In this post you’ll learn everything that came out of my rigorous—and at times, wiggling (more on that below)—test.
Public Rec Workday Pants Review
(Plus, Bonus Reviews of the Workday Shorts and Henley)
Here’s a piece of information about me you didn’t ask for and probably don’t care to know: I’m a sweater.
I live in Toronto, and as proud as we are of our #WeTheNorth slogan and our ability to survive frigid winters, the truth is that summers here are both hot and humid.
It’s not uncommon for summer days here to feel like 100 degrees (or as we would say, 38 degrees celsius) with the humidex.
So when I looked into Public Rec and their so-called “technical apparel,” I was definitely curious.
As someone who’s sweat through my fair share of shirts, I’ve often fantasized about wearing gym wear to the office, or out for drinks with friends. But as a self-respecting style blogger, I wouldn’t dare.
I’ve looked at other “athleisure” brands before, but found that most of them leaned more towards athletics than leisure. After looking at Public Rec’s website, their stuff certainly looked like clothes I could actually wear in my day-to-day life, and I was anxious to find out how it held up.
Here’s what happened.
I had never heard of Public Rec before one of their PR reps reached out to ask if I’d be willing to collaborate on something with them.
As always, I made it clear that I would only accept samples of their products if there were NO STRINGS ATTACHED. I tried all three pieces I was sent by their rep, then summarized my honest, unfiltered opinions for this review. Note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through and buy something, I will receive a small commission.
And with that disclosure out of the way, on to the review!
Workday Pants Review
Let’s start with the Workday pants.
Here’s a quick clip Public Rec put up on their YouTube channel that gives a good overview of what they look like and their general features:
I tend to hover between a 32 and 34 waist. In the past I’ve bought pants that were a 34 and fit well at time-of-purchase, but later came to regret my decision when the waist naturally stretched over time and the pants ended up feeling too loose.
So when Public Rec I ordered a 32 and hoped that the advertised stretchiness would help if they were a touch too tight. Fortunately, that’s exactly what happened.
I don’t mind admitting that when I first tried them on, I was a little nervous—I had to do a bit of wiggling to squeeze in all of the junk I’ve amassed in the ol’ trunk.
But what’s great about these pants, and what sets them apart from other casual clothes, is that the stretchiness is not just confined to the waistband. The pants are made from a blend of polyester and spandex, meaning that the whole pant stretches, not just the waist.
The added stretchiness allowed me to squeeze my whole caboose in easily, and cut a slim silhouette in the process.
Don’t let the S-word scare you.
If, like me, the word “spandex” evokes thoughts of ‘80s workout videos and ‘90s kids shows (Go Go Power Rangers!), worry not. The Workday Pants definitely don’t look like that kind of spandex.
To be honest, they don’t look like “athleisure” wear at all. The five pocket design looks more or less exactly like a typical pair of chinos or khakis.
In my case, the only difference was that my pair fit a little more slim than I tend to wear my chinos, but not by much. And again, thanks to the stretchiness of the pants, they didn’t feel too tight at all.
If anything, the combination of a snugger fit and a bit of stretch allowed me to cut a slimmer profile than I normally do in chinos or khakis, without having to worry that I was going to rip my seat every time I sat down.
“Call Me, Maybe?”
For the most part I was quite happy with the fit and the stretch of the Workday Pants, with one possible exception.
When I slid my phone in my front pocket, it immediately became very obvious it was there.
While this isn’t ideal, to be honest it’s hardly a problem that’s unique to these pants. A lot of the slim fit pants I own are susceptible to this, and you see it all the time now.
The super stretchiness of the Workdays may have exacerbated the problem slightly, but I suspect a lot of that would have been offset if I had ordered a darker color; I find that darker pants tend to hide the shape/shadow of your phone better, while any slim-fitting pair of khakis will probably make it more obvious.
Public Rec Henley and Shorts Review
The package of sample clothes that Public Rec sent me came at an opportune time.
The day after I got them, the company where I work for my day job was hosting an activity day. We spent the morning canoeing on the lake, switched to kayaks in the afternoon, then went for drinks in the evening.
I’m usually a pretty reliable medium, but it can vary from brand to brand. With shirts I sometimes like to size down so the fit will be a little more snug, rather than wind up swimming in excess fabric.
With the Public Rec Henley I considered going for a small, but I was afraid that if it was too small, the spandex would stretch too much, and the shirt would look less like a casual henley and more like someone sewed buttons into the collar of my Under Armour.
In the end I stuck with medium, and I’m glad I did. I consulted the sizing guidelines on the website and it fit pretty much exactly as advertised.
The second thing I noticed was the feel. While the pants are a blend of spandex and polyester, the henley blends spandex in with tencel (a recycled fiber made from wood pulp) and pima cotton. The cotton gives the shirt an unexpectedly soft and—dare I say it—almost luxurious feel.
That combination of spandex and cotton proved to be key. The shirt looked great and I don’t think anyone would have known I was wearing “technical” clothing. But the spandex meant that I was spared from getting the dreaded sweat stains that have plagued so many of my cotton shirts.
The Workday Shorts are, as the name suggests, in the same line as the Workday Pants, so they have the same blend of polyester and spandex and many of the same attributes.
But where the pants I tested were khaki, the shorts were a sort of marbled grey color, which was really sharp. The color both looked great and, as mentioned above, helped reduce the obvious presence of my phone and wallet in my front pockets.
The poly/spandex blend worked even better in shorts than it did in the pants, and I loved the way the shorts hugged my legs.
In the past I’ve found that a lot of men’s shorts are too wide, which means fabric ends up billowing out from your hips—not a great look. But when I’ve tried slim-fit shorts, I’ve found that they tend to swing too far in the other direction, and make me feel like I’m squeezing my legs into sausage casings.
The Workday Shorts struck a happy medium. They hued closely to my leg, creating a slim and sharp silhouette, but weren’t so tight that they looked painted on.
Overall, my experience with Public Rec’s pieces has been really positive.
If you’ve been hesitant about “athleisure” wear before but like the sweat-wicking, stretch and breathability that “technical apparel” offers, I highly recommend checking them out.
For me, what sets them apart from other brands like Lululemon is the style.
The Public Rec clothes I tried all look great first, and happen to perform well second. With other brands I’ve found they put the emphasis on performance first, and then settle for only looking OK.
It’s refreshing to have found a brand that seems to share my “Sharp Style Stands Out” philosophy, but also recognizes that for sweaty dudes like me, cotton ain’t cutting it.
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- Public Rec Apparel Reviews – Trust Pilot
- Public Rec Review – The Adult Man
- Public Rec Sweatpants at Work – Menswear Reviewed
As the founder of Irreverent Gent, Dave shares smart style advice that helps guys look sharp, and smart-ass jokes that make them wish he’d just stick to advice. When not blogging, he loves working out, obsessing over the MCU (#ILoveYou3000) and pretending to know about wine when his wife takes him somewhere fancy.