George Carlin had his famous “seven dirty words,” but in menswear we really have just one: pleats. At a time when even sweatpants have become stylish, nothing says, “I’ve given up” quite like a pair of pleated pants. They’re the uniform for the uninformed, pants for men who dress literally and figuratively in the dark.
During the “great menswear enlightenment” of the mid-aughts, pleats came to represent all that was wrong with the average male wardrobe. Flat fronted pants weren’t just a more streamlined option, they were the only option for those that were in the know. Men that wore pleats didn’t realize, or worse didn’t care, that that their bloated trousers looked terrible. The general assumption became that if you wore pleated pants, you just didn’t get it. And no man ever wants to be accused of that.
Well, we’re here to say that that’s a bunch of baloney. Sure, the average pleated pants that you find at your local Walmart do probably look quite unflattering, but that’s no reason to swear off pleats altogether. Imagine if that logic was applied to a shirt – just because one button down doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean that all button downs wouldn’t either. It’s all about the purpose of the pleats. When most people think of pleated pants, they think of billowy khakis with generous waists, designed to accommodate the wearer’s ever-increasing beer gut. The pleated pants that we’re talking about though have emerged in response to the over-tight trousers which have been ubiquitous over the past few years. Some men (for reasons that should be obvious) might just need a little bit more room, and for the first time in a years progressive, and for that matter high-quality labels, have begun to offer pleats again. So damn their uncool connotations and go ahead and get some pleats. Just don’t get ’em from your local Walmart.