Double forward-facing pleats, from Panico

Oddly, readers ask about style points on trousers more frequently than on jackets. Perhaps it’s because we don’t cover them as much.
In this article therefore – the seventh in the Suit Style series – we’ll tackle one of them: pleats.  Hopefully it will answer all future inquiries. If I’ve missed anything, please do ask in the comments and I will add it later. There is a separate post here on trouser fit and shape. I’ll do ones at a later date on rise, and on other design details.   


Two backward-facing pleats, on Prologue trousers

The function of pleats is to create greater room around the tops of trousers, yet have that space collapse when not required, keeping the silhouette sharp and clean.
They are particularly useful for those that use their pockets often, as this puts strain on the area.  Arguably, they are also more useful on high-waisted trousers (those sitting above the hip bones, on the natural waist between hips and ribs) as the trouser has more work to do running from small waist to bigger hips, and then into the thigh.  This is why RTW high-waisted trousers, for men and women, often come with pleats. Pleats also function better with high trousers worn with braces, because the braces attach just at the top of the pleats, pull on them, and so keep them under tension.   


Braces pulling on pleated trousers, at Shibumi
The downsides of pleats are that they can look a little old-fashioned – which is very cultural and subjective – and that they create an excess of unflattering material in the lap when seated.  They are also generally seen as a little smarter than trousers without pleats (flat fronts) and therefore better suited to suits or formal trousers.  There are several variations of pleat, in terms of number, direction and size.  In general, the more there are, the greater the functional benefits, but also the greater the potential drawbacks.   


Ambrosi trousers with a single pleat
Most trousers have one or two pleats.  The first pleat is longer and sits in the middle of the trouser, running down into its central crease. If there is a second pleat, it is smaller and sits between this central pleat and the pocket.  Occasionally trousers have three pleats, but this is usually a fashion thing and adds little functionality.  A single pleat can be added to most trousers – from smart worsteds to casual cottons – and be barely noticed. It can add functionality without much concern about old-fashioned style or formality. Two pleats is more likely to stand out.   


Two front-facing pleats, on Igarashi trousers
Pleats can face in two directions: either backward facing, where the excess material is gathered towards the back of the trouser, nearer the pocket; and front facing, which is the opposite. See the different images above for illustration. Backward facing or reverse pleats are by far the most common on ready-to-wear trousers. Stylistically they probably look nicer, keeping the inward half of the trouser leg neater.  Arguably front-facing pleats function better though, and some prefer the outer half of the trouser to be cleaner, between the pleat and the pocket. You can see that in the Igarashi image above: the right, outer half of the trouser leg is very neat, while the inner half is always going to be slightly messier. Historically, front-facing pleats have been more common in English tailoring, and backward-facing in Italian tailoring. The dominance of Italian fashion brands and manufacturers has been one reason the latter have become so much more popular. 
Kissing pleat, from Cerrato
Another variation is the kissing pleat, where the excess material is gathered between two sides of material.  Although this might seem to be the best of both worlds – in terms of keeping both sides of the trouser leg clean – it does mean you lose the attractive sharpness of the pleat running down into the crease of the trouser.  As such it is probably best thought of as a variety for its own sake. 
Pleats are harder to keep sharp on softer materials, like this cotton
The other important thing to remember with pleats is that they work better in sharper, more densely woven materials.  In general, trousers are made out of such materials anyway (see cloth post here) because it means they drape better and hold a crease.  But not all are. Most worsted wools (standard suit material) are fine for example, as are linens. But some cottons and woollens are looser and softer – moleskin and most tweeds, for example.  With trousers like these (chinos are another good example), any pleat might lose its sharpness and stay open, removing both its functional and aesthetic attractions.   
Pleats opening, even in dense material
Personally, I’ve also found over the years that my physiognomy – with a relatively large seat compared to my waist and thighs – means that pleats rarely function well.  That area is under more strain (and I use pockets heavily, which doesn’t help) with the result that the pleats often stay open. Again, all reasons for having them are lost.  This is where having deeper pleats, with more material tucked underneath, can help. (Though the cut of the trouser and that hardness of the material help more.)   


