Sunday, March 25, 2007

The pleat thing. (Photos to ensue.)

There is one thing in the matter of apparel for the civilized man which often gets overlooked. The humble trouser pleat.

In trousers, especially suit trousers or dressier "odd" trousers (we'll set aside the issue of chinos and their cousins), the matter of pleats is of prime importance. The main reason is that pleats supply a much needed "give" in the frontal hip area. But which pleats? There is only one answer: forward pleats.

Reverse pleats, as testified by their depressing ubiquity, are the cheaper option, not the preferable one. You will invariably find these pleats in the upper slopes of Mt. Menswear. Alan Flusser, Purple Label and all of Savile Row (as well as their acolytes and fellow travelers throughout the Happy and Magical Land of Sartoria) all construct the trouserings thus. Why?

Because forward pleats counter the movement of the leg better, can be made deeper (requiring more of that expensive fabric) and elongate the crease of the trouser. Reverse pleats, offer the precise opposite AND also make you look rather broad abeam. If you are 6'7" and about 145 lb., perhaps you might consider this desirable, but with the possible exception of the pituitarily gifted, no man really should give these a thought.

Flat-front trousers, whatever their glorious attributes in the matter of chinos, etc. simply do not provide any fluidity of movement to the leg. Recently (Nov.-Dec. 2006?) the menswear buyer for Neiman-Marcus was touting the wonders of cuffless, plain front suit trousers. Which are fine if you want to affect a snappy midcentury swingin' hipster vibe, but under no other condition ought these be considered by any man with a civilized sartorial sense of self. Any expert touting such excresences is really out to validate the gazillion units purchased by the parent retailer and, as such, is considering all of your individual requirements, such as the length, width and drap of his year-end bonus.

It's the apparel equivalent to the nehru jacket or Rage Aganist The Machine: a pitiful, aberrant, future footnote. No need to disburse funds in that direction.

I trust I have made myself clear.

-J.

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