Pleated jeans are back I’m not kidding

Last Updated on June 5, 2023 by Kristen

Pleated jeans are so maligned that someone named their humor site after them. Pleated jeans are often considered unflattering and rarely taken seriously except that I wore them in heavy rotation in high school in the ’80s and so did most of my teenage friends. And since fashion always repeats itself, that means it will happen again.

And guess what? It IS happening again. Our high-school outfits were pretty much identical to the one above if you snapped a photo in the year printed on the model’s t-shirt, right down to the yoke waistband and Adidas slides.

High-rise pleated jeans are up for grabs at the chicest retailers from top denim designers like Mother, Agolde, Goldsign, and more. Some have nearly sold out due to their popularity.

This is happening, people.

Just to prove that I’m not making this shit up, I searched on some of my favorite retailers for “pleated jeans.”

Shopbop returned 43 items.


pleated jeans

Net-a-Porter gave 13 results:

pleated jeans

Revolve only brought up four, but they’re there, promising to proliferate.

pleated jeans

That’s just a little sampling, guys.

Re/done pleat-front jeans

RE/Done pleat-front jeans, $98

If, as you read this, you’re vowing to never in a million years wear pleated jeans, I invite you to remember back to the re-emergence of other trends throughout history.

Perhaps, like me, you said you would never wear flare or wide-legged jeans again and you didn’t care how popular they became. I have a clear memory of saying these words in the 80s as I sat in my science classroom huddled with my girlfriends around a Seventeen magazine editorial featuring bellbottoms circa 1980-ish. “No one can make me wear them,” I declared.

At the time, ’70s flares had solidly given way to straight-leg jeans and I felt very proud to have made the transition per recommendations from the teenagers who lived on my block.

Meanwhile, for the past two decades, flares and wide-legged jeans have been a staple of my wardrobe.

As we get older, trends become more personal. We don’t so much follow fashion trends as we’re drawn to what makes us feel like us. For me that’s the high-rise wide legged jeans I swore as a teen I’d never wear.

So far, though, they haven’t included pleats. What say you of pleated jeans, or any pleated pants for that matter? Based on experience, I’m gonna go with “never say never.”

1 Comment

  1. January 27, 2021 / 10:54 pm

    Skinny jeans (light or dark shade), when paired with knee high boots, can rock the look. Team the jeans with a smart tee-shirt (tucking is optional), drape a silk scarf around your neck and you are all set for a fun evening.

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