Corduroy Comeback: How to Style Corduroy

By:Lynda Castonguay

There has been a resurgence of interest in corduroy lately and as the younglings would say, I am here for it.

You would be hard pressed to find someone, except maybe the younglings I just mentioned, for whom corduroy does not conjure up images of the 70’s, or that one professor who hasn’t updated their closet in a while.

By its very nature of being a durable fabric, corduroy has endured the test of time having been around for centuries.  It became symbolic of the 70’s, and has been sleepily hanging out in the shadows ever since.  Corduroy has found its place once again in the closets of another generation; now being recompensed for its years of neglect.

Corduroy is homely and reminiscent, and no matter how much you modernize it,

a garment fabricated from it gives both the impression of youthfulness and maturity.  That’s its magic.

Not all corduroy is made equal, and knowing this may help you incorporate it into your wardrobe. The width of the cord is often referred to as the “wale”; the wider the wale the more rigid the look; the thinner the wale, the softer the look.

As a way to ease into corduroy, stick with one piece at a time.  Either your bodice or your bottom.  Pick one and then counteract the added texture with something a little more refined for the other.

Rule of thumb is the more real estate the corduroy is covering, the finer the wale should be.  If you are going to sport it head to toe, like a suit, err on the side of pin or needlecord.  To look sharp, you should abide by this.  Fine wale corduroy can help achieve a remarkable velvety look.

As is the case with most rules, there is an exception: outerwear.  A jumbo cord for a long coat is admirable; because it isn’t your primary look, it’s not as cumbersome and does not weigh you down.

From the streets of Paris, of which I was just roaming last week, to the likes of high-end, mid-market, and affordable retail brands, corduroy is on the streets and the shelves in abundance.  Here are some #ootd/#ootn inspirations should you find yourself gravitating towards the tufted cord.  And remember, it’s not the size of the wale that matters; it’s what you do with it that counts.


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