To Pleat or Not to Pleat... That is the Question
Should you wear pants with pleats or without pleats? Should they have cuffs or no cuffs?
Wearing the correct pair of pants is important to your image.
A good pair of pants brings your whole look together.
Although a man's pants aren't intended to be the main attraction, when they're right, everything looks right, and when they're wrong, everything else, no matter how great, looks wrong.
Pants are a basic part of the foundation of a man's outfit, playing a supporting role in the overall look. When combined with the right jacket, shirt and tie, they complete the outfit and should direct attention to the wearer's face.
Understanding the style of pants
Pleated vs. non pleated pants: As with many other fashion "statements" whether or not to wear pleated pants changes frequently. First they're "in" and then they're "out", it's hard to keep up.
- Pleats are small, permanent folds that begin at the base of the waistband and travel a short distance vertically toward the floor.
- They add flexibility and comfort to the pants, expanding a little as the wearer sits, bends and walks.
- Pants can feature 1, 2, or 3 pleats.
- Pleats are good indicators of proper fit...when the wearer is standing, the pleats should lay flat, if they bulge open the pants are too tight.
- Non pleated or flat front pants add a sleeker, slimmer look and are more form fitting.
Cuffed vs. non cuffed pants:
- Cuffs are the small turned up bands found at the ankle.
- Because of their tendency shorten to the look of the leg, cuffs are not the ideal for short men.
- Pleated pants usually have cuffs, because the cuffs add a little bit of extra weight to the pant, holding the pleats flatter.
- Flat front pants do not usually have cuffs.
- Cuffed pants typically wear a little longer due to the durability of the doubled over fabric of the cuff.
How should pants fit?
Whether or not your pants have pleats or cuffs or neither, that's a personal choice. What matters the most is the way your pants fit.
A good fitting pair of pants should flow from the waist to the ankles, nicely tapered from top to bottom.
They should be tight enough that there is no extra fabric making them too loose or billowy. At the same time they need to be loose enough so they don't bind, wrinkle or bunch.
The length of the pant is equally important. The hem of your pants should fall just past your ankles with only one "break" at the top of your shoes. Without a break your pants look to short, and with more than one break they are too long and give you a sloppy appearance.
As a men's fashion consultant and custom clothier, I can help you choose the style and fit for pants that are right for you. Bringing fabric samples, I will come to your location, take accurate measurements and help you build your wardrobe and your style.
Give me a call for a free consultation. 206-571-6687
**originally published 6/24/11