Dress Shirt Pleats | Which Option Suits You Best

Dress Shirt Pleats | Which Option Suits You Best

Dress Shirt Pleats

Have you over-marveled at other dress shirt pleats? If you’re not used to wearing nicely pleated dress shirts, ones that are properly pleated tend to look magnificent. Wouldn’t you like to know what all the pleat styles are so you can choose the best one?

Well, I’ve got you covered. Today, we’re going to look at each of the different pleat options, so you can choose your style more easily. You’ll look better than ever, and you’ll be sure to turn heads at the same time. So join me as I share the different dress shirt pleats with you.

No Back Pleats

There are no back pleats on the back of the shirt, creating a clean and simple appearance. If you want a more modern, slimmer look that fits through the chest and abdomen, then this will be the best choice visually.

Rear Side Pleats

The back folds, sometimes called knife pleats, are located directly below the yoke, towards the end of the shoulders. Each pleat is ½-inch wide. Choosing the back fold will add a total of two inches of extra fabric to the upper back of the shirt while keeping the yoke and chest width the same. If you want to increase the range of motion when you reach forward, the rear side pleat is a good choice.

Locker Loop Box Pleat

The locker ring is a detail of a vintage sports shirt, originally designed to allow you to easily hang the shirt in the locker. It is located on the back of the shirt, connected at the intersection of the bottom center of the yoke and the top of the center box pleat. It is a particularly popular choice for traditional American styles such as Oxford and Madras shirts. The box-shaped pleat assembly in the center adds a total of 3 inches to the upper back of the shirt to increase the range of motion when reaching forward.

Center Box Pleat

The box fold in the middle is a classic design detail, a more casual choice traditionally found on Brooks Brothers buttons or similar styles. Each side of the fold is added ¾ inches to the upper back of the shirt, for a total of 3 inches, to increase the range of motion when reaching forward. As far as style is concerned, due to its classic/conservative design association, the central box fold is not the first choice for super slim formal shirts.

Western Yoke and Back Pleats

The rear side folds and center box folds are not compatible with Western Yoke design options. If the size of the Western-style Yoke-style shirt you ordered includes back folds or central box folds, the shirt will be a Western-style Yoke without folds.

Choosing You Pleat

Forearm Pleats

Forearm folds are very subtle ½-inch fabric folds at the cuffs of shirts, which determine the speed at which the sleeves taper from the biceps (sleeve width), elbows to the circumference of the cuffs. The number of folds on the forearm is controlled by your customized shirt size contour.

Default Slim

Select the “2-pleat” forearm setting to specify that your shirt has two pleats at the cuffs. This is our default setting because the cuff has two folds (all other conditions are the same) to provide a comfortable circumference on the forearm of the sleeve while maintaining a relatively trim profile. 

If you prefer overall slim sleeves without sacrificing range of motion due to tight elbows, then this is an ideal choice.

Maximum Elbow Room

Select the “3-fold” forearm setting to specify that your shirt has three folds at the cuffs-two on the outside of the cuff and the third on the inside. 

This is the most spacious forearm structure-we design it for people with very large forearms (such as rock climbers, tennis players, etc.) and people who need very slim cuff circumferences. If you need more space in the forearm/elbow but don’t want to increase the sleeve width, you need to switch to a 3-fold forearm.

Sharp Taper from Bicep to Cuff

Select the “1-pleat” forearm setting to specify that your shirt has a pleat at the cuffs. There are two situations in which a pleated forearm may be preferable. 

The first is that your sleeve width conforms to the “classic” version so that the sharp taper of the wider biceps setting will not affect the elbow space. 

The second situation is suitable for people who are particularly slim. Even if their arms are bent, the two folds of the forearms are very spacious, which suits their tastes.

In Closing

The perfect pleat goes a long way in providing you with the right balance of appeal and appearance. If you’re like me, you’ll need to try out a few different pleats before you land on the one you like the most. I found that many pleat styles look good on me, but there are ones that stand out more than others.

Whatever pleat you choose, you’re sure to find a whole new level of class in your attire. As always, you may be better off visiting your local tailor to help you with your pleats. In doing so, you will have a professional opinion to help you match your pleat style.



1. Why do dress shirts have pleats?

Pleats were added to assist shape the shirt to a particular body type and to allow for greater movement around the shoulders and arms.

2. What are the pleats on the back of a shirt called?

Rear side pleats, often known as knife pleats, are located immediately behind the yoke and extend out toward the shoulders' ends. Each pleat measures 0.5 in width. Selecting rear side pleats adds a total of 2′ of fabric to the shirt's upper back while maintaining the yoke and chest width.

3. What is a pleated dress shirt?

The front of the pleated tuxedo shirt is pleated. The pleats are made from the shirt's real fabric, so they match the rest of the shirt perfectly (regardless of the fabric you select).

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