Contrary to popular belief, corduroy did not originate in some stuffy collegiate poetry department back in the 1970s. The wavy textile actually traces all the way back to fustian, a heavy, woven fabric invented in Ancient Egypt. Over time, it made its way to Western Europe and became much sought-after amongst nobles and merchants. But it wasn’t until the late 18th century that the ribbed corduroy we know and love today emerged in England.
Since then, this menswear staple’s soft texture, warmth and durability won over students, beatniks and workers alike. Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about this timeless textile.
What’s corduroy made of?
Corduroy is a ridged fabric, usually cotton, made up of pile-cut yarn that’s been woven and cut into cords, or wales. These tufted cords give the textile a fuzzy handfeel that’s perfect for fall and winter.
What are wales and why do I care?
Wales are the vertical ribs that give corduroy the unique texture its known for. Corduroys with wider wales are sturdier and great for pants, blazers and overalls, while finer wales are especially flattering on shirts and jackets.
What’s a good cord for someone who usually wears jeans?
We’re glad you asked — we make a few of our most popular denim fits in corduroy. For a familiar silhouette, try our Ribcage Straight Ankle Jean, Ribcage Wide Leg Jean and 502™ Taper Fit Pants. To branch out, check out our Wide Leg Pleated Corduroy Pants or our Taper Trouser.
Do I have to dress up when wearing corduroy?
Nope. In fact, we’re all about wearing corduroy with more casual pieces. Try wearing your cords with an oversized hoodie and some sneakers for a modern streetwear look.
How can I style printed corduroy?
Balance bold, printed cords with black and white essentials, or take this look to the next level with refined pieces like heeled leather boots or a polished belt.
What should I wear with a corduroy jacket?
With its classic construction, our Sherpa Trucker Jacket looks sharp with pretty much everything in your closet. That said, we think it goes especially well with tapered jeans and a fleece hoodie.
How should I care for my cords?
When it comes to caring for corduroy, the most important thing you can do is to wash garments inside out. This will prevent the ribbed side from getting matted and reduce fading. Other maintenance will vary by garment, so be sure to check the care label for specific instructions.
We’ve been champions of denim from the very start, but we’ll always have a special place in our hearts for cords. For more ideas on how to wear corduroy, check out these style tips.