The thinking man's denim jacket, here's how to ensure you always invest in quality cord
A word adapted from the 18th century French term 'corde du roi' (literally meaning cloth of the king), corduroy has had a regal impact on menswear over the last couple of years, lending its soft, durable and very comfortable name to any and every item of clothing, at every price point. One recent, and short-lived, brand even tried to base their entire business on it (RIP The Cords & C0... I want to run to you).
Ironically, considering the etymology of its name, corduroy's roots in the UK are in the mills and factories of Manchester, where working class men were known to wear heavy-duty 'Fustian' jackets. These boxy cord jackets had a low 'wale' – that means the number of ridges per inch: finer cords have a higher wale, heavier cord is lower – and can be still be seen today (although, in 2020 it's more likely to be worn by a guy at an ad agency, with nary a callous in sight).
So what should you look for when it comes to picking out good cor-du-roy? "It should be zip-through, boxy, a casual twist on a formal style," says Carin Nakanishi, head of Notting Hill's Garbstore. "There should be a nice shine to the fabric and around six to eight wales per inch," adds Will Green, content creative producer at Albam. "And regular to loose fitting. You can’t beat a corduroy casual blazer."
Another boon of the cord trend is that, when it comes to your trouser situation, there's plenty of room for manoeuvre. Green prefers a fabric with "contrasting texture and colour – maybe a pair of bleached denim jeans." If you're are going to do double-cord, then commit and match up. "Cord suits are great, but I’d probably opt for a finer wale." Nakanishi agrees. "A co-ord for a spring wedding is always a good idea."
Much to consider, then. But now you're armed with the knowledge of how to wear it, we've picked out some of the best corduroy jackets that a (very stylish) man can buy in 2020. We're talking everything from thick wale to thin wale via er, medium wale, at every price point from fancy to affordable and that sweet, sweet spot in-between.