Flat-fronted trousers from Whitcomb & Shaftesbury
So what do I tend to have on my trousers?  Well, I’ve tried all the combinations over the years, with one and two pleats, front and backward, on mid- and high-rise trousers.  Today, I would always have at least one pleat on a pair high-waisted trousers. But I rarely wear those I would always have backward-facing pleats, just because I think the look is more attractive.  And I would tend to one pleat rather than two, because I’m personally more concerned with avoiding an old-fashioned look.  This is driven by two things. One, that my aim is usually to appear well-dressed without anything obvious to point at – and that usually means cloth and cut, rather than design details.  And two, from a personal style point of view I’m always interested in subverting the formal assumptions of tailoring, for example by wearing it with polo shirts or denim shirts, or casual outerwear. I have flat fronts on most of my trousers, therefore, and a single backward-facing pleat only occasionally, on more formal suits or trousers.   


Flat fronts on chinos, from Stoffa
For men more generally, I would say that if you like the idea of pleats, try single backward-facing pleats on a suit or smart trousers, and see what you feel about the style. It’s only a small thing if you decide you don’t like them later. (Though they can’t be taken out, at least without remaking a lot of the trouser.) I say this because although the functionality and the fit of pleats are important, the style and its effects will always be the biggest factor.  If you wear high-waisted trousers, on the other hand, you’re already into this more traditional area, and pleats will be less of a concern, as well as being more practical.   
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Excellent article.
Few sartorial issues have me scratching my well coiffured head more than the ‘pleats’ conundrum.
Ultimately I’m of the opinion that a lot depends on a flaneur’s body shape.
More than one pleat looks better on the tall and slim. It prevents the ‘stick insect’ look.
Conversely, on the short and particularly the portly, more than one risks to make them look like ‘Chubby Checker’.


You use the word ‘flaneur’ a lot. I thought I knew what this word meant (I assumed it meant something like well-dressed gentleman, or man of refined tastes). However, I just looked up what this word means and it turns out it means something quite different and has quite a complicated history. I am not sure you are using it completely correctly.


To quote Inigo Montoya – “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means”. But yes. A cease and desist notice would be useful in regards to this.


@ E L: Agreed. It’s quite annoying.


I’ve been wearing pleated high-waisted trousers since I started buying from thrift stores as a student, and I’ve never looked back. I got so used to them that flat-fronted trousers just look unfinished to me; I don’t like this expanse of flat cloth that moves and creases without any design to guide it. Even my jeans and shorts are pleated. I’m glad they’ve come back into fashion because I think everyone looks better in them.


Oh, come to think of it – I have some ladies trousers in rayon with SIX pleats that are amazingly comfortable and flowy. I’m skinny but I just enjoy having lots of room in the thigh They taper to the hem so the overall silhouette isn‘t too odd.


One name. Gianni Versace. Not Versace but the pre 1997 stuff.

Joacim Byléhn

Pleats are a funny thing. I never used to like them, but in the last 5 years the only trousers I have made up or bought OTR without pleats are some basic chinos.
Somewhat ironically, most of my double pleated trousers are linen. I kind of like the dressy feel and look while being able to style them casually.

Fashion, including the classic menswear side, is certainly cyclical, we’re erring into the late 80’s and early 90’s slowly but steadily again, and I’m sure in another two-three years we’ll see a lot more pleats on the high street.

You sort of allude to it Simon, but I’d argue that higher rise trousers more or less need a pleat. If not, all that fabric from the crotch up will just look plain unflattering.


Very true – they can look great in casual outfits.
I was watching an old Eastwood movie at the weekend and in it they paired a suede jacket with pleated grey flannels and a tucked in polo shirt. It looked extremely stylish and a great look particularly for the taller flaneur !


