A guide to the different types of trouser pleats
In the world of tailored trousers it’s remarkable how much of a difference the humble pleat can make to both the fit and overall finish. From adding room to slimming out the leg, this most simple of tailoring elements plays a significant role in an overall ensemble and we felt it was high time that it was paid its due.
Here, we offer you the inaugural Oscar Hunt trouser pleat guide so you can make a choice that suits you.
Ironically, for a guide to pleats, we’re starting with trousers that are completely devoid of this tailoring detail; the flat front trouser. Ideal for those striving for a slimmer more contemporary style of pants, a flat front essentially means that the fabric falls straight from the waistband without any folds. This style is best suited to those with lean builds and relatively straight up and down legs. The risk for those with bigger glutes or thighs is that a flat front can cause the fabric to grip and disrupt the intended line of the trousers.
The mainstay of most modern two-piece suits, a single pleat provides ease of movement, comfort and a universally flattering drape of the fabric that will suit most body types. Starting at the middle of the leg, this kind of pleat generally extends into the crease of the trouser and is best used with thicker fabrics - like worsted wool - that help to maintain its shape.
While the size of the pleat can be varied based on preference, we generally recommend a 2 centimetre variation as this gives the wearer all the benefits of a pleat without being overly noticeable.
The pleat itself can face either frontwards (the fabric folding towards the groin) or backwards (the fabric folding towards the pocket). While the choice between the two is ultimately a matter of personal preference, it’s worth considering that the frontwards fold provides a slightly more slimming effect while the outwards or backwards fold is a little more relaxed and can result in the pleats looking slightly more ‘open.’
Ideal for those who favour a higher waist, the double pleat offers a more classic silhouette - think Fred Astaire - and ensures even distribution of fabric from the waist, through the glutes and right down into the leg.
As with a single pleat style, the first pleat begins at the centre of the leg while the second pleat starts half way between the first pleat and the pocket, generally running slightly shorter. The purpose of this second pleat is to ensure that the first remains closed. We almost like to think of it as an insurance policy for the silhouette of your trousers.
While perhaps counter intuitive, this style is perfect for those who have bigger glutes and thighs as it evens out the drape of the fabric and ensures that the cloth doesn’t grip anywhere it shouldn’t.
To discover what pleats best suit you, swing by a showroom to chat with the team today.