10 years ago, dress pants almost exclusively had pleated fronts…except for a few pair sold to senior citizens who preferred flat front.
Today, as history runs its course, flat front trousers have made a huge resurgence.
There are fashion benefits to each. The pleated pant actually will look more flattering on a heavier guy, if the pants are worn at the true waist…not below one’s belly. This is due to the visual effect of the pleat’s lines.
On the other hand, a properly fitting flat front trouser does have a more modern, cleaner look due to the elimination of the extra lines.
Fit-wise, unless you have a model-lean body with a small derriere, pleated pants will be more comfortable for most guys. This is because the pleated pant has as much as 3 1/2″ of extra fabric in the knee of the pant vs. the flat front. The typical specs for a “pleat” are one inch. That means 2″ of extra fabric. If the second pleat is 1/2″ deep, you’ve got 3″ of extra fabric.
I personally prefer the fit of a pleated pant, but like the style benefits of a flat front pant. My solution is a custom pant…made with a flat front, side seam pockets, and a little extra fabric added to the seat and as much as 3″ extra added to the knee to replicate the fit of a pleated pant…but without the pleats!
If you have the pants made with a side-seam press…this is the normal crease most dress pants come with-the crease is down the middle of the pant- the extra fabric is unnoticeable from the front and back. Here is a recent email testimonial from a satisfied customer who’s wife insisted he try flat fronts on his new suit:
“Vince: Thanks for your help with my recent purchase from Christophers. I particularly love the custom flat-front pants— a little sleeker and up-to-date but still comfortable because of the custom adjustments you suggested. I’m glad I listented to your advice. I have several pairs of off-the-rack pairs that I never wear because they are comfortable only when I first put them on in the morning. By 10am they are driving me crazy! The custom pairs you had made for me are as easy to wear as my jeans. The shirts are always great– go figure, shirts that actually fit. (underline emphasis added)
Thanks again and all my best. Jim G.”
So…if you are the average guy who needs to wear dress pants or a suit for work, want to look up-do-date in a flat front trouser, but prefer the comfort of your existing pleated pants…ask your custom tailor to make a pair of flat front trousers with a larger knee.
Please don’t hesitate to call me with your fashion questions or for an appointment do discuss your wardrobe needs.
Vinnie Rua- Founder, Christopher’s Custom