The advantages of pleats

By Oliver on 1st November, 2010

Many men these days prefer plain-front trousers, but I’ve always liked pleats. It creates a natural, sharp line to the front of the trouser, giving shape to the front of the garment. The Anderson & Sheppard style is to have two forward-facing pleats, the first around 1¾ inches and the second 1½, depending obviously on the customer’s figure.

Trousers worn ‘straight round’, without braces, are worn roughly at one height and braced trousers are worn that bit higher. As braced trousers can be slightly higher at the waist, there’s no need for the pleats to be larger to account for the hips.

The hip does affect placement of the pleats though. On the first pair of trousers I cut for myself, I found the pleat wasn’t falling straight down – it was slanting slightly inwards. So I moved both pleats around slightly, further back. That pushed the second pleat too close to the hip bone, making it gape outward. So I moved the pleats closer together next time. It’s all a learning process, particularly when you’re apprenticing as a cutter.

One of the things you learn very quickly is the ability to scale different measurements. I’m used to this pattern here because it’s my own, with a waist measurement of 32½ inches. When you get a customer coming in with, for example, a 42-inch waist, you have to scale up the gap between the front of the trouser and the first pleat, and then the gap to the second pleat as well.