Pleated or Flat Front? Top or Side Pockets?

“Should I buy pleated pants or pants with a flat front?”  "Western top pockets or side pockets?"  "Classic fit or slim fit?"  If you have an average build, you’ll look well in all styles and it’s just a matter of preference.  Unfortunately, many of us are anything but average.

Here are some guidelines to help you find the best look depending on your body shape:

RECTANGLE SHAPE  If you have broad shoulders, heavy upper legs and a large backside a pleated pant will balance out your frame.  Check out our classic fit Van and Tee models under Shop by Style. Our pleated slacks also have more fabric in the seat and thighs than our flat front pants, which makes the pleated model roomier and more comfortable. Sansabelt pleated pants have 2-reverse pleats, so the pleats face out to the sides, rather than in towards the zipper, so there is no bulk. Outward-facing-pleats also keep the fabric from bunching up when you sit.

APPLE SHAPE  If your belly is the biggest part of your body, a flat front is your best friend, especially if the pockets are placed just below the waistband. You'll want to select western pockets or the Bing or Par style under Shop by Style.  This style gives you a slim line up and down, with no side pockets to pop out when you stand and no pleats to draw attention to your middle.

PEAR SHAPE  If you’re narrow in the shoulders and wider below the waist, a flat front is generally a better choice. You don’t want to add size or the illusion of fullness to your lower half with additional fabric.  Since side pockets can gape out when you stand, you may be best served by our top pocket styles.

LANKY  Flat-front pants are a good choice for men with a lean body and a small rear.  We recommend the Grant classic fit model under Shop by Style.  We also created two of our fabrics in a slim fit style, called Axle, which is approximately 2 inches slimmer in the seat and thigh so you won’t have the bagginess many men complain about in the seat area. Our Axle model is only available in sizes below 42.

And on the subject of Pockets...

On pleated slacks, pockets are always on each side seam. With flat front pants, you have the option of pockets at each side seam which is the more common style in stores today or at the top, just below the waistband above each leg; they are horizontal and you put your hands into them, top down. 

Some customers get upset if their preferred pocket style is out of stock in their size, but often find that when they try a different style, they like it.  If your lower half is the biggest part of your body and flat front slacks are best on you, but we are out of the Grant model you typically order, consider the Bing style which gives a long unbroken look, especially without a belt.  Many customers prefer the top pocket style because coins and other items don’t fall out and they are easier to get to.  Golfers, on the other hand, need those side pockets to pop a golf ball into.  Again, the your body can look good in more than one style, but unless you buy and try, you'll never know.

Bottom line, there are no hard and fast rules; go with makes you feel and look good.  And if you have any questions at all, we're here to help.  





  • Caddyshack

    This was very helpful. I just found your pants. I am a waist size of 36 but I have no butt so I picked the axle slim fit. I got 2 pair unhemmed, a size 36 and a 38 and found the 38 were perfect so I sent back the 36's. I really like the colors and plan to buy at least 3 more pair. Any chance in the poplin, which are great for golf that you will have yellow, green or light blue?

  • Kathy

    Hi Caddyshack, Well we do plan to be making some poly cottons with stretch, which golfers should really enjoy, but those colors won't be in our initial run. I would love to see us do some playful summer colors, but unlike Jaymar Ruby in its heyday back in the early 60's, we don't produce 2 million pair of slacks each year, so we have to move a tad more judiciously. But I'm in your corner! Maybe even plaids one day :)

  • pete

    Does sansabelt make shorts?

  • Richard Kelly

    I have been trying to buy top pocket black sharkskin flat front in size 44 for the last three years, it always comes up not available, I have been wearing sansabelt pants for the last twenty five years and never had any trouble buying them are they not making them.? Are you going out of business? Please give me an answer.thank you.Richard J Kelly

  • Kathy

    SHORTS: We absolutely make shorts. They are available in our Gab Poly Twill with Stretch, Denim, Poplin and Melange fabrics. Please select your waist size and then under custom hemming you may select an inseam of 9 though 12 inches. SHARKSKIN: New sharkskin inventory is going to be available at the end of this month. We will advise just as soon as they are available for purchase. Sorry for the delay.

  • peter

    fantastic fit great product great value

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