Corduroy: The Fall Season’s Coziest Trend

The best men’s corduroy pieces, how to wear them, and a look back at the fabric’s iconic story
October 7, 2018Words by Jon Gugala

Admittedly, there have been some bad looks for corduroy — dusty college professors, Woody Allen, and basically all of the ‘70s (talkin’ three-piece suits). But it wasn’t all bad — style icon Paul Newman knew how to rock a corduroy jacket — and corduroy is taking back the reins this fall. From corduroy pants to corduroy shirts and shoes, the cozy fabric adds style, comfort, and warmth to the modern man’s wardrobe.

Woody Allen and Paul Newman in corduroy
Photo: The Rake

Developed before the birth of Christ, corduroy traces its history to ancient Egypt, but its discovery during the Italian renaissance cemented it in the West. While its rumored etymology — literally “corde du roi,” or “cloth of the king” — might be puzzling today, look no further for an explanation than the back of British monarch King Henry VIII, who famously favored it. As the Industrial Revolution gathered steam, it became the 19th-century workman’s de facto uniform, and it was later adopted by the Beat counterculture of the ‘50s.

Jack Kerouac in corduroy
Photo: Sixteen

Few fabrics have lasted so long, so what’s the reason for corduroy’s 2,000-year popularity? First, there’s the warmth. The wales — or individual raised parts of the fabric — hold in heat, making corduroy the perfect fabric for drafty English castles and stiff fall breezes. And then there’s the softness: Cotton teased into “cords” reduces friction, adds flex, and creates a fabric that has visual depth from first glance. By incorporating it into pieces beyond the basic pants, you add new life to old staples.

Sure, there have been crimes committed against corduroy, but with the season changing and the right pieces, it’s time to reinvent it as the ultimate shoulder-season menswear fabric. We’ve got a few of our favorites below.   
 



Iron and Resin: Rambler Jacket
 

Iron and Resin Rambler Jacket

The trucker jacket’s standard fabric is denim, which is why we love Iron and Resin’s fresh spin on an old standard. The Rambler Jacket sources a fine-waled corduroy as its base. This Huckberry exclusive corduroy jacket isn’t found anywhere else.


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Portuguese Flannel: Fecho Corduroy


Portuguese Flannel Fecho Corduroy Zip Shirt Jacket

With a cut similar to your favorite windbreaker, Portuguese Flannel replaced the ripstop with a wide-waled corduroy for its Fecho Corduroy. The result is a corduroy shirt jacket that both blocks winds and add some insulation. The long zipper closure on the placket was much appreciated over usual buttons.


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Portuguese Flannel: Lobo


Portuguese Flannel Lobo Button Down Corduroy Shirt

Trading in our go-to flannel was an easy choice when we felt the Portuguese Flannel Lobo button-down corduroy shirt. This corduroy shirt easily matches your thicker button-downs in warmth, and the soft corduroy fabric felt super nice against our skin. The Oxford-style collar buttons make this just dressed-up enough wear to the office.


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Adam Mar: Corduroy Peace Pant - Exclusive


Adam Mar Peace Pant

It’s so easy to get the cut wrong in corduroy pants. That’s why Adam Mar’s Corduroy Peace Pant is so right. The slim leg helps give the thick corduroy fabric shape, while a generous rise and an elastic waistband reinforce the corduroy pants’ mobility-friendly workman’s roots. Leave it to a Montauk, New York, clothier to design the pair of men’s corduroy pants we’d want to wear to the beach to slip back on after a long surf session.


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SeaVees: Cordies Legend Sneaker


SeaVees Cordies Legend Sneaker

SeaVees may be known for pioneering the quintessential California cool, but its Cordies Legend Sneaker would look completely at home among Eastern Ivy. Trading in its default canvas for autumnal corduroy, this corduroy shoe is ready for the changing weather. Bonus: Its perforated, custom-contoured footbed kept our toes dry and odor-free.


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SeaVees: Cordies Hawthorne Slip On 
 

SeaVees Cordies Hawthorne Slip On

While corduroy often makes the buttoned-up more relaxed, we love how the fabric actually dresses up the classic silhouette of the Cordies Hawthorne Slip On. The style, which SeaVees traces back to the ‘60s, gets a decidedly modern update thanks to a signature herringbone outsole for grip and soft cotton lining. We loved this corduroy shoe’s dress-up-or-down versatility.

 

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SeaVees: Legend – Cordies Varsity


SeaVees Legend Cordies Varsity

SeaVees makes a damn good classic tennis shoe, but adding corduroy fabric to the Legend - Cordies Varsity takes this staple to the next level. Small details like the brushed-nickel eyelets, waxed laces, and blue piping around the welt further separate this corduroy shoe from its peers. This is your relaxed athletic shoe that doesn’t scream “gymnasium.”


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>>Next: Huaraches Through the Decades: The Ultimate Adventure Shoe
 


 

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