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Pleated Pants or Not: The Definitive Style Guide

CEO Tinh Phung
Pleated pants are back in the spotlight, becoming an essential stylish detail for trousers. In this definitive style guide, we'll explore the resurgence of pleats, their purpose, and how to style them for different body...

Pleated pants are back in the spotlight, becoming an essential stylish detail for trousers. In this definitive style guide, we'll explore the resurgence of pleats, their purpose, and how to style them for different body types and occasions.

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 characteristic of pleated pants is that they are higher waisted than regular trousers.

If we look back at history, men's trousers often had pleats, and the version without pleats made its first appearance in the second half of the 20th century. Then came the 80s with its baggy style, and pleats had a brief renaissance. After that, they slowly disappeared again, making way for slim fit trousers. But now, we find ourselves embracing a new change and adapting to 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. They can face outward (reverse pleats) or inward (forward pleats) depending on their direction. The purpose of pleats depends on how you interpret them, but their main function is functionality, comfort, and making a bold style statement.

In terms of comfort, pleats provide extra room around the bottom and thigh area, allowing for more freedom of movement. This also helps the pants lay smoothly while sitting and prevents creasing or tightening.

What is the Difference Between Pleated and Flat Front?

Flat front pants are trousers where the material lies flat in front near the zipper, opposite of pleated pants. Pleated pants are worn higher on the waist, just above the hip bone, while flat front pants are worn a bit lower on the hips, giving them a slimmer and more fitted look.

The choice between pleated and flat front pants depends on factors such as body structure and personal style.

Flat Front Trousers

Flat front trousers are perfect for those who love an essential style without any aesthetic mannerisms. They are great for slimmer men, as they make the silhouette more smooth and straight. However, they should be worn on the hips and must fit perfectly. They are not suitable for men with muscular legs, as they tend to "grab" when standing up. Custom-made flat front trousers can help alleviate this issue but may not completely solve the stress on the abdomen.

Since flat front trousers have a classic shape, they are fit for any occasion. It's recommended to leave them cuff-free, as they do not need extra weight at the bottom. Slimmer men can wear cuffs on their pants only if the fabric is heavier.

Trousers with One or Two Pleats

Easy to wear and always elegant, trousers with one or two pleats are a must for men over fifty. They can also give a dandy touch to a younger man when revisited in a contemporary way. These trousers are essential for those who keep their hands in the pockets or store smartphones, keys, or other objects in the pockets.

Thanks to their shape, the pleats create a largeness necessary to prevent the fabric from stretching and messing up the silhouette. One pleat guarantees a comfortable wearability, while two pleats offer a more refined look and extra softness to the crotch zone.

Pleated pants are better suited for larger men, especially those with a large back and a large bottom. They are perfect for those who easily gain weight or for transitioning between seasons.

Do Pleated Pants Need Cuffs?

Cuffs are the bottom hem of your trouser legs folded outside. There is no strict rule when choosing between cuffed pleated trousers or cuffless pleated trousers. It all depends on your personal style and the occasion.

For formal business and smart casual scenarios, cuffs are a good choice, as they provide various advantages. The extra fabric provides a little extra weight, which helps the trousers drape better. Additionally, the weight of the cuff holds the pleats in place. Cuffs add style and give worn trousers another chance as the extra fabric allows for easy fixing from the hems.

However, if you prefer light and sharp-looking pants, you can opt for cuffless trousers, especially in heavier fabrics. For very formal events like black tie or weddings, cuffless trousers are the best choice, as they are more formal.

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

How Do You Iron Pleated Pants?

When ironing pleated pants, it's important to keep the pleats in shape. Instead of pushing over and over, press and lift to avoid deforming the pleats.

  1. Lay the trousers flat with the 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 lastly, the waistband.
  2. Consider the fabric of the pants:
    • For cotton or linen trousers, high temperature is perfect, but the pleats need more time to set. Put a layer of fabric between the iron and trousers when ironing linen to avoid damaging the fabric and creating an unusual shiny effect.
    • For wool or silk-wool blend pants, use a medium temperature and less ironing time to avoid making the pleats too stiff.

Are Pleated Pants in Style?

In recent years, pleated pants have been seen everywhere, and it seems like this year is their full comeback. Pleats are now seen as an essential stylish detail for trousers. The trend reports are leaning towards a more stylish silhouette and comfortable wearability.

Pants without pleats Pants without pleats

Brown pleated pants Brown pleated pants

So, whether you choose pleated or flat front trousers, the key is to find the right fit for your body type and personal style. Embrace the elegance and comfort that pleated pants can bring to your wardrobe.

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