How to Wear & Style Pleated Pants (4 Issues)

How to Wear Pleated Pants

How to style and wear the hottest fashion trend of the season without looking frumpy.

You’ve probably seen countless street style photos of stylish women wearing oversized pleated slouchy pants.

After looking at these pictures, I placed a few orders for various pairs, but when they arrived, I found that they were significantly too long for me, which is one of the problems we’ll encounter.

There are a lot of issues with these pleated pants, so I’m going to attempt to make this as simple as possible for you while also keeping it very honest.

If you are tall and really slim, you probably don’t need to worry too much. It will be difficult for those of us who have additional issues, such as a small tummy, love handles, being petite, or anything else that creates our shape.

Let’s talk about how to wear pleated pants. Starting with casual, we’ll work up to dressier as I explain.

None of these outfits are going to be particularly dressy, in my opinion. Personally, I believe they look better in casual attire. That’s where the trend lies, but I also want to give you some options if you want to dress them up.

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4 Issues With Pleated Pants

Before we talk about the looks, let’s delve into why these pleated pants are tricky.

They are tricky since there is no stretch in the waist and no room for forgiveness. Either it fits or it doesn’t.

Because there is no spandex or stretch in it, it might feel very tight and restrictive. You might even develop some skin overhang or a small muffin top as a result.

The second issue is that you are adding pleats to a troublesome spot. You’re adding volume to the lower tummy, which is a really common problem spot for many women.

It is really challenging to wear pleated pants with that if there is anything there that you don’t want the world to see.

Thirdly, if you choose to cover the issue area with oversized clothing while wearing the pants, your entire body will end up looking voluminous and oversized. That isn’t very attractive; especially if you’re petite, it might make you look very boxy, masculine, or simply completely swallow you up.

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The fourth issue is that, if you’re petite, you may have trouble finding these pants in petite lengths because they haven’t been produced in sufficient quantity or variety. At least I didn’t find any in short lengths that I liked.

They are oversized, which is another problem; if you are petite and wear oversized pants, it can be too much for your smaller frame.

How to Style Pleated Pants

I couldn’t wait to test out these pants. But as soon as I put them on, I found how hard they are to style.

So, here are some combinations that I found to be appealing.

Street Chic

Combine your pleated pants with a tank for a summer street-chic look.

It might be a simple white rib tank or a straightforward white cotton tank paired with some baggy camel or beige pants, sneakers, or sandals.

It’s a really cool look.

The second look you may try is a white t-shirt, slouchy pants, and sneakers. It is also very casual and street chic.

You can alter your pants to fit a lower heel or a higher sneaker. It depends on the look you want to achieve when wearing heels, but they would lengthen the body and the frame.

The cool aspect derives from the sneaker-trouser combination.

It’s important to note that I tucked the tank and the t-shirt in for each of these outfits.

What happens if you want to conceal your stomach but still want to define your waist? Because the entire goal of the pants is defeated if you don’t actually have any waist definition with these pants.

You can try the half tuck. This would give you the side forgiveness while also adding a little front waist definition.

Of course, you could add a waist belt, which would beautifully define your waist.

But what should you do if you are unable to tuck, partly tuck, or wear a waist belt? There are a few additional options.

You can wear a cropped top that only covers the very top of your pant’s waistband. It shouldn’t be excessively long to avoid cutting into your legs and distorting your figure.

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Make sure the top isn’t overly oversized and billowy as well. To give you some shape, you want something a little more body-skimming.

Another alternative is to go for something that’s cropped. Choose a piece that hangs directly below the belly for this look, and then layer the cropped jacket over it to let it define your waist for you.

If you’re concerned about your tummy, those are your options.

Crop Blazer

For this look, the crop blazer is another way to highlight that waistband, create some definition and shape. With the beige pants and the cropped camel jacket, it sort of creates a suit, even though it’s a rather unconventional one.

You have the option of wearing your top tucked in or out. Just watch the length of the top underneath. It shouldn’t be excessively long. Even if there isn’t a waist, the crop jacket does a fantastic job of emphasizing one. Additionally, it creates sophistication and polish.

We’re now in the stage where your pleated pants can add even more polish.

You can wear a pair of white leather sneakers with this look whether you’re having lunch or it’s casual Friday at office.

Office Look

The following couple of looks are geared for the office.

The first one involves wearing a white lace top with beige or camel pleated pants. Finishing off this look with a pair of mules.

The black top is another option for an office look with the pleated pants.

My black top has spandex and cotton in it. It looks more like a blouse due to the embellishments. It has a v-neck, ruching on the sleeves, and ruching in the midsection.

Because the top is more body-skimming, the ruching in this color will conceal the stomach while still giving you contour.

Heels in black, camel, or beige look great with this attire.

Because it’s so elegant and comfortable at the same time, I could definitely wear this to the office.

Oversized Blazer

This outfit consists of oversized blazer and pleated pants. It’s volume all over, which is breaking all of the rules.

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It’s one of those things that I’d have to experiment with a few times to see if I could get used to it and how I felt.

I’d have to actually test it out to let you know.

I chose to wear the same camel pants with an oversized blazer and slide-on sandals with modest heels. You get cool chick look.

Would you try this look?

There is a lot of volume going on here, so it’s pushing it, especially if you are on the petite side.

But it also helps to leave the blazer open so that we can see the waistband of the pants, and to wear that fitting top over the baggy blazer. The lengthening bit of the heels also helps to make things work longer.


I won’t say that any of these looks are simple to execute. There are all the issues that I already discussed.

There’s nothing effortless about these pants.

Make sure to draw attention to your waist in some way if you want to pull off this style successfully. Either fully tuck or partially tuck your shirt in to achieve this. You can wear a waist belt that’ll add waist definition.

You can add waist definition by wearing a cropped blazer over a tee or top with ruching or by going for a shorter hemline top or tee. You can also experiment with wearing an oversized blazer over a top that fits closer to the body.

These are the essentials for successfully wearing pleated pants without coming off as frumpy, hard, or overly effortful.

It’s worthwhile to attempt if you’re one of the people who will be drawn to it. It only takes a little bit of playing and tweaking, which is fun.

But if that’s not your thing, I’d probably steer clear of these.

How to Style Pleated Pants

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