Pleated Pants Watch: Don’t You Want to Be “Clean”?

Marketing men’s fashion is tricky because, for the majority of male clothes-wearers, the goal is to convince them that it is not fashion . Women and male homosexuals are used to seeing the industry flip from “This is what you must wear” to “You can’t possibly wear that ” and back again. Tastes and rules are the product of a particular time and context; everything changes because everything else has to change, in ongoing semiotic discourse and/or the forced march of consumer capitalism. But the straight male masses tend to buy their clothes on the premise that there are Right and Wrong things for a manly man to wear, and the correct principles will stay correct.

It was with great effort that the fashion industry, years ago, managed to slowly turn the ship of common-denominator male taste toward flat-front trousers . They are flat! Plain and flat, like planks in the lumberyard. What could be more normal than to wear plain, flat pants? Why were men so foolish as to wear pleated trousers before? Pleats are fussy and they make your pants billow, right around your man-parts. Isn’t it embarrassing to have your man-parts in a flouncy khaki tent? Pleats make you look fat. They make you look like you’re fat and trying not to look fat. Wise up and get yourself some trim, straight, honest flat-front pants, the only pants that make any sense.

The trouble with that approach is, you end up only selling one pair of pants. How do you get men to change their pants again? This weekend’s Washington Post Magazine Trend Report on “Menswear must-haves” includes not one but two different fashion bloggers insinuating that maybe flat fronts aren’t the way to go:

“Clean up with some pleated shorts…and some nice casual shoes,” says Joshua Kissi, one of the two bloggers behind Street Etiquette.


“Getting a pair of trim pants or shorts with pleats and keeping them creased is an easy way to add clean, flattering lines to any outfit,” says Lawrence Schlossman of Sartorially Inclined….”As long as you keep the number of pleats to two or less, you’ll add some structure and architecture to your gear.” 

Gear! Is your gear structured enough, men? Is it architectural, your gear? Are your man-parts living in a clean, well-constructed building, or some slapdash hobo lean-to made of flat sheets of cardboard? Get the correct pants, or be homeless!

(Of course, in D.C., they never stopped wearing pleats. But are they wearing the proper number ?)