To Pleat, or Not to Pleat. That is the Question!
Here’s the answer: FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, NO!
Ok, so the answer is a bit more complicated than that. The wearing of pleats by men (because women should really never wear pleated pants, period!) is a tricky art that should only be attempted by those who know what they’re doing, or have a woman around to help them.
The pleated pants that Darren referenced in some earlier comments (pictured here) are ok. However there is a certain male body type that can get away with pleats, and if you’re not a Gap model, chances are you’re not it! Do you have anything that might be construed as a “belly”? NO PLEATS! Do you have large thighs (due to muscle bulks or body type)? NO PLEATS!
The thing with pleats is that they add extra fabric to to the front of your thighs. If they’re not able to lie absolutely flat from waist to mid-thigh, they’ll just pucker and pooch out and look silly. This means that if your beer-gut prevents you from actually wearing your pants on your natural waist, or means that your body does not have a flat surface from navel to crotch, you can NOT wear pleats.
And if you have large thighs – either because of your genetic makeup, or from a lot of muscle bulk in the area, having pants with extra fabric there will likely make you look somewhat disproportionate. See how there’s some extra bulk of fabric on the thigh of the model? If you have large thighs in proportion to the rest of your body, your pleats will either stretch out over your quads and look like spandex (if you buy the pants to fit your waist), or billow around your body like the MC Hammer pants of yesteryear (if you buy them to fit around your legs). Try poufy sleeves instead (and if you didn’t get that I was kidding with the poufy sleeves, you’re beyond any fashion help I could give).
The other issue with pleats that makes most men wearing them look ridiculous is that they require pressing. And not just running the iron over them hoping for the best – but actual proficiency to get them to lay flat. Most guys I know will just wash their pants, and either hang or fold them, then put them on without even going near the iron (do you even own an iron?). This usually results in the pleats not being flat, and doing the poochie-outie-thing right below your belt, making it look like you’ve got a really low-hanging spare tire. Either that, or the act of folding the pants will result in the creases being mangled, resulting in your pants making it look like Picasso attached your legs to your body.
Either way – unless you’ve got perfect waist to knee body proportion, AND the desire and knowledge to properly press your pants (or someone around who will do it for you), please just say no to pleats.