I’m interested , Jason, what was the movie? In Play Misty for Me he makes clothing look effortless. Few people talk about “his” style (it’s always McQueen this + McQueen that). It’s also really funny (to me, anyway) that Japanese style magazines (like Leon and Men’s Precious) fetishize Woody Allen’s clothing (and Woody Allen) from the 70s and 80s. I’d call it schlubby “style” vs. ivy league style (or prep). Either way – Allen didn’t so much wear it well, as the clothes decidedly “wore him.” It’s also probably a body-type issue here (to some extent). Eastwood could get away with wearing just about anything, while very little could be done to make Allen presentable.


Nearly WES WP !
It was actually ‘Absolute Power’ but it could have been ‘Play Misty For Me’ (a great movie) and certainly Clint was an ace flaneur as is his son Kyle.


To what extent is it possible to minimize the “excess of unflattering material in the lap” as you so eloquently describe it? Have you noticed a big difference here between RTW and bespoke?

Jordan Healey

I’ve found that a zip fly will cause more of a bulge than a button fly because the zip is less flexible. This is no doubt what caused Larry David’s ‘pants tent’ in the first Curb Your Enthusiasm episode.

jonathan a. taub

Well said. I’m a fan of the flat front pant. Works best for those like me on the shorter side. One pleat at most as well . Also, prefer the belted trouser rather than the side-tab.

ben w

Why do you say that the more pleats you have the more the functional benefits accrue and only a few sentences later say that having three pleats adds little functionality? If the functional benefits of having more than one pleat stops after having two pleats, that rather suggests that “more pleats = more functionality” is a rather wan generalization!

Do kissing pleats in fact keep both sides of the trouser leg clean,? It’s a little ambiguous whether you mean to state that they only seem to offer the best of both worlds *despite* offering that benefit, or that even that is merely a seeming benefit. I don’t really see why “as such” they’re best thought of as variety for its own sake, rather than something with a downside (no sharp pleat running down into the crease) and an upside (cleanliness of the leg; not to mention, someone might actually like how that pleat style looks).


“The function of pleats is to create greater room around the tops of trousers, yet have that space collapse when not required, keeping the silhouette sharp and clean.”

I think this is only partly true. Yes, significantly more space around the top of the trouser is sometimes required. (The primary case, though, is when one sits down as opposed to when one is using one’s pockets.) But by being more generous at the top at all times vs. flat fronts, pleats strike a more pleasant profile silhouette on the larger man by hiding to a degree the bulge that would appear with flat fronts, even when he is standing. In doing so, it’s also more comfortable. It’s for this reason rather than that of accommodating the hip bones that high rise trousers need the pleats more: they must on a high rise also accommodate the wearer’s belly. On a slim guy like Simon, flat fronts high rises work just fine, provided that the tailor properly cuts the fabric.

Matt Spaiser

Excellent overview of pleats. I prefer forward pleats, as they provide a trimmer and neater silhouette. But if they don’t fit well and can’t hold a crease, they don’t look very good. For pleats that don’t stay closed, reverse is better than forward because the centre line stays in place. When forward pleats don’t stay closed, they look worse because the centre line of the trousers is messed up. If you have trouble with pleats staying closed, double are better than single because the second pleat provides extra fullness to help keep the main pleat closed.

When well-fitted, forward pleats look trimmer and are more slimming. When I was younger and heavier, people would ask me if I lost weight when wearing forward pleats instead of reverse. I carried my weight in my hips and seat, which meant that I needed pleats because flat front trousers never fit me. Pleats provided extra fullness over the area where I needed it. They also help if you like to keep things in your pockets. As long as the pleats were deep enough and there were two on each side, they gave me the room I needed and could drape well. If your pleats are not functioning well, it means your trousers aren’t cut well. Commonly makers don’t put as much fullness in the back when they have pleats, which may be the problem you’re having. It sounds like your larger seat is pulling cloth from the front, which is why pleats aren’t staying closed.

Your Whitcomb & Shaftesbury trousers pictured don’t entirely have a flat front. They have a dart in the front, which provides fullness in the front in a similar way that pleats do, just to a lesser extent. Front darts are a great help if the trousers need to curve over the hips.

