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The way to Put on, Historical past, + Picks

It will be a wale of a great time.

A snug material with a hard-wearing heritage, corduroy is the best sartorial crossroads the place sophistication meets toughness and in a surprisingly delicate package deal. Study extra concerning the rugged cloth you will wish to be sure to’re sporting loads of throughout the cooler months forward.

What’s Corduroy?

Whereas corduroy additionally shares its title with a sartorially challenged bear trying to find his misplaced button, the title of the material definitely predates Don Freeman’s 1968 image ebook.

Legend purported by menswear titans like Sir Hardy Amies and Alan Flusser said that the title originated as an Anglicization of the French corde du roi, or “wire of the king,” in reference to its use as royal looking livery. Nevertheless, newer explorations decided that this was a false etymology and that the time period advanced from an 18th century description of duroy, a rough cloth utilized in English nation clothes. Because it was particularly the Manchester space that noticed the rise of this cloth, some areas proceed to confer with corduroy as “Manchester material.”

men's outfit with olive corduroy pants
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Whether or not it was English countrymen, French hunters, or one other group altogether that pioneered this sturdy but engaging cloth, corduroy had been established throughout Europe and america by the twentieth century. Over the many years that adopted, corduroy adopted the tendencies that normalized sportswear, bringing this corded material in from the chilly because it grew to become a shorthand for various fashions of masculinity, whether or not worn by hunters warming their palms by the hearth or Ivy professors with chalk-stained elbows pouring a post-recitation dram.

Corduroy’s distinctive texture consists of raised rows of velveteen cotton, every in an equal width created by a course of generally known as “tufting” that weaves the cotton into these wales.


Wait, tufting? Wales? Let’s step again a bit.

Tufting is a course of that weaves yarn by means of a material base to kind a pile that may be tailored for something from clothes to rugs. Although it dates again centuries, the tufting course of has been modernized with the event of tufting weapons, which have additionally been embraced by DIYers.

The kind of tufting particular to corduroy attracts the piled cloth into lengths of ridged wire, generally known as a wale and reportedly derived from the Anglo-Saxon time period for the ridge made in a plowed area.

Corduroy is then outlined by its wale depend, referring to the variety of these ridges that may match inside one inch, starting from lower than two to greater than 20. A decrease wale depend suggests a wider wire; to borrow an instance impressed by corduroy’s origins amongst hunters, this echoes how a 12-gauge shotgun shell is wider than a 20-gauge.

  • Slender-waled corduroy, also called “pincord,” “pinwale,” or “needlecord,” usually measures 16-wale
  • Medium or standard-wale corduroy is often 11-wale
  • Extensive-wale corduroy, also called “elephant wire”, is commonly 4-wale or 5-wale, although extra excessive variations like 1.5-wale are sometimes produced
images of brown corduroy textures

Extensive Wale Banana Republic Go well with Pant / Commonplace Wale L.L. Bean pants / Flint and Tinder Corduroy Pant

The way to Put on Corduroy

Per its sportswear origins, corduroy has most historically been made in earthier colours like shades of brown, tan, and olive, although the material’s well-established recognition exterior the realms of looking has led to fashion-forward outfitters crafting corded put on in vibrant shades of burgundy, orange, and violet, along with extra conservative tones like navy blue and grey.

Corduroy Pants

Buck Mason Stretch Twine Ford Commonplace Jean / Finances alt: Goodthreads

Corduroy pants sometimes vary between trousers and extra informal denims, although each types—like denims—are inclined to turn into extra comfy for his or her wearers the extra they’re damaged in. Primarily based on how the material falls, wider-waled corduroy is commonly reserved for dressier pants with needlecord higher fitted to denims.

image of corduroy jacket and plaid shirt layers

Trying to the display for cinematic examples, corduroy supplied the underside half for the action-ready seems to be sported by Bruce Willis in Die Onerous 2 and Daniel Craig throughout the ultimate act of Skyfall; John McClane’s pleated cords echoed costume pants just like the J. Crew Ludlow Corduroy Go well with Pant whereas Craig’s 007 opted for extra dressed-down corduroy denims just like the Slim-Match Flex Twine, additionally from J. Crew, or the Buck Mason Stretch Twine Ford Commonplace Jean.

