A pair of well-tailored pleated trousers will work hard in your wardrobe, whether you’re back in the office full-time or not. In fact, there’s an extensive selection of styles currently on the market that go beyond the traditional suiting separate design. From breezy wide-leg linen pairs to cropped silhouettes that offer a less fussy alternative, the options are seemingly endless.
For those that are looking for something that’s multi-functional, Alo Yoga’s water-wicking ‘Pursuit’ trouser is a great place to start. Whereas, elevated essentials brand A.L.C’s crisp-cut tuxedo pants are better suited for more formal occasions if dresses aren’t really your thing. The point is consumers have choices.
But if you’re not sure where to start, continue reading for a well-curated list of the best pleated trousers of all fits, fabrics, and colors that will undoubtedly fill in any gaps in your closet.
Re Ona Suit Trousers
Apart from its body-skimming halter dress, Re Ona’s trousers are the brand’s best-selling pieces. The suit trousers, in particular, have become a fan favorite for their classic colorways, quality fabrics, and flattering fit. “We’ve had customers tell us they’re still wearing our ‘Joey’ and ‘Bobbi’ Trousers two years after purchase,” co-founder Philiscia Abayomi explains over email about their pleated pants.
Price at time of publish: $188
Material: Stretch polyester | Size Range: XS – XL
Best Black Pants
Abercrombie & Fitch Sloane Tailored Pants
Abercrombie & Fitch
A brand once known for its denim mini skirts and branded polo shirts has shifted slightly gears with a collection of office-appropriate separates. This newer lineup includes its black tailored ‘Sloane’ pants, which come in just under $100 and are made from a stretch-crepe fabric that, when taken care of, won’t wrinkle at the drop of a dime. Consider wearing yours with an oversized T-shirt and heeled boots for a timeless look.
Price at time of publish: $90
Material: Stretch Polyester | Size Range: 2XS – 3XL
If you’re in need of a new pair of pleated trousers but want to avoid breaking the bank, you can’t go wrong with Old Navy’s pleated ‘Taylor’ pants. Between the accessible price point and expensive look, they make a great addition to any wardrobe – regardless of your personal aesthetic. Even better that they are offered in an expansive size range for all to enjoy.
Price at time of publish: $55
Material: Stretch polyester | Size Range: XS – 4XL
Wardrobe NYC x Hailey Bieber Pleated Wide-Leg Pants
Very few luxury brands do quality basics quite like Wardrobe NYC. From its durable Carhartt collaboration to the minimally-chic assortment of styles from Hailey Bieber, their pieces are notoriously functional. Which means you’ll find yourself grabbing for them again and again, making the pleated wide-leg wool pants well worth their cost per wear.
Price at time of publish: $800
Material: 100% wool | Size Range: XS – XL
Best Pinstriped Pants
Favorite Daughter The Favorite Pant
As the name suggests, Favorite Daughter’s ‘The Favorite’ pants are a must-have. With hundreds of reviews singing their praises, they come in the traditional, blue, black, and brown hues – as well as the slightly less popular pinstripe option that will smarten up even the most casual ensembles. The best part? They’re fully lined in cotton to ensure full coverage.
Price at time of publish: $228
Material: Stretch polyester | Size Range: XS – XL
Best Cotton Pants
Helsa Rugby Pleated Pant
The effortlessly chic brand founded by Swedish model, Elsa Hosk designed a pair of pleated Rugby pants that will bring the perfect pop of color into your wardrobe. Cut from striped cotton poplin, the pleated trousers combine style with comfort thanks to the classic zip fly at the front and breezy wide-leg silhouette that will give your look a more relaxed feel. Pair yours with a cropped tank or tee to accentuate the high waist.
Price at time of publish: $298
Material: 100% Organic cotton | Size Range: 2XS – XL
Best Active Pants
Alo Yoga High-Waist Pursuit Trouser
If you find yourself shuffling between the office and weekly workout classes, then Alo’s high-waisted ‘Pursuit’ trousers are worth having on your radar. At the front, it has the traditional hook-eye fastening, while the back lends a bit more comfort with the partially-elasticated waistband. It’s also worth noting that they’re made from a technical, lightweight woven fabric that’s suitable for low-impact workouts.
Price at time of publish: $148
Material: Woven crepe | Size Range: 2X – XL
Best Camel Pants
Everlane The Way-High Drape Pant
Price at time of publish: $120
Material: 60% TENCEL™ Lyocell, 40% Cotton | Size Range: 2XS – 2XL
Best Wide Leg Pants
Madewell The Harlow Wide-Leg Pants
For a more laid back option, consider Madewell’s ‘Harlow’ pants. Designed with an adjustable D-ring belt and concealed side slit pockets, they’re cut from a billowy, Tencel, cotton, and linen blend. They’re made in four different colors and a handful of fits – including plus, petite, standard, and tall.
