Pleated pants or not: pleats and trousers definitive style guide

Pleats are back in the spotlight becoming an essential stylish detail for trousers. Forget about the slim fit and the essential silhouettes we were used to, now we are going towards a much more comfortable wearability. Fashion system, as it often happens, is ready to steer the other way. A jump forwards that draws inspiration from the past.

What are pleated pants?

Pleated pants have folds or pleats along the waist, towards the front and the different types can define a trouser formal or informal. The leg of the trousers is usually well tapered towards the ankles and they can be with cropped ankles or traditional hem lengths.

The most significant character of pleated pants is that they are high risen or high waisted than the regular trousers.

If we look back at history we notice that men’s trousers often had pleats, the version without pleats makes its first appearance by the second half of the XX century.

Then came the 80’s with it’s baggy style and pleats had a brief renaissance, after that they slowly disappeared again making the way for slim fit.

So we got used to slim and shorter trousers, cuffs, flat front but now there we are again with a new change and we’ll soon adapt to the new contemporary forms. A more spontaneous elegance is just around the corner.

What is the purpose of a pleat?

Pleats are created by folding the fabric and sewing it down before attaching a waistband. When pleats face outward, or toward the pocket, they’re called reverse pleats. When they face inward, or toward the zipper, they’re called forward pleats.

There may be one, two or three pleats which may face either direction. The purpose of pleats depends on how you interpret them, the main purpose of pleats is functionality that comes with immense comfort and a bold style statement.

Talking about comfort, they provide some extra room around the bottom and thigh area which allows more freedom of movement. This also let your pants to lay smoothly while sitting and prevent creasing or tightening.

What is the difference between pleated and flat front?

The flat front pants are trousers where the material lies flat in front near the zipper, opposite of that of pleated pants. As the pleated pants are worn on the waist, just above your hip bone, but the flat front pants are worn bit lower, on the hips, making them slim looking and more fitted.

With or without pleats? It is important to consider some factors such as body structure and personal style.

Flat front trousers

no pleats trousers

Flat front trousers are perfect for those who love an essential style without aesthetical mannerisms, these trousers are great for slimmer men.

They will make your silhouette more smooth and straight. They should be worn on hips, but they have to fit you perfectly. They’re not for men who have muscular legs, better to avoid “the grab at effect “ every time you stand up. You can try custom made flat front trousers but it will not totally solve the stress on your abdomen.

Pants without pleats

Also you should leave your pants cuff free, since they do not need extra weight at the bottom. Slimmer men can wear cuffs on their pants only if the pants are from heavier fabric.

Since they have a classic shape we can consider them fit for any occasion.

Trousers with one or two pleats

pleated trousers

Easy to wear and always elegant they are a must for over fifties but still they can give a dandy touch to a younger man. Revisited in a contemporary way these trousers are essential for those who keep their hands in pockets or for those who store smartphone, keys or other objects in the pockets.

Thanks to their shape the pleats create a largeness necessary to prevent that the fabric stretches messing up the silhouette.

brown pleated pants

One pleat is enough to guarantee a comfortable wearability while two pleats are perfect with a more refined look and it also gives extra softness to the crotch zone.

Pleated pants are better suited for larger men, if you have a large back and a large bottom you should definitely choose pleated pants. They are perfect for those who easily gain weight or during the summer to winter period.

Do pleated pants need cuffs?

Pants cuffs are the bottom hem of your trouser legs folded outside. There is no strict rule while choosing between a cuffed pleated trouser or no cuff pleated trouser. It all depends on your personal style and the fact that where you will be wearing your trousers.

For the formal business and smart casual scenario, the cuffs are a good choice as they come with various advantages like extra fabric provides a little extra weight which makes the trousers drape better.

Also, the weight of the cuff will hold the pleats in place. The cuffs add a little style and chance of another life for worn trousers as the extra fabric allows you to get them fixed easily from the hems.

Whereas if someone like their pants light and sharp looking they can opt for trouser with no cuffs, especially in heavier fabrics. But when it comes to very formal events like black tie or weddings the trousers with no cuffs are the best choice, as it is a more formal option.

When going for pleated cuffless pants, the bottoms should be slanted so that the hem rests lower on the top of the shoe heel to keep the pleats in place. Cuffs will complete the classic look of your trouser and it will add weight to your trousers making fabric drape naturally.

How do you iron pleated pants?

When ironing the pleated pants, the most important thing is keeping the pleats in shape and press and lift rather than pushing over and over it will make the pleats to deform.

  1. Lay the trousers flat with cuffs right at one end to form the crease, first iron the legs of the pants and stop at the pleats, then iron the pleats and at last the waistband.
  2. Be careful and consider the fabric of the pants:
    • While ironing pleats of cotton or linen trousers high temperature is perfect, but the pleats need more time to set.
    • In case of linen trousers put a layer of fabric between iron and trousers to avoid damaging the fabric and the unusual shiny effect.
    • When it comes to pleats of wool or silk-wool blend pants, they need medium temperature and less ironing time, avoid over ironing as it might make your pleats too stiff.

Are pleated pants in style?

In last few years pleated pants are seen everywhere and the current one seems to be the year they made full come back. Pleats are seen as an essential stylish detail for trousers. Now the trend reports are leaning towards a much more stylish silhouette and comfortable wearability.

Customise your tailored pleated trousers: try now!

1 Comment

  1. Turd Furgisson says:

    I am SOOOOO sick and tired of not being able to find traditional fitting pleated AND cuffed slacks off the rack. I want the traditional style of the early 1950’s or 40’s or 30’s or 20’s, NOT some tight fitting, crotch pinching, pegged ankle, you look like an anime character slacks.

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