Matt Spaiser

I think some of the pleated trousers shared here look good, but I am surprised that none of the countless tailors you have used have been able to fit trousers on you well enough for the pleats to function properly. Single-pleats are more difficult to fit in my experience, while the second pleats helps a lot to keep the main pleat closed by providing more fullness at the hips. I’m sure if you were interested enough you could find the right tailor to make pleats work (I have confidence that Michael Browne could do it), but it sounds like flat front trousers are more of a priority for you.

Philip Gilbert

Thanks, once again for concise and interesting coverage.
For the record, I reverted to double forward-facing pleated trousers some 3-yrs ago, primarily because the looked more elegant, and suited my body shape better.
When the first pair were delivered in saw them as being contemporary and in no way old fashioned, perhaps help by the relatively narrow leg-opening of 7 ½”.
My view of pleats being old-fashioned is that its influenced by age.
To better explain this, I grew up in the 70s, trousers were flat-fronted and narrow at the top, the bottom being (very) flared. Putting aside punk in 1976, the turning point were the early Armani collections, 1976-77 onwards, where a new generation was introduced to pleated trousers, for us they were contemporary simply because they weren’t what everyone else was wearing.
During the early-80s the Armani softened the look with the kissing pleats you mention, and also box pleats creating a “round-legged” look.
The next change was c.1988 when Romeo Gigli started to slim down the silhouette, leading to flat-fronted trousers. The early Prada collections appeared to be very influenced by what Gigli did. Interestingly, flat-fronted trousers seem to have been contemporary for many years, I can remember Raf Simons and post-Hedi Slimane Dior trying to reintroduce pleats, and for the Japanese, such as Yohji, they never went away.
You, having the advantage of youth, therefore may view pleats as I do flat-fronted trousers, i.e. something to be wary of as they be “old fashioned”.
Like all these things its subjective, and in this case influenced by age.
Your grey Panico suit with the double forward-facing pleated trousers is simply very elegant, I can’t imagine it looking the same with a flat-fronted trouser.


I have two backward facing pleats on all my suit and dressier pants. Pleats look fantastic on flannel pants, and other Autumn/Winter fabrics, and don’t look old fashioned. Plain front I use for any casual pants such as chinos, corduroy, cotton etc. With linen pants however I do prefer pleats.

Tim Fleming

It seems to me that the word “physiognomy” should be replced with “physiology.”

Tim O’Hearn

Since it has been brought up, I think the most appropriate term you are both looking for is “anthropometry”.

Nice article Simon! I wrote about pleats too on another website, more as a primer article 🙂

Frank Shattuck

Pleats needs ample cloth to function and not open. Trim trousers with pleats don’t go together. Also, pleats must fall on a plumb line from the waist to the cuff or they will curve over to the center and bow open at the waist.

Evan Everhart

I’m firmly in the no pleats team. I cannot abide them. I think they are fussy and showy. Not my taste. The only pleats that are even marginally tenable, are single forward pleats, and then only if they are desired for stylistic purposes (I can’t imagine why though)…. that said, I don’t care if others wear them, but they are absolutely not for me. As to what some here have said, pleats, like darted jacket fronts were for the majority or even entirety of the 19th century, not in existence in men’s tailored wear. Men’s garments then still fit and were functional and had ease, it just required more skill to cut them to fit well and perform their function without those short cuts. A high waist with slight skirted ease in the hips and a fish tail back fits just as well or better and with more ease than any pleated garment without the messy finishing. I have a few pairs of trousers that are reproduction 19th century canvas duck work trousers and I assure you that they are far more comfortable and easy in their fit than any pleated trousers. Cut is 99 percent of any garment, followed by how that cut garment is put together, true to the cutter’s pattern. If everything is quality, no gimmicks such as pleats or darts are necessary to get an immaculate fit and good ease of movement with that immaculate fit. Food for thought. My Great-Grandmother was a professional seamstress and used to make suits, she used to tell me that darts and pleats and such were short cuts used on inferior garments made by inferior cutters who couldn’t get a good fit the old fashioned way or were disinclined to do the work or did know how to. That may seem like harsh words, and I don’t mean to offend any here, but that is what she, a professional seamstress told me.


