Essential Cold-Weather Fabrics
As outlined in the first part of our autumn/winter essential fabrics series, if you want to survive a full year in the UK as a stylish gent, you should begin to dress seasonally.
Not only do seasonal pieces ensure comfort – keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer – they also add versatility, durability and excitement to an otherwise repetitive four-season wardrobe.
We’ve already covered tweed and why every man should own an item (or two) in this superb heritage fabric, so now it’s time to move on to something a little different: corduroy.
Corduroy is created by twisting fibres of cotton so that, when woven, they lie parallel to one another. This process forms the material’s distinctive pattern of ribbed cord. The width of the cord is often referred to as the size of the ‘wale’ (or the number of ridges per inch): the lower the wale count, the thicker the width of the wale.
Wale count is extremely important when it comes to making a decision on what type of corduroy you purchase. What some people refer to as modern corduroy (we use that term loosely), ‘needlecord’ or ‘pincord’ (16+) has a finer amount of wales, meaning the cord count is higher, less distinctive and closer together on the fabric. This type of corduroy looks and feels a lot like velvet, giving it a slightly more contemporary aesthetic.
Wider wales make the fabric feel a lot thicker and heavier, with the typical cord count coming in around the ten to twelve mark. Garments made from wider wales can be viewed as more traditional due to the pieces being closely linked to a time when dressing for warmth and practicality trumped slim-fits and being on-trend.
Both wide and thin wale corduroy can be found just about anywhere on the high street these days, so the type you choose is going to come down to personal preference and the sort of look you’re after.
Corduroy Key Pieces
Here are some corduroy pieces that every style-conscious gent should consider adding to his collection:
The Cord Suit
The corduroy suit is one of the most underrated pieces of tailoring that a modern man can own, especially in the winter.
Admittedly, if you get it wrong there can be all kinds of ‘aged professor’ comments being thrown around, but if you stick to a pincord slim-fitting suit in an autumnal colour such as beige, tan, burgundy or olive this shouldn’t be a problem.
You’ll get plenty of compliments and it will effortlessly separate you from the sea of navy, grey and black. Wear it with classic business pieces like solid semi-spread broadcloth shirts, grenadine ties and black/brown brogues for the ultimate country wedding or business-casual look.
The trousers and blazer also work extremely well as separates too.
- J. Crew Ludlow Fielding Suit Jacket In Italian Corduroy
- Jigsaw Cord Slim Tailored Two Button Jacket
- Reiss Pontus B Fine Corduroy Blazer Navy
- Richard James Slim-fit Corduroy Suit Jacket
- J. Crew Ludlow Fielding Suit Trousers In Italian Corduroy
- Jigsaw Corduroy Slim Waist Adjustable Trouser
- Reiss Pontus T Fine Corduroy Trousers Navy
- Richard James Regular-fit Corduroy Suit Trousers
The Cord Shirt
Here at FashionBeans, we’re huge advocates of creative layering, and the shirt-over-shirt technique is one we often encourage for the autumn/winter season.
The key to pulling off this look is choosing a thinner, lightweight design for the under layer, complementing it with a textured and more durable overshirt. This is where a cord shirt really comes into its own.
A navy standard wale version pairs superbly with just about any sort of cold-weather legwear – whether it be selvedge denim, twill chinos or flannel trousers – and due to the cord being thicker and more rugged than your average material, it can be thrown on over everything from a thin cotton dress shirt to your Oxford cloth button-downs.
That said, don’t restrict it to shirt layering only – it works just as well over a Henley, t-shirt or knitted polo.
- Vintage Renewal Pinwell Cord Shirt In Burgundy
- Diesel Darra Shirt Corduroy Western
- Dr. Denim Allan Field Cord Shirt In Navy
- John Lewis Needle Cord Shirt Natural
- Ls Grey Cord Western Shirt
- Folk Panelled Corduroy Shirt
- Jigsaw Soft Cord Slim Long Sleeve Shirt Claret
- Boglioli Corduroy Slim-fit Shirt
- Folk Panelled Corduroy Shirt 215269
The Cord Jacket
If you’re not a fan of layering shirts over shirts, why not consider a corduroy jacket this autumn? Ideal for the transitional season, the cord bomber offers a ready-made alternative to your trusty denim jacket and will slot straight into any casual look.
With this silhouette traditionally coming in rich shades of brown, camel and beige, they look great paired with indigo selvedge denim – offering a rich contrast in colour while complementing their rugged/outdoors nature – as well as other traditional worker wear pieces such as flannel shirts, wool trousers and heavy boots.
