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Sep 22, 2010

Men's Pleated Pants: YOU spoke, I listened!

As if yesterday's topic of the imminent dreaded event you-know-where weren't emotional enough, the question of whether or not to wear a pair of gray pleated suit slacks led many to the brink of apoplexy.

As in any therapeutic relationship, there's bound to be some transference between you, beloved MPB readers, and me.  To some, I remind you of your father, to others, a rebellious-yet-highly-visual son, rivalrous brother, or sharp-tongued hairdresser who permed your hair to within an inch of its life in 1977.

Likewise, I am fully open to the possibility of countertransference on my part toward some of you.  While I love you all equally, there are a few of you whose comments sound eerily reminiscent of my blunt Aunt Florence formerly of Clifton, New Jersey, whose voice I hear clear as a bell when I read, "Throw out the pleated pants. They do not fit!"  

It's been so healing to work through all this with your assistance, dear readers, and I am forever grateful.

I have decided not only to nix the aforementioned garment of shame, but to deposit them directly to the Salvation Army today, never again to tempt me.

I considered an MPB giveaway of the pants but that sounded a little too intimate.  Please rest assured that I do own a few pair of flat-front gray dress pants and I'll limit myself to those from this day forward.

How does that sound?

Admittedly, those pleated pants are an eensy bit snug, depending on what I am tucking into them, but they're not uncomfortable.

I sense men's pleated pants may be making a comeback...

No matter, they have been banished from my closet-- simply too reminiscent of the Hatey-Eighties and all things mall.

And now, Aunt Florence doppelgangers and others,  I must continue to prune my wardrobe and complete my morning toilette.

Given that there was no clear consensus about my dreaded event outfit among yesterday's copious comments -- though lots of catharsis -- I may just have to pop into the fabric store and see if anything inspires me.  Could I treadle a mens blazer in a week and a half?  I think so!

Friends, I must ask you: what is it about men's pleated pants that pushes people's buttons so -- and they do.

When did male persons of the pleat become the fashion outcasts they are today?

Are we ready for their return?



  1. The problem with the dreaded pleated pant is that they are rarely done right and when they are, they are worn by someone who doesn't have the right shape. Instead you end up with what look like giant gourd hips, and when you sit down you end up with a balloon of pant fabric across you lap. Bad.
    As far as fashion goes, they are coming back, but really only for women as a sort of poke at eighties fashion and they will mostly only look good on the slim and tall.
    Of course, they also always have the eighties/nineties stigma, and I personally am always reminded of Danny Tanner, so I'm glad you got rid of yours. I hope you make the blazer, because as usual, it will be fabulous. Unlike my current sewing project, sigh.

  2. Good call on ditching the pleated pants.

    What about the cream shirt? I love that shirt. Find some really nice fabric, and whip up a pair of pants with the same pattern as the flower pants. Those pants fit so well. Do you have a navy blazer? Find an amazing thrift store tie.

  3. My hubby likes pleat-front pants, but then he is an eighties boy through and through. I can't fathom it for the life of me (and I am one of the "tall and slim" they allegedly look good on). He also makes me taper his pant legs. Traumatic, I tell you.

    I am excited to see you make a blazer, whether on a deadline or not. :)

  4. Is it too late? I actually think the pants look good (on you).

  5. I think the pleats had to go for a lot of guys because as we sat around and grew 'round the middle, the pleats did us NO favors. Trim guys like yourself can get away with them. But not all guys can, and nor should they even try.

  6. You totally CAN wear pleated trousers - just not with that jacket and tie. What about with a nice little black cashmere sweater? Tres rive gauche!

  7. Your pleated pants come up much higher on your waist than the ones pictured, I think that's what's making them look so bad (sorry).

  8. I will concede that the pleats look fine on you, being as fit as you are. I do second the belief that they give lots of men Aunt Florence hips, and that is just not sexy. As my handsome husband could use a daily jog, I have made clear that they are fine as work pants, but once a year when we get dressed up nicely to go somewhere, I like the flat front. I know I sound like a total dirt-bag, but oh well. I like how the flatness does NOT hide everything, if you know what I mean. Ahem. So, although you can pull it off, you'd look hotter in flat front pants, and that is what we're going for, right?

  9. I'm glad you came to this conclusion about the pants. They just didn't look crisp and ironed and looked wrong. Good job.

  10. And someone is right there. They were a bit Harry High Pants.

  11. hmmmm, why do you have to make a blazer? Women would have a variety of choices about what to wear on their upper bodies for such an occasion, why not men? Why should you be stuck in the blazer box? The conventional choice is always the safest, but is that really you?

