Pleats are as iconic as they are functional; a pillar of tailoring that’s having a real moment right now. Not only did we help start the trend — we love styling our favorite Dockers® Vintage pleated khakis in modern yet slightly unexpected ways.
The pleats we’re familiar with today originated in the ‘20s and ‘30s, when people started playing with the volume of their pants through sewing z-shaped folds. The resulting silhouette changed style forever: trousers that were as stylish as they were functional. They offered their wearer a greater range of movement while striking the perfect balance of polished and easy-to-wear. From surfers and skaters to collegiate types and professionals, pleated khakis — new then and on-trend today — became an endlessly adaptable pillar of American style.
Most pleated khakis feature either a single or a double pleat. A single pleat creates a streamlined shape and provides that extra bit of flexibility while also adding a bit more style to your look. Double pleats not only add more room to the seat — their fuller shape allows you to sit more comfortably and the fabric won’t pull as much, meaning fewer repairs over time. Either way, the twill fabric most khakis are made in holds a pleat really well, draping naturally in a way that looks easy.
Pleats can look classic or modern — it all depends on what you wear them with. For a modern take, wear your favorite pleated pants with an easy tee and on-trend sneakers. For a look that leans more classic, pairing a pleated khaki with a collared shirt or simple sweater with leather shoes is timeless, especially when offset with a khaki that feels more lived in.
In terms of fit, we like to wear our pleated pants oversized. When the pleats don’t tug, their drape is especially smooth, creating a vertical line that’s flattering on a bunch of different body types. They also look best when worn at your natural waist instead of at the hip — this helps give them more drape and helps you avoid that billowy, balloon-like shape. Finally, we love to play with contrast when wearing pleated khakis – more volume in the seat looks especially cool and modern when cropped.
A Forever Icon
While pleats may currently be on-trend, they’ll always be a staple, seamlessly combining utility with versatility. This forever icon will never go out of style, because there’s nothing cooler or more relevant than clothing that is functional, effortless and iconic.