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Shirt pleats: box, side, none, etc..

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Ligament, Sep 27, 2004.

  1. Ligament

    Ligament Active Member

    Messages:
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    Jul 26, 2004
    I am having trouble deciding what type of dress shirt shoulder pleats to go with on a routing basis. Aesthetically, I don't care for any style over another. However, I do wonder about FUNCTION. Which type of pleat, in your opinion:

    1. Allows the shirt to function best
    2. Looks the best
    3. Lays the best (well, this would be between the box and side pleat)

    So far, I have been ordering side pleat shirts. I think they are the best engineered pleat, however I'm not sure they lay as nice as box pleats. I have always seen box pleats as more informal than side or no pleats.

    I am willing to give a plain back a try, but do not want to lose any function.

    This is a very OCD question, I know, but that is why we visit this forum anyway.

    Best, Ligament
     
  2. VMan

    VMan Well-Known Member

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    I believe box pleats are the least formal, and are found on shirts with button-down collars.  The few button-down collar shirts I own all have box pleats.

    My RTW shirts that are the most fitted (slim), and IMO look the best, have side pleats.  For me, they allow the shirt to present a nice sihlouette, while allowing a little room if you need it.

    I ordered a custom shirt from Jantzen, but specified no pleats.  I think i heard the argument here before that if you order a custom shirt, if should fit perfectly without the use of pleats.

    Note: looking through my shirts, I might have to contradict what I said about button-downs having box pleats. I just found a Hilfiger and a Brooks Bros shirt, each with box pleats, and without button-down collars.

    However, my Turnbull & Asser, Robert Talbott, Versace, Agnes B, some Express, Etro, and Banana Republic shirts, plus others, have side pleats. Is this any sign of quality design or tailoring?
     
  3. gregory

    gregory Well-Known Member

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    Feb 6, 2004
    To overgeneralize, side pleat says tailored and stylish. Box pleat says mass market merchandise.
     
  4. Shirtmaven

    Shirtmaven Well-Known Member

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    The pleats add fullness to the back to aid in movment.

    The last way to add fullness is with shirring. Tiny gathers spaced across the entire back. I think it looks great. Most people don't.

    Carl
     
  5. bestmastertailor

    bestmastertailor Well-Known Member

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    May 17, 2004
    Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
    Try an inverted box pleat aka scissors pleat(box pleat turned around). This lays clean and gives extra room when needed.
     
  6. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Well-Known Member

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    Sep 19, 2003
    I used to like side pleats. Now I like the plain back. I don't feel that there is any loss of "functionality." It is a clean look, and I think slightly easier to iron. I like a small, "fitted," borderline tight yoke. Some finer shirtmakers don't really shirr along the entire seam(on the outside). Rather, they "gather" the fabric on the inside of the seam(invisible from the outside) which joins the yoke and the back.
     
  7. My View

    My View Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Singapore
    I have heard from a tailor that people with sloping shoulders should avoid side pleats and should instead opt for box pleats.  Any comments on that?
     
  8. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Well-Known Member

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    In complete agreement here.

    koji
     
  9. Ligament

    Ligament Active Member

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    As I think about it, I suppose that side pleats will give you .25-.5 inches of extra movement...not much. Maybe I should try a plain back. And I do have very large sloping shoulders, which makes it difficult for side pleats to lay properly. Thanks for the ideas.
     
  10. Threadbearer

    Threadbearer Well-Known Member

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    I'm resurrecting this thread to see if attitudes have changed much on the subject since 2004.

    For about a year now I've been ordering all my MTM shirts without pleats because my wife likes the look and because I don't think I can feel any more restriction of movement than I'd feel with a pleated shirt. All the same, I've never had the opportunity to compare two shirts that are identical except for their pleating. Has anyone here done that? Either way, I'd like to hear opinions on the issue of box pleats v. side pleats v. no pleats.
     
  11. Frodo

    Frodo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    May 9, 2009
    I order mine with none. I aim for a super trim fit and don't feel constricted by a shirt that fits close to the skin. High arm hole is what cuts it with me, for freedom of movement, not extra material built into the back.
     
  12. Ataturk

    Ataturk Well-Known Member

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    Functionally, nothing beats the center box pleat. It adds a lot more fullness to the back. The downside is that it also adds fullness to the waist in the back. 'Course more fullness there will help with movement as well.

    In my experience at least, shoulder pleats are next to useless--the extra fabric you'd need for movement needs to come from lower down the back where they don't give you much extra. But if the shirt is cut right, they can look a lot cleaner. It also might depend on how your back is shaped. For me at least, a center pleat falls between the blades naturally, but side pleats sit on my shoulder blades and kind of stick out oddly.

    Shirtmaven mentioned gathers (six years ago) or easing in the back. My Chan shirts have that done on the front shoulders and back (along with side pleats). A typical box pleat adds about 2.5-3" of ease to the back--I imagine you could get half that, maybe more, by easing the whole back without it looking like shirring. Mafoofan had an example on his old blog before he closed it off.
     
  13. Odd I/O

    Odd I/O Well-Known Member

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    The pleats add fullness to the back to aid in movment.

    The last way to add fullness is with shirring. Tiny gathers spaced across the entire back. I think it looks great. Most people don't.

    Carl


    Can anyone post pictures of what this shirring looks like on a shirt?
     
  14. Kazou

    Kazou Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Asia
    These photos are from Mafoofan. as you can see it's shirred/grinze along the entire back below the yoke. hope that helps
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  15. dv_indian

    dv_indian Well-Known Member

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    I used to always order with side pleats but out of curiosity I ordered a recent batch with flat back.
     
  16. Matt S

    Matt S Well-Known Member

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    Functionally, nothing beats the center box pleat. It adds a lot more fullness to the back. The downside is that it also adds fullness to the waist in the back. 'Course more fullness there will help with movement as well.

    In my experience at least, shoulder pleats are next to useless--the extra fabric you'd need for movement needs to come from lower down the back where they don't give you much extra. But if the shirt is cut right, they can look a lot cleaner. It also might depend on how your back is shaped. For me at least, a center pleat falls between the blades naturally, but side pleats sit on my shoulder blades and kind of stick out oddly.


    Centre box pleats don't really do anything other than balloon out at the middle of the back. They add fullness is the wrong place. They just look messy. And they're even worse if you're wearing braces.

    Side pleats look cleaner, and I find them more effective because they are over the shoulder. Your shoulders move more than the middle of your back, which is why it's more effective to have the pleats there. They way your body is shaped makes more sense to put the pleats at the side.
     
  17. raybert

    raybert Well-Known Member

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    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I like none/plain back as I'm normally wearing slim fit shirts and with MTM can get the size correct. With OTR classic/regular fits I'm swimming in fabric so pleats is of no use. For OTR slim fit shirts I prefer side over box if that was an option but to date all have been side.
     
  18. SpallaCamiccia

    SpallaCamiccia Well-Known Member

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    I am very slim so pleats make the shirt look blousy and like the notredame monster.
     
  19. landshark

    landshark Well-Known Member

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    I hate pleats. Hate them on pants, hate them on shirts. I don't have any constriction with a flat back, and I prefer the way it looks so long as there is no material spilling over the waistband.
     
  20. Douglas

    Douglas Well-Known Member

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    After ordering side pleats for some time, I have all my shirts made today without pleats. I do not miss them.
     

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