Ask the Experts: Are Pleated Pants Back in Style?

Ask the Experts: Are Pleated Pants Back in Style?

Photo by Laura Dewilde on Unsplash.

Got a menswear question you need answered? Let us give it a shot. Here at Epic Mens, our brand experts are eager to help. No question is too trivial, random or offbeat. Most importantly, no question is unanswerable. If we don’t have the info you’re looking for, we’ll link you to top online experts who do. This month, we’re entering the debate over pleats versus flat fronts. Which option do you think is trending now? Read on to learn more. 

Flat-front pants still rule

If you guessed flat-front, you’re right. For the last two decades, men have gravitated to the clean, tailored look of flat-front pants. No excess fabric, no hint of frumpiness. Just a slim, modern silhouette. And judging from the pant styles our customers are wearing, we’d have to concur, flat-fronts are still preferred.

BUT, and this is a big but, pleats appear to be staging an impressive comeback. Not only are they roomier, more comfortable, and better able to hide those extra few inches of waistline, they’re also way more fashion-forward. According to GQ fashion commentator Yang-Yi Goh, pleats are a “throwback path to right-now cool.” However, today’s fresh take on pleated pants bears little resemblance to the pants your father wore in the 80s or your grandfather wore in the 50s. While pleats are still defined as inward- or outward-facing folds of fabric on the front of a high-rise pant, that’s where the similarity ends. Whereas traditional pleated pants conjure up visions of ballooning groins and baggy legs, contemporary pleated designs are far more fitted. Made from lightweight poplins, linens, and cotton-blends or softly draping wools, modern versions of a pleated pant often feature fewer pleats (less fabric) and tapered, cropped legs that accentuate both the wearer’s calves and ankles. This highly stylized look lends itself to a variety of options when it comes to above-the-waist pairings. Throw on a sharp blazer and tie or a blousy dress shirt or even an untucked, open collar camp shirt. Or if you’re wanting a more casual vibe, consider pairing your pleats with a body-hugging tee, roomy hoodie, or leather bomber jacket. The possibilities are endless, and you’d be hard-pressed to call any of them old-fashioned or dated.

So, although we wouldn’t recommend giving up your flat-front pants entirely, it might be time to think about branching out. Who knows? If you’re feeling particularly daring, a foray back into the world of pleats might be just the adventure you’re looking for.
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