The origins of corduroy are somewhat shrouded in mystery. Was “cord du roi” really, as some would have us believe, a velvety cloth only permitted to be worn by French kings? Or is its lineage more down to earth, with this durable textile probably originating in industrial towns where workers required a cloth that would stand up to the rigours of a hard day’s graft? Who knows? But whichever tale you choose to swallow, what isn’t in doubt is that this long-lasting fabric has stood the test of time.
The ridges that give cord its characteristic feel are called wales, coming in various degrees of thickness such as needle and jumbo. As its name suggests, needlecord is the thinner and more flattering of the two and should therefore be your go-to when it comes to including cord on your latest shopping list.
Wearing cord on a daily basis is a cinch. A needlecord shirt is a welcome alternative to your standard cotton variety and this season you’ll find them in an array of rich tones such as teal and burgundy. Wear yours over a tonal fine knit roll-neck to add a little old-school Hollywood style to your usual day-to-day attire.
You could also add extra juice to your look by opting for an earthy-toned cord shirt instead of a neutral one, worn over a crisp white t-shirt. Either way, it’s worth pointing out that the cord shirt is as useful a mid-layer as they come, so top marks for nailing the layering conundrum without even having to think about it.
If you stick to needlecord, which will keep your overall silhouette slim, then yes. In fact, the cord suit has the little-known reputation of being a bit of a go-getter when it comes to tailoring; it hits that sweet spot between dressing up and down, working its magic in almost every scenario. And expect to receive a standing ovation for being at the top of your fashion game if your said suit is double-breasted.
No problem. Wear the jacket with a pair of jeans and T-shirt for those tricky smart/casual events you’ve been coerced into, and treat the trousers as you would your fanciest pair of black denim jeans. Whatever concoction you decide upon, for footwear a pair of either Chelsea boots or Derbys will work for both.
With cord already having proved its métier when it comes to longevity, if you’re canny you’ll be wearing it for a long time to come. And because it’s having a renaissance of sorts right now, there’s a good chance you’ll end up believing that corduroy is indeed fit for a king.