Good guide and some well made points.
I’m not bulky in frame but have also found pleated trousers, especially if well cut, very comfortable simply because they give an ease and freedom of movement not found in flat fronted trousers. The difficulty is matching them in silhouette to other elements: traditionally shirts would be fuller in shape and jackets (or coats…) require to be broader in the shoulder with a slightly longer length (vs. the more fitted, shorter silhouette that has been in fashion over the last decade). However the wheel of fashion is turning and fuller, more flowing silhouettes are beginning to return, including, perhaps, a range of pleat styles.


Re. Jason and his ‘flaneuring’ – it’s repetitive if used too often but he’s only having a little fun – nothing particularly harmless in intent and at least he tries to contribute with positive (sometimes funny) comments?


Simon, you mention pleats can look a little old-fashioned. I think this can certainly be true on an ill-fitting pair of trousers but if the cut and line is good and clean I would say pleats do not look old-fashioned, or if they do it is marginal.


Is there a noticeable “house style” difference when it comes to trousers, like W&S vs Cerrato for example? Or are they comparable in design if you show them what you want?

Jordan Healey

In my experience with pleats pulling open, it can sometimes be due to the seat but also how the front piece is cut. I have a full seat and a lot of mass in my front thigh, and some trousers are cut too close in the front for the pleat to sit closed because there isn’t the extra fabric in the thigh below the pleat for it to drape away from the leg.
It’s only something I’ve recently picked up on after this happened on my most recent commission, and I now know to look out for it in the future.

Frank Shattuck

Jordan, your pant pattern needs more “stride”. It’s a manipulation done from the crotch point on the back pattern piece up to the top of the center seam. It makes the cloth go around. It creates roundness in the seat. Comfort. . I’ll bet that when you sit and walk the pant pulls on
your thigh. And when you sit it pulls up the crotch. Pants must be comfortable when sitting. The most time spent in them is sitting.


Hi Frank, I haven’t noticed any discomfort when sitting, but I do notice that the thigh feels a bit close when I walk. I will check with the maker about it next time I am in.

Frank Shattuck

Sir, believe it or not, not enough “stride” in the back seam will cause pulling on the thigh – and also – for the cuffs to pull up when you walk. Also, a straight( not concave) seam line from the seat to the cuff on the pack pattern is a good idea. Pants patterns are very temperamental.



My pants often suffer from this problem. Can you restate or elaborate on the solution? I.e., how does one add more “stride?”

Jordan Healey

Following your comment I took that specific commission back for an adjustment and that fixed the problem, thanks!


Two of the last three pictures show flat-front pants with cuffs. One rule for pant cuffs says that flat-front pants should not have cuffs.
What is your opinion on this argument ?


Dear Simon

What is your take on the multi complex pleated works of the likes of Gianni Versace in the mid 80s to 90s?

Frank Shattuck

The first photo of forward pleats by Panico are how pleated trousers should be cut. Ample cloth all around and the pleat is cut on the straight of grain. And it falls plumb. Also, a third pleat will just puff out at the side. It serves no function. Unfortunately I had a pair.


Well done Simon, good article and the pleats topic never fails to unleash visceral debate. I own a variant that was not mentioned: inner forward pleat + outer reverse pleat. I attibute it to clueless fancifulness, because I cannot see the functional logic. They are not really high end RTW, got them in France in the early 90’s and are still with me.


Hi Simon

Do you have any opinions on the various back pocket on trousers and do they differ whether they are odd or part of a suit?



I like pleats, but right now with the dominance of the “flat front” look, plus the fact I am trim, means all the great suits I still keep (although rarely wearing) look like “zoot suits” (or at least what someone who didn’t live though that era believes they look like)…I attribute it to a fullness that extends to the knee and beyond…sad, and I am hoping they make a general comeback soon, so I can at least be a little less self reluctant to wear them…

Andie Nicolas

Good article! Is it the case that pleats are recommended for persons with a ‘tummy’ as the additional material hides the bulk there? Perhaps flat-fronted trousers would follow too closely and therefore highlight the bottom half of the ‘tummy’.



