Pleated trousers

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by clarinetplayer, Oct 6, 2003.

  1. clarinetplayer

    clarinetplayer Senior member

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    I have just ordered my third made to measure suit--all of which have been fitted by three different clothining tailor/establishments.

    Only in the most recent fitting did the tailor inquire whether or not I wanted inward or outward pleats on the trousers. I had never thought about it before. Like most people, I have always worn outward (reverse) pleats. I know that inward pleats are a British tradition. My suit will be a Hickey-Freeman DB suit, side vents, working sleeve buttons, ticket pocket, with lapel vest.

    I would welcome any opinions on this subject by the many learned contributors to this forum. Thanks.
     


  2. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    If you're fairly lean, why not go the more flattering flat-front route? Otherwise, I would go with a single inward pleat, which is more forgiving than the flat-front pant, but preserves the lean silhouette.
     


  3. mistahlee

    mistahlee Senior member

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    Anyone ever worn a box pleated trouser?
     


  4. AskAndyAboutClothes

    AskAndyAboutClothes Senior member

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    Clarinetplayer: Pleats are actually practical, they automatically widen at the hips when you sit giving you more room when you need it.  Pleats also let you put more stuff in your front pockets including your hands without disturbing the drape.  If you're wearing the right size pants, pleats are actually slimming. The word "pleat" is from the Old French word pleit, which came from the Latin word plicare both meaning "to fold". There are two basic styles of pleats - Regular with the folds facing the fly  Reverse with the folds facing the pockets.  Reverse pleats seem to be the most slimming of the two styles. When you try on pants make certain that the pleats lie flat, if they are pulling open, try the next larger size.  One or two pleats on each side of the fly are plenty.  Multiple pleats are a fashion excessive. Pleats have been with us since 1825.  They are traditional for business or social-dressy occasions.  Plain front pants were in vogue during WWII when the government was trying to conserve material on military uniforms.  The "no pleats" look returned as fashion in the 70's and again in the 90's. Andy
     


  5. clarinetplayer

    clarinetplayer Senior member

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    Andy Many thanks for the history lesson and for the practical advice. Now, when I see pleats, I will have a new perspective. [​IMG]
     


  6. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    My experience has been that inward-facing pleats only work on fuller-cut trousers. If the trousers are slim-cut they don't seem to offer much in the way of functionality. I have two pairs of pants with traditional inward-facing pleats - one from a custom Alan Flusser suit and another from a Polo suit. Both pairs are full-cut. Also, both suits have vests. The traditional pleats look good under a vest.

    So I guess my point is, unless you are buying a traditional, full-cut English style suit (think RLPL by Chester Barrie) then the outward facing pleats (2 of them) would probably be the better choice.
     


  7. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    ...
     


  8. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Funny thing, and if Sartorial Solutions were around, he'd back me on this, I'm sure, but Italian and other European suits made for domestic consumption are nearly universally three button with flat-front pants these days. Only suits made for fat Americans have pleats of any kind.
     


  9. clarinetplayer

    clarinetplayer Senior member

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    Ouch.  Well, I am a 38 chest; 33 waist.  I do not think I am a "fat American".  I just like the look of pleated trousers.
     


  10. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    No offense meant. I was just commenting that pleats are common only on suits sold in the USA, and there are other, historical reasons for this. For the record, I'm a 40 jacket and a 32-33 waist (depending on the designer, season and level of exercise,) so I could hardly be called a fat American either. I wear pleated pants to interviews outside academia when I don't want to seem too "Euro" to the interviewer, but otherwise prefer flat fronts.
     


  11. matadorpoeta

    matadorpoeta Senior member

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    1) there are plenty of fat europeans.
    2) if you have skinny legs, flat front pants look best.
    3) if you have fat legs, one pleat is all that is necessary, especially if the pants are made-to-measure. double and triple pleats are for men who want to look traditional (not a bad thing).

    flat front pants, with a permanent crease that runs down the front of each leg, have the same slimming visual effect of single pleats.

    i prefer pleated pants for conservative occasions, and flat front when i go out, even though my thighs are on the thick side.

    while we're on the subject, i've been having my pants hemmed without cuffs, even if they have pleats. this makes my legs look a little longer, i think, and keeps the pleated pants from looking too conservative for my taste.
     


  12. mistahlee

    mistahlee Senior member

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    Why is that?
     


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