Not all dress pants are created equally. Men’s trousers come cut in a number of different styles, each one offering a different fit that is suitable for a different situation. Here’s a look at the three most common, and useful, basic trouser styles for men.
Flat Front Trousers
Flat front trousers are the simplest style and have the least amount of detail. The front of the trousers are cut with a flat (or plain) front, meaning there are no pleats. You’ll find these in everything from the most casual chinos and corduroys to suits and even tuxedos. For a long time these were the popular choice in conservative dress, complete with a straight cut leg. Many of today’s modern, trim styles also favor flat front.
They are an appropriate choice with nearly any style of dress, and look especially at home as part of a single-breasted suit or with a single-breasted blazer. Have your tailor finish these with cuffs or plain hems.
The second most common style found today is the reverse pleated front. These have pleats that open out toward the pockets. Two pleats on each side are most common, though for trimmer styles one pleat is sometimes used. Pleats offer more room for movement in the seat and crotch, and can be more comfortable for men with bigger legs.
A pleated front is most often found in dress pants or as part of a suit, and look good with a slightly wider leg. Try wearing them a little higher on the waist with braces (suspenders) for a clean line and somewhat vintage look. These will look best finished with a cuffed hem.
Far less common is the forward pleated trouser. These have pleats that open inward toward the center of the trousers, rather than out toward the pockets. It may be harder to find than the other cuts, but it is easily the most dashing. Hailing from the British tradition in men’s tailoring, you’ll tend to find these only on custom clothing or pieces by higher end brands.
They offer a great look on dress pants or with suits, and are perfect worn with braces. For an added bit of dash, try a pair with no belt loops and side tab adjusters. Forward pleats are a minor detail to be sure, but one that will mark you as a man who knows the difference a small detail can make. As with reverse pleated styles, a cuffed hem is best.
Many men will stick with one style of trouser only, though there’s no reason not to give yourself options by including all three style in your wardrobe, on different pants for different occasions. Flat fronts are perfect for khakis and cords, but a dressy double breasted suit looks better with pleats. And forward pleated trousers with your tux can’t be beat. By incorporating different trouser styles into your rotation, you’ll create a stylish wardrobe that stands out a bit from the pack.
Photo credits: An Affordable Wardrobe
More from Giuseppe Timore