I am about to commission a bespoke suit (worsted in conservative cloth, although considering flannel) and am deciding about a second pair of trousers. One would be flat front without cuffs and the other high waisted with pleats and cuffs. Is this advisable? Do these styles complement the same jacket/coat? Does the choice of cloth (worsted versus flannel) affect this advise?

Great website. Please keep up the excellent work.

Alex N.

Dear reader and Simon,
I did that when I ordered my first suit from Whitcomb and Shaftesbury. I would strongly advise you to do first one and then the second one (I did it like that). On the first one I was went with flat front (mid-rise) and they were well cut but on the second one I went with higher rise (to sit on the natural hips) and one outward pleat (and cut for braces but still had side adjusters). I would recommend that you don’t have one cut for braces because I was experimenting more than anything else and I believe I will take them in the waist, so that I use the side adjusters. Now I would prefer the one with pleat apart from the fact that I believe the pleat is not deep enough to be functional. I have had trousers with Pommella Napoli and the pleat is twice as deep, functional and better aesthetically. I personally wouldn’t wear a trouser of a suit on its own even if it was in grey. I hope it helps.
Alex N.


I’m struggling with W&S not making pleats deep enough. They are almost apologetically shallow

Sam Tucker

I wear pleated chinos almost every day, and I much prefer pleated trousers to the flat kind. They have a nicer shape, feel more comfortable, especially when sitting. The inability of cotton to hold its shape is a desirable trait if you want your trousers to look more casual. While worsted trousers might look more formal with pleats, cotton is the opposite.



This is a very interesting and informative article. When having trousers made bespoke or MTM (I have a smattering of both) I always request no pleats and no cuffs. Simply because, after a bit of experimentation, I really like the way these features looks on me. Like anything in clothing, I believe it is simply a matter of personal preference and finding what one enjoys the most.

This article and the accompanying comments are a wonderful read. The little details like this are what make dress clothing so fascinating.


It may just be my build, but in my experience I’ve never found flat-fronted trousers to be any less comfortable than pleated ones, nor have I noticed any significantly greater functionality provided by the latter. Entirely a personal view, of course, but I find pleats fussy-looking and unflattering and the bunching of the excess cloth irritating. Whether or not pleats are fashionable, I won’t be returning to them.


Simon, would you recommend a single pleat for somebody of my build? I’m mostly wearing RTW casual flat front trousers, but all of them had the waist taken in and are worn more like mid-rise trosers. The thing is, my hips are significantly wider than the waist. I’d probably only get flannels, linens, high-twists and maybe cawalry twills made. I would like to stick to mid-rise, since it doesn’t throw off my proportions – since I’m underweight it actually improves the waist-to-shoulders ratio. But then I’d rather run a slim cut of pretty much everything. So, is the single pleat going to work with the idea I have, or against it?


Hi Simon,
A question on an aspect I don’t think has been discussed above: how much does matter how high the pleat starts its opening? I have had trousers made recently by two different tailors and their pleats (single, forward) start opening 1 – 1,5 cm below the waistband. My older RTW trousers pleats (double, reverse) start opening 3 – 4 cm below the waistband. All of them mid rise sitting on the hip bone. Is it just a style thing or is it functional? Lower does look sharper.
Would it be different depending on rise?
How about deepness? I have measured between 1 – 1,5 cm.


Thanks for this thoughtful piece, Simon! For one who mostly prefer his trousers flat-fronted, you write with exceptional insight, for. A non-tailor, about pleats in trousers. The fact that your body shape and personal preferences differ from my own doesn’t diminish the value of your observations. What do experienced, justifiably confident tailors say about the viability of altering oversized wool/silk/linen trousers with single everted pleats to inverse, to make them hang more perfectly, including with a straight, neat crease, from braces, with the help of buckled sidespenders?

Dan C

Hi Simon,

This is a really helpful post, thank you.

