing happened when I asked off-platform, natural-style newsletterer Rachel Tashjian if she was a High Sport girlie. “I am not the best person to speak on this,” she said, but pointed me toward a few of the aforementioned plus Moda Operandi Editorial Director Tatiana Hambro and Harper’s Commerce Editor Halie LeSavage, who she says “know/understand these pants more graciously than I.”
It seems, even if you don’t personally know a High Sporter, you know someone who knows a High Sporter.
“Are these hard pants $860 because they're the softest hard pants ever made?”
Still, not everyone is convinced.says she’s passed on them because “the price is a little nuts for pants!” And has “parted ways with office pants,” leaving her to beg the central question: “Are these hard pants $860 because they're the softest hard pants ever made?”
High Sport Kick Flared Stretch-Cotton Knit Pants, $860 (more sizes and colors here) / Toteme Green Country Jacket, $850 / Bourrienne Paris Chemise Scenariste, $85
$286 / Lie Studio The Selma Necklace, $325 / St. Agni Tied Leather Sandals, $210
My first read on the pants were that they make a great shoulder-season staple—a weighty knit for warmth, and yet an abbreviated length and lofty leg opening that tempt a breeze. The idiosyncrasy inspired the pairing of a heavy jacket—Toteme’s take on Barbour—with a bare-bones sandal, these from Aussie St. Agni.
This is beside the point of the pants, but this Bourrienne shirt amazes me: I’ve thrown it in a suitcase multiple times and worn it often without ceremony, and it has not managed to hold onto a wrinkle…witchcraft.
I wanted to riff on the pants’ lightheartedness, the childlike spirit that shines through in their funny proportions and movement-inspiring stretch. I think my younger self, a little British kid in primary school wearing a uniform I then detested and now have come to adore, was on the moodboard here, leading me to reach for this big-buttoned Lee Mathews coat, executed in one of my favorite fabrics to touch. (It’s polyester, but in a tight twill that makes my brain explode.) The silk Tibi hoodie in literal red-riding-hood red and the Mary Jane loafers also honor that time in my life, with a grown-up, appreciates-the-finer-things tilt.
They may be just their hems here, but the pants’ unique crop is one of the most enjoyable things about them, and I wanted to experiment with using them as a styling side dish as opposed to the protein of the outfit. There’s a high vibration happening between the curved bottom of my Lemaire dress and the adidas cleats I picked up at a flea market in Oakland last month. The brown, sandwiched between two blacks with a complementary blue nearby, appears a little richer.
So are they worth it? I could conceive of a thousand more outfits to build with them, wearable in a thousand situations. So in that sense, the cost-per-wear potential points to buy. But frankly so might investing in, like, a 180-unit apartment building, but not everyone has that kind of capital to put down to begin with. Ultimately, I think people need to try these on themselves to see if they are gooped and gagged enough to eschew a return label. I tried to time this send out while there was a good amount of inventory on Moda (High Sport’s exclusive seller), so that interested parties could do just that.
If these are just not the pants/price for you, I’ll point out that Everlane has a suspiciously similar pair. They are lacking compared to the OGs in several regards (front seam is less elegant, lacking back seam, made in Vietnam as opposed to Italy), but, hey, they’re under $70. Another stretch pant with a fandom are Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s Dance Pants (I have them in navy), which are longer, finer, and on sale at SSENSE rn—also in gray, tan, and black. Or, Wardrobe.NYC has long been on the leggings-as-pants comeback tour, which Toteme has been dabbling in lately, too (note the ankle zippers—fancy!).
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