Pleated Trousers or Flat Front Trousers
This comes both down to individual taste and to the traditions of tailoring. The pleat is a fold in the fabric of the trouser near the waist. A pair of trousers can have one two or three pleats, or in the case of flat front trousers- none. The pleated trouser is a more traditional trouser look, commonly paired with a double breasted jacket for a more classic look. With slimmer fitting modern suit trousers however, the pleated trouser appearance has been replaces by the flat front construction.
The flat front trouser has typically been more associated with casual or functional trousers, such as jeans or work wear. However, with the shortage of fabric after the second world war, the flat front trouser became more common to be worn as part of a formal or business suit. Flat front trousers use less fabric as they a formed without the folding of material used in a pleat and as such were a sensible and pragmatic response to the reduced availability of fabrics at the time.
Nowadays, whether to opt for flat front or pleated trousers is more a matter of personal taste. Those who prefer the more modern look might opt for the slimmer, flat front trouser, traditionalists for a pleated trouser.
Although the precision of bespoke garments means that there needn’t be the same bunching of material at the bottom of the trouser leg as is sometimes the case for off the rack clothing, some prefer to choose a little gathering material at the base of the leg as it falls onto the shoe.
The point at which is the material of the trouser leg meets the shoe is known as the break. There are a few options to select from when it comes to your trouser break, your tailor will take your choice into consideration when making measurements and will allow for a little more or less fabric length in the leg of the trouser depending on your choice.
There are essentially three options although naturally its on a sliding scale. No break is the first option. This means that there won’t be any contact, or at least minimal contact, between your shoe and the suit fabric. This is a more modern look. Again it is in part response to the more slender trouser look of modern suits. With a slimmer fit around the lower leg, the bunching of material around the bottom of the trouser can lead to a bunching out of material, breaking the slim line of the suit.
A slight break is also an option and as the compromise choice is probably the most common. This will mean some gathering of material as the trouser meets the show, along with some folding of the fabric. The final option is the full break. This is a more traditional trouser look, although is perhaps most emphatically seen on the baggier and longer fitting trouser of the 1990s. Particularly in the U.S. This can still be an option for slim fitting trousers, but some widening of the lower leg will be caused by the bunching of material. Exactly how much folding occurs at the break of the trouser will be dictated by the material being used. A heavier thicker fabric will hold its shape more definitely at the point of meeting the show, whereas a finer material is more likely too see more folding.
Turn up Suit Trousers
The turn up trouser is a further consideration. Originally for practical considerations, to prevent the dirtying of trousers from contact with muddy boots or simply from splashing from being so close to the ground, the fold up trouser moves the break of the trouser away from the ground. Whilst this can be a solution to the more capricious suit wearer who might not want to opt conclusively for one break option, folding up trousers on a whim might not always lead to the desired results. Whilst jeans and heavier fabrics might roll up effectively, the lighter weight of suit fabrics tends to mean that trousers need to held in place if folded up or they’ll quite quickly unfold. So this is something further to discuss with your tailor.