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Trend: pleated trousers

April 17, 2012

Not your dad's pleats- unless he's super cool and likes to wear women's trousers. Pleated tie dye pants, $50 at Zara

After much discussion (well- ridicule! given and taken, mind you) in my circles about whether or not pleats are cool, I am firm that having adopted this look a couple of years ago it is high time you do, too.

Pleats are alright on your tradish dad’s Dockers, but way more fun on your own two legs. Pleats add nice detail and shape to the otherwise ho-hum flat-fronted trouser that has washed over us for the last decade. The truth is that we’re not all meant to wear flat-fronted trousers- but that didn’t stop anyone. And the same goes for mid-calf capri-length pants, but we’ll stop here before the hate mail starts pouring in.

If you’re unsure- calm your worries knowing that widely variable in look and silhouette holds something for you. And frankly, there’s a sure coolness factor that can only come from wearing pleats at a time when we’ve been seeing leggings for about two seasons too many. Ouch.

Welcome to Pleats School – in three lessons

Lesson 1. Pleats are nothing new (and no they’re not just for clown pants).

Chances are you’ve got pleats on some of your favourite skirts and dresses, and you’ve been seeing them on the cuffed paper bag shorts from last summer and this spring’s bloomers (below). So there’s no reason they won’t work for you in the pant department.

Recycled polyester pleated shorts, $35 at H&M

Lesson 2. Pleats are not all created equal– there are small pleats and big pleats, multiple pleats and single pleats. We actually found a list that specifies 11 different kinds of pleats (we’re most curious about the honeycomb pleats and the cartridge variety).

You’ll notice that pleats on soft, flowing light-weight fabrics tend to fall more closely to the body and are less visible, whereas pleats on stiffer fabrics like cotton trousers and denim tend to give more architectural detail. Also admire how the pleats open up ever so nicely to say hello when a hand is tucked into the pocket (examples below).

Light weight and not so long-running, the flower print pleated trousers are very neat looking in the front. $60 at Zara

A single but well-defined pleat on these peach pants gives them a polished edge. $80 at Zara

Lesson 3. How to wear pleated pants is actually simpler than you think. Because the pleats add definition across the lower abdomen, you’ll want to pair ’em with something that is either tucked in at the waist or flows no farther down than the top of the pleats- roughly at the hips.

Examples of the right length of tops are shown throughout this feature and we recommend doing as you’re told because the cut of a pleated pant is not one for a tunic top- that would be the realm of the flat-fronted trouser. Because the pleats add a nice little oomph to their area, having something draping completely overtop will hide them (why where them?) and add unsightly bulk.

Don’t be scared to show your pleats- for some of us, they’re the most excitement happening around the crotch area in days! heck- years!

Pleats are elegant especially on a wide leg trouser. This look is very on-trend; $80 at Zara

Pleats and a drawstring waist are like wine and cheese- it just makes sense. Trousers, $80 at Zara

Again, a fine example of an extra wide pleated trouser that beautifully elongates the leg and romances those flowing lines. $80 at Zara

Images courtesy of featured retailers.

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