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The Suit Series, Pt. VI: Pleats or Flat-Fronts?

Pepsi or Coke? White or wheat? Pat’s or Geno’s? Some issues in life don’t have shades of grey, and in the world of custom suiting, the question of pleated pants versus flat-front pants is one of those issues. What’s a man to do? This sixth installment of the Suit Series will explore both options and give you some food for thought.

Flat-front pants

Blue Flat Front Custom Pants

Flat-front pants are unquestionably more “of the moment” and have been for a while. Younger men tend to prefer them as they have a more fashion-forward appearance than pleated pants but are still appropriate for traditional business purposes. They work particularly well on slimmer men, and if you wear your pants lower on your waist, flat-fronts are the way to go.

Pleated pants

Black Bespoke Pleated Pants

Pleats are incrementally dressier than flat-fronts and are definitely the more traditional choice for suit pants. A classic business look, pleats exist to accommodate the natural expansion of the hips when a man sits down. Especially when worn on the natural waist, the pleat smoothly transitions into the crease of the pant leg and forms an aesthetically pleasing vertical line that lends height to the wearer. We offer single-, double-, and triple-pleated pants in either forward-facing (facing the fly) or reverse (facing the pockets).

While pleated pants aren’t currently as “in” as flat-fronts, we’ve started seeing a slow return of pleats to fashion runways, meaning that we may start seeing them on the young and hip in a couple years’ time. Regardless of their runway status, they’re still in the canon of classic menswear and will always be appropriate. Beware, though: wearing them low on the waist may cause the pleats to open more than they should and result in an unsightly presentation.

What should I do?

As always, think about your sensibilities and the image you’re trying to project. Are you more of a traditionalist in a conservative industry? Pleats are probably more your speed. Do you plan to wear this suit to the grand opening of the hippest new restaurant in town? Flat-fronts would be more appropriate here. If you’re still unsure, talk with one of our Image Consultants. They’re here to guide you through all your decisions so you can be sure you’re looking your best.

Next up: Tuxes versus suits!

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