If men would solely dress to feel comfortable, their closets would without a doubt favour the presence of pleat front pants. But since appearance these days is nearly everything and a slick, polished, composed image is worth a thousand words if nothing else, a lot of thought goes into deciding if the pleat front pants are still in fashion for winter 2013, or if they’re just another unfortunate blast from the past.

Based on the 1970s and 1980s looser fashions, the pleated pants for men marked a return close to the end of 2011, when the runways pointed towards a relaxed sense of tailoring. With designers like Burberry Prorsum and Dolce & Gabbana still betting on loose tailoring through the thighs and the crotch, the look gained more perspective, eventually evolving into a trend. For fall / winter 2013 this same trend achieved a subtle quality with its modern rendering highlighting nearly invisible pleats, still feeling extreme at times.

pleated pants for men

Pleat front pants: a classic revival

Spreading their influence across centuries of impeccable tailoring, the pleated pants have been long time favourites, helping define what a traditional and classic tailored suit is all about. However, this season the pleats for men are being seen as merely functional, not stylish.

Ralph Fiennes in Skyfall: a sleek three-piece suit and a matching authoritative attitude is a perfect example of very good cut, where the mix of a high waist and pleats seems rather timeless.

Pleated pants: defining elements for fall 2013

While hard to pull off without looking sloppy or seemingly belonging to a different era, pleat front pants might still be worth giving a chance, more so this season when they carry a particular modern feel. Considering your body type, age and general aesthetic, this season the pleat pant style can feature:

  • Mostly reverse pleats (meaning the pleats open towards the pockets)
  • Either single folds or double folds, adding room and width to the silhouette of the pant
  • Classic hues ranging from light and dark grays, to burgundy, deep green and black

Mens pleated pants trend fall 2013
Pleated pants at Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry Prorsum, F/W ’13

  • A casually tailored waistline, perhaps still a little bit high at times
  • Both cropped ankles, and traditional hem lengths

Mens pleated pants trend fall 2013
Pleated pants at Paul Smith and Andrea Incontri, F/W ’13

  • Both a slim, streamlined and a wider, looser silhouette
  • Occasionally even a drop crotch

Mens pleated pants trend fall 2013
Pleated pants at Salavatore Ferragamo and Versace, F/W ’13

The look: between vintage and modern

From traditional to modern, and from classic back to a vintage aesthetic, the pleated trouser look envisioned for this season leaves plenty of room for interpretation. If some of the styles and cuts are easier to pull off, the runways didn’t fall short on extreme examples as well, ones that aren’t particularly flattering or wearable. Unless of course, you see yourself as a fashion-forward kind of guy, up for the challenge.

Business status

If you’re looking to add a trendy quality to your business outfits, a pair of pleat front pants might just work. Be careful not to overstep the boundaries by keeping away from drop crotches, exaggerated high waists or loose tailoring. Pursue a clean, slim silhouette instead and focus on neutral colors and classic fabrics. Balance the pants with slick button-downs, sharp blazers and don’t give up on the tie. Finish your look with a leather pouch and a complementary waistcoat.

Mens pleated pants trend fall 2013
Pleated pants at Fendi and Berluti, F/W ’13

The modern take on pleated pants

If you’re looking for a light take on the trend, in order to appear modern but still elegant, search for pants featuring very subtle pleats, which often result in a very flat front. They are the easiest to pull off and can look effortless with the right styling. For a casual meeting or for a relaxing activity, pair the pants to a cool sweater featuring interesting detailing, to which you can add a pair of sleek boots and an oversized bag.

For a special occasion that requires a sleek tailored suiting, the pleated pants make for an exquisite take on evening attire. They withhold both the modern edge and the timeless elegance you might be seeking out. Given of course the fit is impeccable and the styling is flawless.

Mens pleated pants trends fall 2013
Pleated pants at Corneliani and Roccobarocco, F/W ’13

Bold colours, patterns and prints

Even more so now than anytime during the previous seasons, the winter of 2013 welcomes both the use of bolder colours and the use of pattern and classic check prints when it comes to the reimagining of the men’s pleated pants. This represent another easy way of keeping your looks in perfect balance, contrasting the traditional silhouette with the unexpected play on pattern and/or colour.

Mens pleated pants trend fall 2013
Pleated pants at Gucci, Melinda Gloss and Hardy Amies, F/W ’13

A minimal approach, a trouser in a timeless colour and an uncomplicated styling are the elements that promise to help integrate this season’s pleated pants into a relevant wardrobe. Keep in mind that is often the little things that are able to remarkably shift the way a trend is being perceived: a knit featuring a playful motif, leather as the ultimate fabric choice, or a cool pair of hiking boots will keep your outfits updated.

Mens pleated pants trend fall 2013
Pleated pants at E.Tautz, Bottega Veneta and Topman, F/W ’13

Seeing how this fashion trend refuses to go away completely, representing a steady and traditional option because of the comfortable fit, it is important that when/if you do decide to wear pleated pants, make sure they feel flattering enough and if they do, don’t give up until finding the appropriate silhouette.

McQ Alexander McQueen’s wider silhouette is another example of extreme tailoring, appearing rather sloppy, or perhaps too fashion forward. If you stumble upon anything like this, keep looking.

Mens pleated pants trend fall 2013
Pleat front pants at McQ Alexander McQueen F/W ’13

Pleated pants for men: picture inspiration

You’ve seen some of the styles the fall 2013 runways had to offer – be they flattering or not quite so much. If you want more styling inspiration and more examples to help you decide for yourself whether pleated trousers are for you, head to the gallery above. There you’ll find more pictures of how pleated pants were presented for fall.

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