Corduroy Jackets

image of man wearing a brown corduroy jacket

Wallace & Barnes corduroy chore jacket

Corduroy’s chameleon-like dressiness additionally pertains to jackets, as each sports activities coats and informal jackets will be appropriate purposes for corduroy. 

close up image of brown cord jacket collar and tie

Matthew McConaughy in True Detective Season 1

A corduroy sport jacket may very well be one of the versatile items you personal, with the power to be:

  • Paired with a costume shirt and tie a la Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, Matt Damon in The Gifted Mr. Ripley, and Matthew McConaughey throughout the primary season of True Detective
  • Layered over a broken-in work shirt or flannel like Ben Affleck in Argo and Robert Downey Jr. in Zodiac
  • Offering a rakish addition to a easy black T-shirt and denims like David Duchovny’s self-destructive creator in Californication

As confirmed by denims, a doctrine you possibly can apply to corduroy is: if it may be made in denim, it may also be made in corduroy. (The reverse doesn’t apply, as Justin Timberlake illustrated on the 2001 AMAs.)

image of man wearing a lined corduroy jacket

Schott Corduroy Rancher Jacket

With that in thoughts, the world of informal corduroy jackets opens as much as chore jackets, truckers, shackets, and extra. Like their denim cousins, these will be additional insulated by piled sherpa lining and collars like these Huckberry and Levi’s jackets.

image of man wearing a sherpa lined dark blue jacket

Levi’s Corduroy Sherpa Trucker Jacket

Informal corduroy jackets counsel a rugged consolation with the outside, whether or not it is the darkish olive chore coat worn by Chief Hopper on Stranger Issues or the blood-hued burgundy blouson that Jack Nicholson wore for the notorious “here is Johnny!” rampage in The Shining

image of man wearing a brown corduroy jacket and blue plaid shirt

I like sporting informal corduroy jackets with denims, permitting me to mix the appropriate philosophy of a trucker jacket and denims with out wading into difficult double-denim territory.

Corduroy Fits

image of man wearing a tan corduroy suit

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As soon as you have labored your means up by means of corduroy jackets and trousers, it’s possible you’ll be able to graduate to the complete corduroy swimsuit. Although it is by no means been a vital in a males’s wardrobe (e.g., you most likely should not purchase one until you have already got a grey or navy swimsuit!), dressing neck to ankle in matching, tailor-made corduroy could be a comfy various—the place comfy options can be applicable—to the standard worsted. 

Appointed with the suitable shirt, it might carry some magnificence so far evening; paired with an Ivy-inspired button-down shirt and tie, it might counsel a hit-the-pavement type of occupation like Robert Redford’s portrayal of intrepid investigative reporter Bob Woodward in All of the President’s Males.

Following the visibility of Daniel Craig’s corded Massimo Alba “sloop swimsuit” worn for an motion sequence in his James Bond swan music, No Time to Die, I predict we might even see a renaissance in corduroy fits. If nothing else, proudly owning a corduroy swimsuit additionally mechanically arms your closet with the jacket and trousers that may be deployed as separates.

image of man wearing a brown corduroy suit and baseball cap

Alex Mill appears to have ready for this potential recognition, providing the Rugged Twine Blazer (additionally proven in brown on the prime) and Commonplace Pleated Pant that may be worn individually or collectively.

Corduroy Shirts

Corduroy make for an excellent shirt jacket and even heftier various to an Oxford shirt within the cooler months. They will have each refined and rugged aesthetics.

Wellen Twine Shirt

This button up corduroy shirt seems to be nice as a refined enterprise informal or good informal various.

Flint & Tinder Corduroy Snap Shirt

This corduroy tackle the basic denim western shirt makes pairing with denims simpler and makes it an excellent possibility for layering.

Even Extra Corduroy!

image of a blue corduroy baseball cap

Amazon Corduroy Unstructured Baseball Cap

Past jackets and trousers, designers have prolonged corduroy to shirts, caps, and even sneakers! A corduroy shirt is likely one of the coziest items you possibly can personal, whether or not it is a needlecord shirt to be tucked in with trousers or denims or a wider-waled overshirt to be layered over your favourite T.

Even when there isn’t any corduroy in the remainder of your outfit, it could additionally make an excellent accent whether or not on the collar of your Storm Rider-style jacket or actually topping off your look by way of a plain baseball cap like these choices from Amazon, J.Crew, and Huckberry.

How do you prefer to put on corduroy?



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