Everybody loves a cord — now more than ever. In recent years, this reliably ridged, statement-making fustian fabric has made something of a comeback; graduating from the wardrobes of university professors and geography teachers and wending its tufted velvety way into mainstream fashion.
In the Gentleman’s Journal offices alone, we count overshirts, ordinary shirts, trousers, blazers and even baseball caps among our corduroy collections — with a slightly questionable pair of cord loafers even shuffling into our orbit.
But, still sadly overlooked, is the corduroy suit. With its tough, stiff composition and insulating properties, there are few materials more suited to suiting — especially in autumn. So why do we see so few corduroy suits striding down the street? Why the dearth of these durable wintry threads? Our guess is as good as yours. But here are three reasons you should be considering a corduroy suit this year — along with the best to buy…
It’s a low maintenance material — and easy to clean
If there’s one downside of the classic silk suit, it’s how much it can crinkle and crease. And don’t even get us started on summer linens. But, come autumn, corduroy offers a practical alternative. Because of the fabric’s strong ridges — a result of channels between the tufted cords that expose the base fabric — it is stiffer than other suiting materials. This means that it needs ironing or pressing less, and keeps a smooth shape no matter how ruffled or rumpled you may get.
Corduroy is also fantastically easy to keep clean. If you’re unlucky enough to slosh some wintry mulled wine on your jacket, or drip a drop of mocha on your trousers, you can dab at the fabric without fear. Because, although the material may be a notorious dust and fluff magnet — better keep your lint roller close to hand — actual stains should prove easy to expunge.
Paul Smith Cotton-Corduroy Suit
Thom Sweeney Taupe Corduroy Suit
Oliver Spencer Green Corduroy Suit
There are few more durable fabrics for a suit
Most of corduroy’s benefits stem from its unerring durability. Rugged and reliable to the last, a corduroy suit may look refined (and it really does – that stiff warp and weft will keep the cut of your suit for years) but it will also take almost anything the autumn weather can throw at it.
Often, this strength is a result of the cotton being woven in with nylon or polyester. But, even if you opt for a solely cotton corduroy, it’ll still be the strongest suit you own. This strength increases with the ‘wale’ of your fabric — the number of ridges per inch. The wider your wale, the stronger your suit will be — and the more striking it will look when you wear it.
Salle Privée Corduroy Suit
Officine Générale Corduroy Suit
Maison Margiela Corduroy Suit
A ridged, rugged suit is the perfect blend of fashion and function
There’s something about a textured fabric, such as corduroy, that lends itself to subtler, more autumn-appropriate colours. From navy to khaki, mustard to maroon, this rugged, ridged material presents the perfect balance of fashion and function — and nothing will make as striking a statement as a whole suit crafted from the fabric.
When it comes to colours, you can push the envelope a little further than you would with your other suits. Go brighter without being bright. Try colours that you’d usually reserve for your socks or jumpers. Even opt for a tuxedo in corduroy if you’re feeling daring. And, whatever you do, remember to dress down your shoes and shirt; that singular, standout suit will do all the talking your autumn outfit needs.
Clements and Church Grey Corduroy Suit
Richard James Slim-Fit Corduroy Suit
Ralph Lauren Corduroy Tuxedo
Want to add even more warmth to your suiting set-up? Here’s how to style the classic turtleneck with a suit…