Smart Dressing - How to wear pleated trousers 101
How to wear pleated trousers
"Pleats are in, and they’re easier to wear than you think"
Pleated trousers are a funny one. For many men, they’re too adventurous to even consider and, true enough, many high street and mainstream fashion brands don’t sell them.
This, we think, is a shame. Pleats are surprisingly easy to wear – all they need is a little bit of thought. After all, if every style icon from Fred Astaire to Yves Saint Laurent has made them work, they’ve got be worth a try?
The key to getting pleats right is to understand what you’re working with. There are two types to get your head around; the first are reverse facing pleats, which fold outwards towards the wearer’s hips and give the impression of a boxy trouser front. The second are forward facing pleats, which face inwards and flow down over the hips.
“Pleats can work on anyone, you just need to get the proportions right”
Both come from different menswear traditions (forward facing pleats have their roots in British military uniforms and reverse pleats in Neapolitan tailoring) and there are merits to both styles. Reverse pleats are modern, and generally speaking more fashionable, while forward facing pleats are a classically elegant choice designed to give the illusion of an hourglass silhouette.
Both can work on different figures (it’s a myth that short or stout men can’t wear pleats), you just need to get the proportions right. Pleats work best on high-rise trousers that sit atop the hips, and fit snugly in the waist. They’re are designed to give you more room around the thighs and hips – so don’t be afraid to wear your trousers high and snug in the seat.
Below are five pairs that demonstrate the versatility of pleated trousers – proof they don’t have to be stuffy, shapeless or difficult to wear. Here’s hoping you spot a pair that you’d like to road test this season.
1. Get comfy
Here’s our first pleated trouser preconception to break-down for you: pleats don’t have to be formal. A Sneaker and a simple Jacket for a look that’s sharp, but understated at the same time.
2. Go large and form fitting
Wide-leg field trousers and chore trousers are the stuff of cult menswear legend, but these new season tailored trousers are seriously cool, too. They combine a traditional open-weave wool cloth (that breathes in warm weather) with contemporary, generous but tapered legs, If you’re into retro tailoring, go all-in and pair with the matching suit jacket, or, let your checked trews do the talking and pair with a mandarin collar shirt by us. Finish with dark brown suede loafers.
3. Crop up & Strap In
Exaggerated cropped hems are in, and with good reason. Whether you’re into ankle boots in autumn or ‘mankling’ in spring, wearing trousers with a shortened length is youthful, relaxed and gives a formal style a casual edge. Our new pleated trouser model is perfect for this, cut in light, smooth cotton canvas with forward facing pleats and trim turn-ups. Our huge turn in style are the Gurkha Trousers with belted side take in name of the nepal’s elite soldiers of the same name, and the Gurkhas themselves, in turn, derive their name from the Nepalese Kingdom of Gorkha. It was at the Gorkha military fort of Nalapani that the British military, in the form of the East India Company, came into conflict with the Gurkhas in around 1814, and their bravery and ferocity came as something of a shock.
Take note, the waist’s nice and high (as it should be), so tuck your top in for a retro look or leave loose for something more contemporary and embrace the Gurkha waistband.
Pair this with a cotton blazer by The Spectre and our Signature One Piece Collar Shirt.