Pleats vs. Flat-Front
Tailored clothing is less susceptible to trends than other aspects of the male wardrobe, but there are still details that wax and wane with time.
For a prime example, consider pleats. Twenty years ago they could be seen everywhere, but today they are a rarer sight. But that doesn’t mean they should go extinct. In fact, pleats can be a great addition to a pair of trousers. But before we go into the reasons why, let’s start with the definition and a little history.
What Are Pleats?
A pleat is a fold in a garment that doubles back on itself. Aside from changing the look of a garment, it also allows more fabric to be used in the same space.
Pleated trousers were once the default. But the fabric shortages caused by WWII forced many manufactures to phase them out, which led to the rise of the flat-front trouser.
Pleats came back in the 80s and 90s, but have vanished again. Today they’re often associated with the baggy, ill-fitting trousers worn in those earlier decades, but trousers can have pleats and still be well-fitted to the wearer.
So why wear pleats? Aside from having a more classic and formal look, they can also offer greater comfort.
A great example of this is the double pleat, which is the most classic and common version. The double pleat has two pleats on each side: a deeper crease near the fly, and then a smaller crease near the pocket to ensure that the first pleat stays flat.
The extra fabric in a double pleated trouser allows it to expand. That can make it more comfortable for men who carry more weight in their middle, or athletic body types that may be larger in the thigh and seat.
Interested in pleats, but not quite ready to go all the way? The single pleat is a modern compromise that’s precisely what it sounds like. It has a single pleat on each side, which will allow for extra comfort and create a distinct visual while remaining a bit more subtle.
Pleats have their benefits, but if you’re the most comfortable in flat-front trousers don’t feel pressured to make a change. The flat-front also has the benefit of being the least dressy of trouser fronts, making it easier to wear in casual situations.