This Season’s Key Trend: Corduroy and How to Wear It

This Season’s Key Trend: Corduroy and How to Wear It

Corduroy has been around for a while and has had a reputation that wasn't always great, but this season it's having it's moment - and definitely in a good way. When it's bad, it really is bad, but when it's done right you can stand proud and embrace the style must-have. To help out, we've got the ultimate guide on what to wear with corduroy.

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Corduroy can go one of two ways - really well or really badly. That's why we're here - to help you figure out what you should be wearing your corduroy with. Whether it's cord pants, corduroy jackets or a cord shirt, men's corduroy's should be worn with style and a whole lot of confidence. It's no longer that material that looks nerdy, un-stylish and overly bulky. It's had a makeover and can now been seen on all the runways and is hitting the street style scene with full force.

What is corduroy?

Some pieces may be considered old fashioned - and you're right, some of them will be. We're not saying that all cords will look amazing - baggy cord trousers for example will wash away any sense of shape and drown you in fabric. So if you're going to take one thing away from this, keep your cords slim fitted and not overly baggy. The material is fairly thick as it is, so you don't need to add any extra bulk.

Corduroy material

Cord material has a texture of 'wales' that run vertically along the fabric. It has a tuffed top and a fuzzy, soft appearance making it a durable and tactile fabric. So if you want to add a element of texture or interest to your outfit you're in luck, as corduroy is the perfect material to do just that.

The fabric at first glance looks like a selection of cords laid parallel next to each other, these are the raised areas called piles that create the overall aesthetic of the material. The cut pile is similar to velvet and was once refereed to as the 'poor man's velvet' as it had durable, chunky properties and was easily made with cotton or similar fibres. If you want to get all technical, the width of the fabric is referred to as the size of the 'wale'. So, simplistically put, the lower the wale number, the thicker the width of the wale. The thicker widths are used commonly for corduroy men's trousers and the thinner widths are for anything that's usually worn above the waist.

Robert Pattinson in a brown overshirt

How to wear corduroy

We've figured out what corduroy is and that it's a top trend this season, but how do you actually wear it without looking like you've stepped out of the 1970s boho era?

Corduroy jacket

A men's corduroy jacket is probably one of the easiest and most convenient ways to add the cord material to your wardrobe. Firstly, the material is thick and able to lock in heat, so it's perfect for when the weather starts to get colder. As well as being warm, the cord fabric is durable, so a jacket will be able to withstand the very British weather conditions that we have to endure. However, probably not the best thing to wear in the rain unless you have an umbrella.

When deciding on corduroy colours for your jacket, it's best to keep things neutral so you can layer and add additional pieces depending on the time, day and weather. A black corduroy jacket is a classic, but if you want something a bit more noticeable, olive, tan or even a deep red will suit the seasons top colour trends. Wear your jacket with a casual pair of jeans and some Vans for a street style look.

A corduroy jacket will add some warmth to your winter wardrobe

Corduroy shirt

A men's corduroy shirt is a winter wardrobe essential this season. Swap your standard cotton shirt for a corduroy one that gives your outfit a bit more texture and interest. The thicker shirt is well matched to the colder weather, so you'll have warmth and style in one. You can wear the shirt buttoned to the top with some slim jeans or if you want a slightly more casual look, wear over a T-shirt. The cord shirt will look more relaxed than others you may have in your wardrobe, but if you're heading to the pub or out for a Sunday lunch, this is the ideal smart casual you should go for.

The Idle Man have a selection of corduroy shirts

Corduroy trousers

Corduroy trousers will make a big fashion statement, but you have to get it right. Too slim and you'll look stupid - too baggy and you'll have no shape. You need to get the right mix and make sure you pair them with something that'll compliment the style well. So how to wear corduroy trousers? It's a good question, and it has a few answers. A roll neck or crew necked jumper will always work, especially when layered under your winter coat. The materials will both have a similar thickness so you won't look like you've got a thinner top to bottom half. The trousers will feel thicker than your standard jeans, so don't go for something that's overly tight.

When it comes to colour, don't be afraid to step away from the black - after all you want your trousers to be noticed, so why always hide in a pair of black ones? Brown could be looked at as being old fashioned and granddad style but you'll be surprised as this is a look you should adapt for the current season. The whole 'dad look' is coming back, so when it comes to corduroy, you can go for a brown tan colour and not feel too weird.

One final tip would be to make sure the trousers are't too long. They should fall around your ankle and rest on the top of your trainer. If they're longer than that, it's best to fold up the bottoms - this still looks good and helps to add to the outfits aesthetics.

Corduroy trousers don't have to look old and unfashionable,

Corduroy blazer

A corduroy blazer for men doesn't have to be as big and chunky as your cord pants or corduroy jacket. As mentioned, the thinner the wale, the thinner the fabric looks, so you can actually pull off an entire cord suit without looking like you've put on a few extra pounds. The good thing about a men's corduroy blazer is that the fabric looks so rich that you can wear colours you wouldn't normally wear. Reds, tans, greens and navys can all look good when in cord form. The colours may be bold, but they don't go as far as they would if you had a smooth polyester fabric.

A cord suit will be a step above everyone else but you need to make sure you get it right. Keep everything else simple and let the suit be the main attraction. A white shirt is a must, any other colour will look odd, and tie can be worn but you can go without and still look fashion forward. Smart shoes in either brown or black, depending on the suit colour, should be chunkier than ones you would wear with a normal suit. You need to remember the cord material is still thick so you need to keep the textures balanced. If you have all this nailed, you're outfit will be a winter classic.

Ryan Gosling can pull of a corduroy suit with ease

Corduroy and How to Wear It

  • Keep in mind the thickness when choosing your corduroy pieces. Corduroy is a thick cotton fabric consisting of wales that make it appear raised so make sure you take this into account.
  • A cord jacket or shirt are the easiest ways to incorporate the cord material into your wardrobe. The fabrics rich so you can experiment with colours.
  • Cord trousers shouldn't be too slim or too baggy, they should be worn with pieces that aren't too skinny as you need to stay in proportion with the fabric thickness.
  • A corduroy suit is a statement and you can go all out when it comes to colour. Accessorise simply and keep the shirt white.

Cords are a must for this season

On That Note

So if you want to add some corduroy pieces to your wardrobe, it can be done. The fabrics durable, soft and when worn right, aesthetically pleasing. The good thing about this fabric is that you can experiment with colours, and as long as they aren't too bright, you'll be able to wear a green suit or brown cord trousers without looking like you're in fancy dress.


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