Whether you're purchasing your first custom suit or a pair of custom slacks, it can be somewhat difficult to decide on whether you should opt for a flat front or pleated look. There are a few things to consider when making this judgment call.
1.) What kind of fit do you want your suit to have?
When designing a custom suit, it is important to keep all of the proportions balanced. If you prefer a trim cut jacket, think early 60's, or Mad Men-like, then your slacks should match accordingly. Flat front slacks are the best option for a trim cut suit. When going with a flat front, your custom tailor is able to cut your slacks trimmer in the thigh and knees.
If you prefer a more traditional fit, with a little more room to spare, then pleats are a much better option.
2.) What do you prefer comfort or fashion?
Currently, flat front pants are "in style." They give the wearer a trimmer look and elongate the legs by removing any excess fabric throughout the thighs and knees. Most modern designers (aka, Hugo Boss, Marc Jacobs, Prada) make very trim cut suits with flat front slacks.
If you prefer comfort to fashion, then pleats are definitely the route you should go. Pleated pants are cut much wider throughout the leg and have a much more spacious feel than flat front pants. In order for pleated slacks to drape cleanly and for the pleats not to pop open, the thigh must have enough fabric to prevent pulling. This extra fabric will often be more comfortable for men when they are moving around and sitting at a desk.
3.) Do you like cuffs?
The rule of thumb says that if you have flat front pants, you should not have cuffs. Most fashion experts feel that cuffs only belong on pleated pants, because flat front pants are considered to be a continental European tradition and cuffs are of Anglo-American origin, therefore mixing these two styles is considered improper.
Despite these rules, our opinion is that if you know the rules, then its ok to bend them. The beneifit of having your slacks custom made, is that you have the ability to style them however you like. If you are a fan of cuffs and not pleats – then by all means, go for it.