Darted Trousers

12
SHARE
Darts on the front of Roger Moore's trousers, in-line with the crease
Darts on the front of Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle trousers in The Man with the Golden Gun, in-line with the crease. Click the image for a closer look.

The one style of trousers that people never talk about is the darted front. We always hear about pleats versus no pleats, but darts are left out. A dart is essentially a pleat that is sewn shut, but it’s not very noticeable. All trousers have darts in the rear, one or two on each side over the pocket—or over where the pocket would be if there is none. For medium to high rise trousers, a dart in the front is better than a plain front so the trousers can better curve over the hips. Only high-end ready-to-wear brands and bespoke tailors seem to appreciate the effectiveness of darts in the front of trousers

Darts on the front side of Daniel Craig's Brioni trousers
Darts on the front side of Daniel Craig’s Brioni trousers in Casino Royale. Click the image for a closer look.

Trouser darts in front are not as deep as trouser pleats are, and there is only one on each side instead of two. Though darts don’t provide extra cloth for the trousers to expand when sitting like pleats do, they help curve the trousers over the hips. They also can help the problem of side pockets that flare out on flat front trousers. Some tailors place the dart where the main pleat would be on pleated trousers, and some place it less noticeably off to the side. I cannot say in which place the dart is more effective. Can you still call trousers with a dart in front “flat front”? Maybe. With a dart the front is no longer flat, it is curved.

Darts on the front side of Pierce Brosnan's trousers in Die Another Day. Click the image for a closer look.
Darts on the front side of Pierce Brosnan’s trousers in Die Another Day. Click the image for a closer look.

I have most certainly labelled some darted trousers as flat front because it’s difficult to see darts on screen. Now that I have the series on Blu-ray, I can better see those kinds of details. but not in every example. It appears that George Lazenby’s dinner suit trousers have darts, but those are the only suit trousers we see without a jacket. All of Roger Moore’s Cyril Castle—the tailor who made Roger Moore’s suits in Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun—trousers have darts, which are in-line with the trouser crease. Castle gives Moore’s trousers very long front darts, which most likely help the fit at the expense of a clean look. Darts, however, look cleaner than pleats. Moore’s Douglas Hayward suit trousers in For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill also have front darts, placed at the front of frogmouth pockets. Pierce Brosnan’s and Daniel Craig’s Brioni trousers that don’t have pleats have darts, and Brioni places them closer to the side pocket. Anthony Sinclair made his darts the same way for Sean Connery in Diamonds Are Forever.

Darts on the front side of Sean Connery's Anthony Sinclair trousers in Diamonds Are Forever. They are easier seen when wet. Click the image for a close look.
Darts on the front side of Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair trousers in Diamonds Are Forever. The darts are easier seen when wet. Click the image for a closer look.

12 COMMENTS

  1. I guess darted front trousers are a kind of amelioration of flat front trousers.

    I don’t understand the interest of putting darts closer to the pockets though.
    Brosnan’s trousers pocket seem to flare a lot in the third picture, it’s not esthetical at all – I wonder if that would be very different if the trousers had no darts.

    • Without the darts Brosnan wouldn’t even be able to get these trousers on. The darts make the hips and thighs bigger than if these were flat front trousers, but the hips and seat are still too small.

  2. They are a lovely detail and one I was entirely unaware of until recently when I bought a vintage set of evening tails. They have the traditional high rise trousers and, with the waist so high, need to widen over the hips. The darted fronts mean that they do so and maintain beautifully clean lines.

  3. Interesting little detail, Matt. I was aware of these on trousers but never paid a lot of attention to the why’s or wherefore’s of their existence. Having looked in my wardrobe, I notice them on the trousers of a couple of my vintage Hayward suits and also on an off the peg suit by Aquascutum. The latter has a tiny change pocket like that on the trousers of the pale grey TMWTGG suit.

  4. Matt, what about one forward pleat style?
    This type of pleats had some popularity in north Italy tailoring in 60s. (from old issues of “Sartoria magazine” 1963 and 1965).
    Is a neat and flattering style,and from the single foward pleat, the trouser crease fall down like a razor.

  5. Hello,
    This is a fascinating detail that I had never paid any attention to, until now. Tell me, Matt, based on what you said here “A dart is essentially a pleat that is sewn shut, but it’s not very noticeable ” would it be a faux pas to tailor my suits that have pleats with darts?

    • The pleats are too deep to turn into darts. The size of the dart is like the small pleat on double-pleated trousers. There should also only be one dart on each side, not two.

  6. Why do you think darted trousers are so unusual? Based on your
    description they seem to be a good alternative to the other styles of trousers.

    If all trousers have darts in the rear why not put a dart in the front as well?

LEAVE A REPLY

Do the arithmetic * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.