Mens Trousers

Mens trousers are often referred to by many other references; most common among them are pants or slacks. When paired with a suit, dress trousers are cut from the same fabric as the suit jacket. Less formal or casual trousers are often called pants.

There are several dress trouser options that that should be understood by men if they want to use this information to their advantage. Without this understanding, pleats or flat fronts for example could be unflattering and the gentleman wearing them and he may not even be aware of it.

This discussion focuses on pleats, cuffs and pockets but only 2 or 4 different options for each. It should be known however that there are numerous other additional options in each category. Our focus will be limited so that we can ensure coverage of the most popular style options for mens trousers that are likely to be encountered.

Ahh the debate...Pleats or Flat Front?

This question is actually not about fashion. Both the pleat and flat front version of trousers have been popular options for decades. This debate is a different matter that is rooted in opinion and preference. Let's take a quick look at the 3 primary pleated options pictured below.

Popular pleat options
Single Pleated Trouser Double Pleated Trousers Triple Pleated Trousers
Trousers with Single Pleat Double Pleated Trousers Triple Pleated Trousers


Next is the plain, non pleated or flat front trouser pictured below. Now let's get to the fun part and discuss the pro's & con's.

Plain Front Trouser
Plain/Flat Front Mens Trousers


The case "FOR" flat front and "AGAINST" pleats:

In order for pleats to drape properly they must have a smooth "fall". To achieve this effect, the front and back of the trouser need to be level or parallel with the ground. If the gentleman's waist is larger in circumference than his hips then he will likely have to wear his pleated trousers at his waist (probably supported by braces). This will help him achieve a level waist and create the desired "fall". If not, and he wears them at his hips his trouser front will be forced below the trouser back by his stomach and cause the pleats to break.

Men whose waist and hip proportions are similar and/or have a waist smaller than his hips will have no trouble looking fine in pleated trousers wearing either a belt or braces (suspenders). Avoiding broken lines and fabric pulling is the key to looking proper in pleated trousers.

Unfortunately many men are not proportioned like runway models and they are not accustomed to wearing their trousers above their hips. Where this is the case, flat front trousers become an excellent solution. It is also worth noting that flat fronts are believed to create a "slimming" effect. This is due to the reasons above as well as the elimination of excess fabric compared to pleated pants.

The case "FOR" Pleats and "AGAINST" Flat Front:

Many men (and women) prefer the look of a pleated trouser. It is generally believed that pleats add sophistication and formality. When worn properly a fine pleat-line can cause the eye to follow the line up the body and bring the attention to the man's face as well as create the appearance of longer lines thus giving the perception of more height.

Flat front trousers in a suit & jacket combination are considered by many as more casual and tend to offer distinct horizontal lines at & below the waist which can shorten or interrupt a man's appearance.

Next question, cuff or no cuffs?:

Cuffs or turn-ups are found at the bottom of trouser. They are generally considered less formal than no cuffs. Cuffs should not be worn with formal attire such as white or black tie. Cuffs do serve a useful purpose by adding weight to the bottom of the dress trouser which aids in the proper drape of the pant leg. Pleated trousers are typically be accompanied by cuffs but flat front trousers are common with or without cuffs.

Cuffed Trouser No Cuff Trouser
Cuffed Trousers Trousers w No Cuffs


Lastly, pocket styles are yet another way to become selective with mens trousers. The two styles shown below are side seam pockets and slanted pockets. Although there are many other styles to choose from if your working with a tailor, these two will be the most ubiquitous on the retail market. The side seam will be the most inconspicuous pocket and draw less attention than other styles. The slanted pocket will provide easier access but may "puff" out a little when bending or sitting.


Side Seam Pocket Slanted Pocket
Side Seam Pocket Slanted Pocket


Mens Trousers like all other wardrobe articles are plentiful in style options. Mix in the various fabric options, colors and patterns and you have countless combinations to work with.

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