A Guide to Men's Khakis: Pleated or Flat Front

The khaki pant may not have been invented in Charleston, but it was perfected here.

Not only does our line of khakis fit perfectly in an entire range of seasons in the Charleston climate, but they come crafted in a one-of-a-kind, signature Charleston style that can be dressed up or down for just about any occasion under the Atlantic sun.

But how do you know which edition of the Charleston khaki is most appropriate for a wedding, and which is most appropriate for a casual walk? What’s the difference between a pleated pant and a flat front?

We figured we’d answer all of your Charleston khaki questions in one simple, how-to guide that covers all your bases.


Pleated vs. Flat Front

Our Charleston khakis, like many pants, come in two essential styles: pleated and flat fronts. So what’s the difference, and why should it matter to you?

Pleated pants have a higher rise with extra fabric in the “middle” of the pant. This gives you a little more wiggle room below the belly button if you require a more generous fit. That isn’t to say that thinner men can’t wear them too—but if you do, try to keep them as part of a suit. It’s better not to wear them with a casual polo shirt.

Flat front pants are a little more straightforward: they offer a slimmer, simple silhouette without the crinkling of the pleated pants. They’re still appropriate to wear with suits (and weddings), but they offer more versatility when it comes to dressing these pants down, as well. Flat front Charleston khakis combined with an oxford-cloth button down shirt can make great a great “business casual” uniform at the office, as well.

Colors: When and Where?

You’ll note that the Charleston khaki isn’t available in just one color. So when can you wear each specific color, and what colors go best with each edition of the Charleston?

Nantucket Reds: This pale red, salmon-y color goes well with white and navy blues, usually with brown dress shoes to match a brown leather belt. You can dress these up with a blue blazer and tie for a wedding or dress them down with a simple navy polo for a weekend look.

White: You can do just about anything with white. Like the Nantucket Reds, it works well with navy blues and browns, though green, light blue, red, and more can work well with white. Black is sometimes too strong a contrast, and less appropriate for the summer season. Conventional wisdom says “no white after Labor Day,” but if the sun’s still out, who’s to tell you not to wear white?

Traditional khaki: The traditional khaki color has many forms, but treat it as a light brown or tan color when it comes to pairings. It works well with black and charcoal blazers (for dressing up), and though white also works as a pairing, you usually need an extra splash of color in the summer months.

The Charleston khaki, properly paired with items already in your wardrobe, can be one of the most versatile pants you wear—even more so than denim, in many cases. Buy yourself a well-fitting pair and consider your pants problems well handled.


November 10, 2014 by Berle Editor
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