I have two main adult memories of corduroy, both from the early-2000s. The first is a pair of Sass & Bide low-slung, tan, bootcut jean-pants that I wore endlessly with halter-neck racer-tops from Kookai (and, on special occasions, also with a sparkly fringed scarf tied around my waist. Kewl). The second is a pair of shapeless trousers that were readily repped by my friend’s then-boyfriend. They were the thick, brown kind of corduroy, in a boxy cut that I’m pretty sure he wore with a matching jacket and workman boots. It was the kind of aggressive corduroy set that was questionable at the time but has now landed itself, quite surprisingly, in major trend territory.
Can we blame Justin Bieber and his culty street label Drew House for corduroy’s re-uprising? Or has it simply been simmering away since its origins on Ali McGraw and Jane Birkin in the 70s, waiting for its next inevitable turn on the redux, recycle roundabout? Or is it an ode to Dustin Hoffman’s dishevelled schoolboy in 1968’s The Graduate? Or more recently Bradley Cooper’s 70s homage costuming in American Hustle? Whatever the reason, the fabric voted ‘least likely to be chic ever again’ at its graduation in 2001 has crushed haters and found itself with peak levels of sort-after-factor once again.
On the runway (menswear and womenswear) for autumn winter ‘19, this distinct ‘corded’ cotton textile was ordered by the tonne by designers (Stella McCartney, Kate Spade, Telfar, Anna Sui, Ulla Johnson) and worn just as incessantly by the cool kids on the streets outside. Its appeal has a dash of irony, yes, but its look is specifically captivating. Captivating and encompassing. It seems this season’s recommended dose of corduroy for any one outfit is 100%. Head-to-toe commitments in gelato’s, brights, suits, tunics, shirting, heck even shoes. This fabric has been given headline billing and though it goes against every grain of my hip-bone-baring cord-trouser memory, I’m totally and utterly sold (again).
To do the ‘roy in 2019 is to wear it oversized, or as a matching suit, or even as a pair of hero trousers (dammit that I binned my Bides long ago). And despite all the fashion-photographic evidence that corduroy is worthy of a revisit, it wasn’t until I popped on an oversized men’s cream, lightweight cord shirt from Assembly Label the other day, that my been-there-done-that hindsight was humbly shot down…
So, here’s to a winter wrapped in the fabric famed by horse-riding folk of the English countryside circa ages ago and perpetuated by the most 70s of 70s trendsetters in the 70s. It’s back, it’s thick, it’s warm, it’s chic. I’m just not sure if sparkly waist-pashminas are back too. If they are, you read it here first.
Michael Lo Sordo wide leg pants, $516, from net-a-porter, shop now
Bassike cord relaxed pant, $420, SHOP NOW
Frame cotton corduroy blazer, $764, from net-a-porter, SHOP NOW
Albus Lumen ‘Issa’ bucket hat, $290, from My Chameleon, SHOP NOW
Isabel Marant Etoile ‘Corsy’ trousers, $478, from Shopbop, SHOP NOW
Assembly Label ‘Maicy’ jacket, $100, SHOP NOW
Loeffler Randall ‘cooper’ ankle boots, $590, from Net-a-porter, SHOP NOW
Billabong ‘old soul’ pants, $99.99, SHOP NOW
Blank Denim mini skirt, $48, from SHopbop, SHOP NOW