Be honest: when you shop for pants, how often does a phrase like “pleated vs. non-pleated” really enter your mind? Most men are trying to decide which color to get—they couldn’t care less about the other options afforded them by the dress pants company.
But you’re here at Berle shopping for dress pants because you know that you need something formal. You need something you can wear to a wedding, wear to church, and wear to important business meetings. Suddenly, you see these phrase—“pleated,” “flat front,” etc.—and you feel totally and completely lost.
Luckily, we’re determined to resolve the confusion once and for all.
Flat Front vs. Pleated Dress Pants
Simply put, pleated dress pants are dress pants that come with a permanent “crease” that you can see—this crease is built right into the fabric. These Super 100’s Gabardine Pleated dress trousers are a great example.
Flat front pants like these Super 100’s Gabardine Flat Front might have an occasional temporary crease…but that’s it. Otherwise they’re constructed to be flat, smooth, and minimal.
This might not seem like a major division in dress pants style, but you’d be surprised. Not only is pleated vs. non-pleated one of the most hotly contested debates about pants online, but you’ll find an entire range of opinions on which style to acquire.
Where do you stand? Let’s try and explain the advantages of pleated pants before you make your decision.
Why Pleated Dress Pants?
If you’ve ever worn a suit, then you know that a concept like “good fit” can be a fickle thing. Your tie might drape perfectly down to the top of your belt buckle, but when you sit down, suddenly it’s all over your lap. Your socks may feel high and tight, but when you pull up your pants, you find that they’ve sagged all over again. If you don’t do it right, even an expensive suit can feel like a big mess.
Suits are generally made to look good when you’re standing up. After all, that’s how your tailor measures you: standing up with your arms stretched out wide. So maybe there’s no wonder that when you sit down, it suddenly feels like your pants are too tight.
Pleated pants are designed with the idea that if you sit down, they’ll still drape over your legs comfortably thanks to the pre-designed crease.
It’s a simple advantage, but if you plan on doing a lot of sitting in your pleated pants—say, like you would at a business meeting—it’s not hard to see how it might make a world of difference.
Here are some other advantages to pleated dress pants to consider:
- Checking whether or not the pleats “open” when you’re standing helps tell whether or not it’s a good fit
- Pleated trousers tend to look more “formal,” which makes them feel like the only occasion-appropriate pants to wear at the most formal events
- For men with wide legs/hips, the extra material offers some flexibility so that the pants don’t feel as stifling
Pleating gets a bad rap sometimes, but rest easy: that’s usually because some people forget they can have a very strong role in your wardrobe.