Price at time of publish:$118
Material: Tencel, Cotton and Linen-blend | Size Range: 2XS – 2XL
Best Cropped Pleated Pants
A.L.C Frederick Tuxedo Pant
On the list of brands that design posh quality separates, A.L.C is somewhere close to the top. Each season, the LA-based label presents streamlined silhouettes with modern updates that guarantee you can wear them beyond your more professional events. Woven from a sturdy crepe fabric, the ‘Frederick’ tuxedo pants are intended for a looser fit, which looks especially great with a blazer and heels for a cocktail hour. They work just as well, dressed down with sneakers.
Price at time of publish: $198
Material: Stretch Polyester | Size Range: XS – XL
Best Belted Pants
The Frankie Shop Mia Belted Pants
The Frankie Shop
There’s no denying that The Frankie Shop has a wide variety of tailoring to choose from. But the brand’s belted ‘Mia’ trousers are above par. They’re made from a featherweight cotton fabric that doesn’t pleat easily like other pairs on the market. The relaxed, straight-leg fit can be styled with everything from a cropped white tee to an oversized work shirt – partially tucked in, of course.
Price at time of publish: $148
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: S – L
Best Brown Pants
Reformation Mason Pant
Though Reformation is known best among its cult following for its eco-friendly denim collections and free-flowing dresses, its business attire is worth having on your radar. The ‘Mason’ pants, in particular, are made from Tencel crepe with a relaxed wide leg that stacks easily over your favorite pair of block-heeled boots.
Price at time of publish: $178
Material: Tencel | Size Range: XS – XL
Best Balloon Pants
By Malene Birger Carlien Trousers
By Malene Birger
When it comes to pleated trousers, those of the straight and wide-leg variety are most common. Those that want something a bit bolder should take a pair of balloon-cut into consideration. The key to pulling it off? Play around with proportions by matching the drama with a voluminous blouse. But don’t forget to add your favorite belt to create a more defined shape.
Price at time of publish: $530
Material: Recycled crepe | Size Range: XS – XL
If you’re looking for a true suiting option, then you can’t go wrong with Black-owned brand RE ONA’s trousers. Tailored from quality fabrics for a straight-leg fit, it’s the label’s keen attention to detail that sets it apart from the back. However, those looking for something a bit more relaxed will love The Favorite Daughter’s ‘Favorite Pants’ just as much. They come in a slew of office-appropriate colors, but the laidback silhouette will ensure you’re grabbing for them on your days off, too.
What to Look for When Shopping for Pleated Pants
“As women of different shapes, heights, and sizes, we consider the fit and the silhouette of each style we create,” says Abayomi. “For example, with our Joeys, we made sure to add an elasticated waistband for additional comfort. We think about how it will flatter each body type and also listen to feedback and suggestions from our customers, we like to include them in our process.”
The designer goes on to explain that fabrication and materials play a large role in the longevity of an item. She says, “If the pants are made of great quality, transitional from season to season, and can be styled multiple ways, it’ll become a forever wardrobe staple compared to a good pair of pants that may be lower quality and will deteriorate quickly over time.”
Comfort and Wearability
“We strive to provide comfort while also not compromising on quality as we want our pieces to last for years to come,” the co-founder continues.”For example, with our Joeys, we made sure to add an elasticated waistband.”
What are pleated trousers?
By definition, pleated trousers are well-tailored pants with crisp folds that allow easy movement. They can be made from a wide range of fabrics, including cotton-twill, wool, linen, and everything in between. Materials aside, you can also shop the style in a slew of cuts and silhouettes, as well.
How do you iron pleated trousers?
The key to pressing your pleated trousers without ridding them of the front crease is ironing or steaming along the fold rather than against it. This ensures your pants are rid of any unseemly wrinkles without losing the shape that makes them special. Pro tip: Be cautious of the fabrication of your trousers to determine which heat setting is best and avoid ruining them altogether.
How do you style pleated trousers?
“I like to stick to a simple rule when it comes to mixing style and comfort. If I decide to wear a fitted double-layered top, then I’ll most likely pair it with a loose-fitting bottom such as our Bobbi or Joey Trousers. Or if I’m wearing fitted jeans, I’ll wear a looser top such as our Artist shirt or just pair it with our oversized blazer. These types of pairings make it easy to have comfort while also looking put together.