Six Fresh Ways To Wear Corduroy In 2020
Corduroy, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways
You can tell a lot about an era by the fabrics that dominate its fashions. The last time corduroy was popular, it was the 1970s. It doesn’t seem like too much of a coincidence that the style choices of that decade – when old hierarchies were shaken and menswear found itself experimenting with textures and materials – should resonate at a time when the rigid boundaries of dressing are not so quietly crumbling for men. The anything-goes sensibility that rules the red carpet has not quite trickled down IRL (yet), but it has encouraged men to explore all the avenues available to them. And one of those is corduroy.
Philosophical musings aside, the renewed interest in corduroy can otherwise be attributed to its practical merits. It’s pretty warm, thanks to its ridged (or, to use the proper terminology, “waled”) structure, which is better than most other fabrics, including denim, at trapping heat. For the same reason, it’s also as tough as denim, but a touch softer and therefore cosier. Precisely what we’re looking for this time of year, then.
01. The jacket
Judging by the amount of it packed into this season’s collection, Oliver Spencer’s appreciation of corduroy rivals our own. If the British brand had stuck to traditional parameters – corduroy trousers and shirts – an endless parade of the fabric might have been a bit of a snooze. Instead, it presents several fresh ways to wear it. As part of its effort to redefine tailoring, there were co-ordinating bomber jacket-topped “suits”, as well as folksy pieces such as this faux shearling-lined blazer-cum-jacket, which will keep you extra snug until spring.
02. The print shirt
It’s easy to tap in to the 1970s trend once you know how. If you’re still scratching your head, just imagine your grandmother’s living room and go from there. How helpful, then, that Our Legacy has removed any inkling of doubt from the equation and named this shirt’s delightfully florid pattern Floral Wallpaper. You can have too much of a good thing, however. Avoid retro overload by keeping the rest of your outfit simple with tailored black turn-ups.
03. The wide-leg trousers
Mr George Harrison’s tongue-in-cheek comments about corduroy after being awarded an MBE by the Queen were typical of his acerbic wit. “After all we did for Britain, selling that corduroy and making it swing, all we got was a bit of tin on a piece of leather.” The fabric does indeed lend itself to some out-there styling. We’re not suggesting you follow The Beatles’ lead and go out and get yourself a wardrobe full of bell bottoms, but some bang-on-trend wide-leg trousers are suitably substantial. This pair from Albam are ever so slightly tapered so they won’t swamp the skinny-ankled among you.
04. The chore jacket
There’s joy in the unexpected. It was true when Parasite took home the Oscar for Best Picture and it’s true of fashion. Every man has a jean jacket; few have a graphite-grey chore jacket made from soft wide-waled corduroy. Incotex, the Italian brand responsible for the garment above, is also the type to prioritise practicality on a granular level, hence the multiple pockets and flattering-to-all unstructured silhouette.
05. The pastel shirt
Farrow & Ball has a lot to answer for. Not only are the walls of our homes now awash with soft, dusty tones, but our wardrobes have also been engulfed in a pastel haze. Don’t get us wrong, this is not something to complain about, especially when it comes to corduroy. Much like a film by Mr Wes Anderson, corduroy is at its most nostalgia-inducing when rendered in ice-cream tones. And in this lavender J.Crew shirt, you’ll be walking, talking Instagram bait.
06. The blazer
According to those who know about such things, artist Mr Piet Mondrian was the standard bearer for everything modernism should be. It was only a matter of time before designers returned to his colour-blocking theories to solve our current wardrobe conundrums. Yes, we know Mr Yves Saint Laurent got there first in 1965, but the style world is a cyclical one. Noah’s patchwork blazer somehow makes that whole corduroy-clad geography teacher look fresh and new. If you’re feeling it, the matching trousers would make your professors even prouder.