Men’s Pants: Pleated vs. Flat-Front

There are two types of men’s dress pants: pleated and flat-front. Most men over 30 know the difference between the two, and usually have a preference for one or the other, but for the younger guys in Columbia, MO, the difference may be unfamiliar territory. Therefore, here is everything a man needs to know about flat-front and pleated trousers.

What’s the difference?

Pleated pants have folds or creases along the waist, whereas flat-front pants, as their name suggests, lie flat against the body. Take a look:

pleated vs flat front pants

What’s the story behind these two pant styles?

Pleated pants are created by sewing folds (pleats) into the fabric and then attaching the waistband. Pleated pants are the older of the two styles and the more traditional. Flat-front pants, which have a contouring feature called a dart that allows for the pant fabric to lie flat, rotate in and out of style. In the 1950s and 60s, clean, slim and tailored silhouettes were the prevailing look (think: Mad Men), but then they faded during the 70s and 80s when a looser, roomier fit became more popular (Hammer Pants, anyone?). Then, in the 90s, the flat-front pant staged a comeback. The flat-front pant reigns again today, due largely to the overall skinny trend.

Which style of pant look best?

Your choice of pleated vs. flat-front depends on two things: your body type and comfort level. Let’s consider both options:

Pleated: Pleated pants are roomier and more accommodating to fuller, athletic body types. Flat-front pants are great for accentuating a slim figure, but may be unforgiving on a larger body. Pleated pants are more generous around the middle and can help flatten a larger stomach or backside. They are also great for active lifestyles because they are easier to move in. Lankier men should be cautious when opting for pleated pants and be sure excessive room or fabric is not making his silhouette look sloppy.

Flat-front: Flat-front pants are slimming, snugger and are popular with trendier guys. Since there are no pleats, the silhouette is cleaner, which flatters slimmer figures. On the other hand, if flat-front pants are ill fitting, they can also emphasize a belly or other “not so favorite” area of the body. They are also a little more constricting, and may limit movement.

The best way to decide between pleated and flat-front is to try both styles on, and give them each a good test drive. Sit, stand, walk around, twist, flex—see which you find more comfortable. Also, keep in mind that alterations may have to be made with either style, because as you know, every man is different.

Which style goes best with a suit?

Pleated pants are the most common suit pant. Skinny guys will have an easier time getting away with pleated pants if worn as part of suit because the hem of the jacket will conceal any extra fabric along the waist. On the other hand, flat-front pants are all the rage right now, due to the overall slim, trim “Mad Men” trend, and can make for a really clean-cut, sharp-looking suit.

To see if you prefer pleated or flat-front trousers, come into Binghams today. We will help you sample a variety of cuts and styles, and ensure you get the best possible fit.

Find us here.

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