To Pleat or Not to Pleat: Bloggers Take Pleated Pants by Storm

Recently, I happened upon the perfect pair of high-waisted pleated trousers at a thrift store. I tried them on, they fit, and I bought them. But then I had no idea how to style them without looking dowdy. They reminded me of pants my mom wore when I was a kid, and I loved the nostalgia they evoked for me, but I was still stumped. So, of course, I turned to the blogosphere for inspiration.

I found lots of unique looks ranging from preppy to edgy. I especially like pleated pants paired with a button-up and oxfords à la Annie Hall, but was also wooed by slouchy sheer tops and chunky accessories–a no-fail way to update the wardrobe staple.

Check out these pleated pieces from ModCloth to get the look!

Still stumped on how to wear these? Chat with a ModStylist, or drop them a line on their Facebook page. If you’re a pro at pairing these pants with the perfect pieces, offer styling suggestions of your own in the comment section below!


About Turi

When Turi isn’t blogging, you can find her nose behind a book. But reading isn’t her only pastime. She loves running (cue jogging stroller), taste-testing pizza and burgers, and working on the next great American novel. Her latest homage to all things literary? Her son is named after writer Dashiell Hammett. How apropos.

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  1. Avatar
    Chyna Rose 08/18/2010 at 4:58 pm #

    To me, I just think pleated pants look good if you’re only wearing them to work, not an informal event. Like the bottom right model, for example 😀

  2. Avatar
    Caitlin 08/18/2010 at 8:46 pm #

    I’ve seen a few girls floating around my fashionable work suburb wearing these style pants… I’m not sold. They make everyones bottoms and thighs look huge – and not even in a good way… Just in a mum jeans way…

  3. Avatar
    kristina 08/18/2010 at 9:01 pm #

    I love the style. I think it looks great. Unfortunately I just don’t think I can pull it off with my body type.

  4. Avatar
    C. Woods 08/18/2010 at 9:12 pm #

    You couldn’t pay me to wear them ~ high waisted pants, especially with pleats look bad on like 99.9% of people!
    Doesn’t anyone ever watch “What Not To Wear” ~ they say this to older {unfashionable} women on the show ALL THE TIME!
    I’m so ready for the whole hipster idea of “this is so uncool that it’s cool, so let’s wear it” to be over! Those pants in the photos are terrible! What are you fashion “experts” going to suggest next, that they be tapered? Or that they should look like “mom jeans” in the back?
    This is seriously a fashion nightmare…you might as well pair them with one of those grandma Christmas-themed sweaters! 🙁

  5. Avatar
    Audrey 08/18/2010 at 9:32 pm #

    I agree, the bottom right is the only one that looks cute in these. Pleats just scream “OLD MAN!” or maybe “KIRSTIE ALLEY IN THE LATE EIGHTIES!”

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    Carolina 08/18/2010 at 11:45 pm #

    That’s my photo of The Girl From HK LDN SF on the bottom right, yay!!

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    Catherine 08/19/2010 at 12:39 am #

    I’m feeling the pleat!

    The Girl in the Paper Dress

  8. Avatar
    azulle 08/19/2010 at 1:13 am #

    negative. they’re not flattering. period. not even if you’re a stick. o_O

  9. Avatar
    Angela 08/19/2010 at 1:14 am #

    definitely “to pleat”!

  10. Avatar
    Katharine Ellis Tapley 08/19/2010 at 8:13 am #

    I think those of us that were youth in the 80’s will not get that into these. Once you’re in your 30’s, they just look like “Mom” pants, and make your midsection look enormous. I’m not a fan of putting limitations on fashion with age, but there are some styles that you just have to be very young to pull off.

  11. Avatar
    Kelile 08/19/2010 at 9:01 am #

    hmmm my first thought was no, but seeing these gals pull it off so beautifully, i think im going to have to go with “to pleat”
    and thanks aire for the comment on my blog! i do adore your store! 🙂

  12. Avatar
    Betsy Post 08/19/2010 at 9:06 am #

    and very thin.

  13. Avatar
    Daiane 08/19/2010 at 10:52 am #

    i think pleated pants are best upgraded with a pair of heels. that, some statement necklace and a plain t-shirt. that’s how i’d do it! xx

  14. Avatar
    Jean 08/19/2010 at 12:36 pm #

    I agree with Katharine. Perhaps only the very young and thin can pull off pleats. I think the effect of pleats enlarges the bottom and mid-section. Plus, I think after a day of sitting and moving around this style causes weird creasing from waistband to crotch that highlights the crotch area in a really unflattering way. Personally, I don’t want to wear any garment that makes me look like I have a giant toe.

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    Alicia (ModCloth) 08/19/2010 at 2:09 pm #

    I pleat the fifth. 🙂

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    Andrea P 08/19/2010 at 10:00 pm #

    No way. After years of uniforms involving high-waist pleated polyester pants -and even shorts, if you can imagine the horror- I’m done with those. Flat fronts all the way!

  17. Avatar
    Kate 08/20/2010 at 7:15 am #

    Definite no. Even on the young and slim, they still look mid-section heavy and unpleasantly proportioned to me.

  18. Avatar 08/20/2010 at 8:16 am #

    To pleat! It tailors the look and is a real 90’s revival which we love right now xxx

  19. Avatar
    Annie 08/21/2010 at 2:49 am #

    I don’t know what everyone is talking about in this comments section! I think all these ladies look fantastically amazing. It’s such a chic (maybe Parisian?) ensemble. But I do agree that it doesn’t work for every body type. My pear-shaped hips just do not like these things! But, maybe I’ll have to give it another go next time I hit the thrift.

  20. Avatar
    Kit 08/21/2010 at 10:34 pm #

    I’m not really a fan, but that is because they are probably THE WORST thing for a pear shape to wear!

  21. Avatar
    Meg 08/22/2010 at 12:55 pm #

    I LOVE pleated pants…obviously not the popular opinion, but worn correctly I think they work…On solution for avoiding a “big booty” look might be to wear a low slung belt on top to break up the hip area. Check out my recent post…

  22. Avatar
    Heather 08/23/2010 at 9:07 pm #

    The only time I think they look good is on someone super skinny and tall. Not saying that those pictures don’t look good, but being short, I could never pull it off. I have only one friend that I know who can…

  23. Avatar
    Jane 08/24/2010 at 4:59 pm #

    I’m a recent fan–i have pretty narrow hips and broader shoulders–the volume at the hips provides balance and makes me feel feminine. A slight crop with exposed ankles and sandals makes it feel more modern.

  24. Avatar
    Amber-Nikki 08/25/2010 at 1:17 pm #

    i love pleated high wated pants because it gives you an edge to your out fit and it make you look also make you look modern.

  25. Avatar
    the girl from hk, ldn & sf 08/30/2010 at 10:33 am #

    I’m really stoked that my photo was featured, especially for pleated pants, because I love pleated pants. It seems like the majority of you guys don’t like pleated pants, but I personally love pleated and tapered pants. I’m very open to any kind of pant and I’m not too obsessed with how flattering it looks, as long as I like them on me.I think as long as you know how to style them, they can really work and as long as you have the confidence, you can pull off anything.

  26. Avatar
    T!ffany 11/05/2010 at 6:52 pm #

    Please no pleat! They make you look full in the abdominal area. ;(

  27. Avatar
    Katharine Ellis Tapley 02/24/2011 at 3:50 pm #

    I’m willing to bet that the “to pleat” votes are coming from girls in their 20’s. Those of us that remember the 80’s (meaning we’re in our 30’s) know that it looks bad on us. Trends like this can only be worn if you weren’t alive the first time they were popular.

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