My business, like many, has moved to smart casual rather than the traditional navy business suit. This has caused me to realise how badly fitting standard OTR chinos are. Low rise, ill fitting and for some reason always made from a stretch material (!?). Far closer to the casual end of ‘smart casual’ and I don’t feel comfortable in them when meeting clients.

Your post and site has helped me to understand what I would like to find – a mid rise, single pleat, side adjuster pair of pants made from either a chino or gaberdine cloth. Given the current climate I’m not in a desperate rush to spend £600+ on a single pair but was thinking more around the range of £150-£200. Is this unrealistic?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



Hi Simon,

Very interesting article as usual.

What would be your view on a single reverse pleat on cotton chinos?

It is for a MTM high waisted cut trouser with Solbiati winter cotton fabric.

I understand that with cotton, the pleat is difficult to maintain and therefore losses a lot of its aesthetic benefits (sharp lines etc.). There is a risk without the sharp line being able to be maintained (as with most worsted suiting fabric), the pleat in a cotton trouser would look a bit shabby.

What would be your general advice for MTM cotton chinos in terms of single pleat vs flat front.

Some would say for worsted wool and flannel, go for a single pleat and for more casual cotton chinos opt for the flat front. I am keen to hear your thoughts and views.



Thanks Simon.

I don’t really need the pleat for a good fit. I think a flat front will fit just as well and will look cleaner given the material.

Go without it is.


Hi Simon,

This may seem like a silly question, but how do you determine if a rise is high or mid. I was fitted for a orazio luciano suit recently and I am trying to determine if I want a single pleat or no pleats.


Hi Simon,

I apologize if I am misunderstanding your use of the word high-waisted, but in this article high waisted is synonymous with high rise? You do not recommend pleats for a mid-rise, based on personal preferences, correct?

Dash Riprock.

Pleats, not unless you’re Cary Grant or Gianni agnelli , or a fan of the Euro suit. Hopefully never to be seen ? again.

Alex N.

Dear Simon,
Could you also speak a bit on where the pleat is supposed to start? I have seen English examples where the pleat starts at the waistband and Italian ones where the pleat is preceded by a dart (5cm below the waistband). What difference does it make and is one more functional than the other?


Hello Simon. Another great article. I’ve been pouring over your articles trying to make sense of where to take my wardrobe.

As I understand, high waisted trousers are more formal than mid or low, sans belt is more formal than with belt and pleats are more formal than flat front – with more pleats escalating the formality.

I’m hoping to have fewer quality pieces that are more versatile as I too like the idea of mixing tailored trousers with casual pieces.

Are there hard fast rules that can help to guide the mixing of tailored trousers with casual pieces? Or is it more complicated?

I have this concept of wearing a pair of sans belt midrise chinos with a polo shirt and trainers in the day and then wearing the same chinos with a dress shirt, a sports jacket and suede derbies in the evening. I think it would look great but I just don’t know yet.


Hi Simon, if I were to get my first mid-grey flannels, would you recommend flat fronts for more versatility? I do like single pleats in general, but I thought maybe flat fronts could be a better choice after reading this article.

Many thanks,


Thanks, Simon. Your responses always really help my choices.


There’s a golden rule in design “form follows function”.

Therefore I was surprised to read:
“I say this because although the functionality and the fit of pleats are important, the style and its effects will always be the biggest factor”.

Clearly, if you like to be able to actually use your pockets, be able to move freely, and have comfort at the crutch, then you need pleats – function not form!

Leave flat fronts to the fashionistas, and those who love to portray their package, but are unable bend down to tie their shoe laces! ?


Any guides on how to iron pleated trousers without ruining the crisp line? Happy summer to come!


Hi Simon, I’ve always the idea of pleated trousers.
Not sure if trousers with a single forward facing pleat can be worn with tailored shirt only, so that means no jacket/blazer. (For example: a linen shirt paired with linen trousers)
What do you think?


Thank you Simon. But what do you think of huntsman cut-like jacket worn with pleated trousers? I really like the cut of their cut style.


Thank you simon, it seems like I’ve made the right decision