Tip: Look for shearling collared versions this year to reinforce the jacket’s blue collar roots while adding an additional texture and on-trend element to the mix.
- Levis Cord Jacket Type 3 Trucker Jacket Fully Lined Sherpa
- Topman Navy Cord Denim Western Jacket
- Allsaints Peak Cord Jacket
- Jigsaw Corduroy Trucker Jacket Camel
- Levis Brown Corduroy Sherpa Lined Trucker Jacket
- Folk Corduroy Jacket
- Pure Cotton Vintage Corduroy Bomber Jacket
- Band Of Outsiders Harrington Corduroy Jacket
- Maison Kitsune Faux Shearling And Corduroy Aviator Jacket
Cord trousers have developed into a must-have piece for the colder months. They’re durable, practical, comfortable and will only get better with age as they develop their own unique characteristics.
Warmer than chinos and more tactile/interesting than jeans, cords can be used in place of these wardrobe staples within any of your current go-to casual ensembles.
That said, a slim-fitting pair in a higher wale count can also be dressed up with ease – try matching with similarly textured pieces such as a chambray shirt, wool blazer and knitted tie for smart-casual events.
If you already own a pair of cords, why not stray from the tried and tested brown/navy versions this year and consider something in a rich seasonally-appropriate hue such as bottle green, burgundy or on-trend orange? Corduroy’s rugged and textured nature allows you to be much more experimental with colour as the material will naturally subdue its effect.
Tip: Cords have a habit of picking up any loose hairs, dust etc. when you sit down, so it’s always a good idea to give your trousers (or any other corduroy piece for that matter) a good going over with a lint roller before stepping out of the house.
- Asos Slim Fit Smart Trousers In Cord
- Allsaints Darwell Cord Cigarette Jeans
- Levis 511 Cords In Bronze Brown
- Allsaints Crain Cord Cigarette Jeans
- Levis 511 Cords In Burnt Olive
- He By Mango Slim-fit 5 Pocket Corduroy Trousers
- John Lewis Laundered Cords Red
- John Lewis & Co. Bentley Needle Cord Trousers Natural
- Michael Bastian Regular-fit Corduroy Trousers
The Cord Waistcoat
Just as with tweed, don’t underestimate the power of a corduroy waistcoat. Buy one in either a neutral hue or earthy tone like brown, olive or camel, and make sure it comes in needlecord for optimum results.
Pair it with worker wear or outdoors-inspired pieces such as selvedge denim, brogue boots, tweed trousers, plaid flannel shirts and slimline cargos to create a wealth of refined looks that ooze masculinity.
This item can also work within your more formal ensembles, especially if contrasted against heritage tailoring. For example, why not try a navy waistcoat with your new tweed blazer or grey flannel suit this season?
Cord accessories can be quite difficult to find, but when you do they will help introduce character and an extra tactile element to any look.
A brown cord flat cap can be worn anywhere and is a great way to separate yourself from the sea of beanies and bobble hats, without having to push your boundaries too far with a fedora.
Alternatively, why not consider a cord snapback? Bringing a traditional twist to a contemporary streetwear staple, we recently advocated adding a heavyweight, autumn/winter-appropriate version to your collection.
More refined dressers should also keep their eyes open for corduroy ties, which will lend any formal look a modern heritage touch, especially with the velvety feel that comes from quality needlecord versions.
Finally, Ted Baker have produced some excellent printed cord scarves this year, which are both on-trend and perfect for tackling the cold.
- Farah Vintage Corduroy 5 Panel Cap
- Mi-pac Premium Cord Backpack In Black
- Pull & Bear Corduroy Bag
- Barbour Cord Flat Cap Olive
- Austin Reed Navy Corduroy Flat Cap
- New & Lingwood Nettleham Vintage Paisley Cotton Corduroy Tie
- Ted Baker Printed Cord Scarf
- Billionaire Boys Club Cord Cap
- Ted Baker Bebar Printed Cord Scarf
Developing a seasonal wardrobe is important. Not only does it ensure comfort, it subtly marks you out as a stylish male who cares about the finer details and understands the importance of dressing appropriately.
Like tweed, cord is a traditional heritage material that can bring a touch of country chic and outdoors ruggedness to any ensemble, which in our eyes makes it a modern must-own.
But as always, we want to hear from you – do you like corduroy or does it remind you of your granddad? Do you prefer a wide or pin wale? Have you even considered corduroy as an option before?
Let us know in the comments section below…