  12. A blazer in a week and a half - I will be surprised. Just sayin..

  13. The important thing is that you love us all equally.
    I guess I just needed to hear that from you.
    Do you have any tissues here?

  14. Well, we didn't like the pleated pants out of love. If they make your heart sing, by all means, retrieve them from their black plastic garbage bag death. Land of Forbidden Clothes! LOL

    Even if pleats do come back, as they inevitably will, there will be something "different" about them (probably lower on the waist as others have noted) to make them different from the 90s version.

    I would totally take Michael! He'll be much better looking than all the other partners. I've been a spouse at a 30 year, I should know. :-) If I went to a HS reunion and didn't take my spouse, there would be hurt feelings.

  15. Sorry, but yours look nothing like those being worn by the hip young things in your examples.

  16. I don't have a problem with pleated pants on men (on ME, that's another story...).

    I'm begging you, don't try and rush a blazer. Those things just take time to do well, and if it *doesn't* turn out well, it's only going to add to the pre-dreaded-event-you-know-where anxiety.

    I'm sticking by my endorsement of the flowered pants/western shirt/blazer combo, unless you're thinking of swapping the flowered pants for a flat front pair - that would also be fine (with a dramatic tie, natch).

    And tell the truth - you decided against giving away the pants because of ME, right? (What it is about stalking that people get so freaked out about, I'll never know...)

  17. I'll put it this way--my brother, who loved the dang things--needed new pants and trusted us enough to send us to the mall to buy them for him. I, being a nice, sweet sister, bought him flat front pants. In comparison, he lost 25-30 pounds visually just by changing pants.

  18. My ex-husband is still wearing pleated pants and (gasp) shorts. And he looks OLD. They only look young and hip on younger people, IMO. If it weren't for me, he'd also still be wearing his skin-tight, acid-washed (in colors, no less) Wranglers and Brooks & Dunn flame shirts (which would amuse me to no end now).

    I really loved the flowered pants and hope you'll wear them!

  19. I fear the pleated pants! No No No-they remind me of secondary school! ands high waist of Simon Cowell! (UGH)
    I think a lovely suit with funky shirt!
    Glad the pants weren't a giveaway! ;)

  20. Well we can't please anyone but it does seem like those pleated pants would be kicked out of office in any functioning democracy.

  21. Oh, Peter. You are such a hoot. But on to more serious matters, I must weigh in on the pleated pant issue. The particular problem with that specific pair of pants is their lack of "slouchiness," which other readers have described as too high on the waist. It made the pants seem stuffy, dated, and more suited for ancient Uncle Carl, rather than a slim, youthful, hipster like yourself. Pleats could be done if they had slouch--i.e., a much lower crotch, and more fluid movement and fabric. Your banished pants were pleated 80's chino thingies, and you are simply WAY too cool for that! Duh, especially for that certain event, where one must appear as cool and hip and possible (and show them all!!!)

  22. I have a friend who has deliberately spilled red wine on a boyfriend's pleated khakis, so that he could never wear them again, so they do make people crazy! How funny!

  23. Pleated pants are great when they're done a la Gregory Peck. They need luxurious fabric and generous folds. You'd look fab in some, just different proportions.

  24. I like the previous comment.

    If you squint and look at the picture of yourself in the pleated pants, it looks like they're eating you alive OR were photoshopped on top of your body.

    Do you WANT a new blazer? Do you want to MAKE a new blazer? Could you bypass the blazer entirely and find something more "you"?

  25. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Ditch the blazer, bring the arm candy (M) and be fabulous, funny you. Team flowered pants forevah!

  26. Peter, I do hope the flowered pants make the cut. I also think you could whip up a great jacket. Have you seen Burda 7704? Sort of a Tyrolian Nehru jacket. Definitely out of the blazer box. Oh.BTW I totally admire your courage to attend a HS reunion.

  27. I like pleated pants on slim men. Pleated pants do nothing for men with a gut.

  28. Ugh. This anti-pleated pants movement is downright oppressive. Somebody should have really clued Mr Cary Grant into the fact that he was such a horrible dresser all those years. I mean he wore double pleats exclusively. Terrible. Absolutely no fashion or style sense.

    Pleats are absolutely required for certain body types. Namely those with large hip to waist ratios like myself. They should be forward pleated to keep them well tailored. Mr. MPB here looks like he has a nice straight frame for which flat fronts are perfect and look great. If I wore flats it would look obscene. And obscene has never been stylish.


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