I recently came across a corduroy suit by Benetton, which instantly replaced all my nostalgia for summer with full fall-dressing glee. I've been a corduroy enthusiast ever since this one unlined jacket I owned from Abercrombie Kids in the third grade, which I thoroughly adored. Corduroy is a marker of the season since, unlike denim, it feels specific to cold weather. When you pull corduroy out, it breaks the seal of burning firewood and hot beverages for the next few months.
Corduroy has a delightful texture of thick, ribbed velvet. I prefer a wide wale—when the ribbing is thicker—because it has even more texture to it, and it sort of adds a patterned element to an outfit. Technically a workwear material (worn in the military), corduroy is durable and warm. And it's so versatile and easy to dress up or down. For example: A pair of corduroy trousers would work well with heels and a silk blouse, but also sneakers and a tee.
Like denim, corduroy will last you season after season, especially when made from natural materials like the traditional wool or more modernly common cotton. Ahead, see some of our favorite pieces to get you started on your corduroy outfit research and help illustrate why I love this seasonal material so darn much.
The Corduroy Suit
This suit from Benetton, referenced above, looks like a two-piece version of fall. The texture in this set makes it far more interesting than a solid wool suit. The wide wale makes a statement, and the shape of both pieces is perfect: the blazer is boxy in the shoulders and double-breasted, while the trousers are front-pleated with wide legs. It comes in a chocolatey brown, creamy vanilla, mossy military green, or extremely swanky-chic black. Have I sold you yet?
I also love this one from Officine Générale, which features slimmer, full-length trousers and a classic single-breasted blazer in a light peachy-beige.
If a full corduroy suit is a bit too much (I get it—it’s a lot to commit to), try some trousers as the center of your corduroy outfit—I love pairs that are wide leg with a wide wale. Corduroy tends to be softer than denim, too, meaning ultimate all-day comfort.
If you'd rather build a corduroy outfit around the top half, you can't go wrong with a jacket. I love a corduroy trucker jacket, and Pyer Moss offers a rich red version (which also comes in black) that features faux shearling lining and cool contrast stitching. I would wear it oversized (it’s unisex sizing) with a pair of tan trousers and loafers.
Speaking of jackets, I also fancy this blazer jacket from The Kooples, and a menswear style I’d wear oversized from Alex Mill (I have a thing for olive green). Tach's ruffled, quilted option looks cozy (and has matching pants). And I would be remiss if I didn’t point you in the direction of vintage corduroy jackets. I myself have a chocolate wide-wale corduroy blazer (fully lined for extra warmth), and it’s one of my most prized fall items. Taking it out from its summer hiding place truly christens the new season for me.
An Everyday Shirt Jacket
We're loving a shacket these days—they’re cool, casual, and the perfect top layer for warmer fall days. My main criteria is it has to be oversized in case I want to wear it over a sweater, ideally has some sort of pockets, and the wider the wale, the better. I want mine to not look like any old shirt, and to shout corduroy even from far away. I want the people to know—and they certainly will with options like Samsøe Samsøe's canary yellow number and this long, dark style from Remain, which could even work as a shirt dress for some. I'd style any of these corduroy shirt jackets with stirrup leggings and ballet flats for a slight '80s vibe.
I don’t know how familiar you are with my dressing ethos, but I wear shorts year-round. One of my favorite looks for fall is a long, A-line pair of shorts with tall boots, as I think the balance between the two is interesting and so fun. Try a pair in deep navy or salmon, or go the Etsy route for a handmade piece that feels truly unique.
Corduroy Skirt Statement
I love the idea of a corduroy skirt because skirts can be so whimsical, yet corduroy is a utilitarian material that creates the perfect contrast between style and shape. Much like the trousers, the below skirt from Ami Paris has the perfect wide wale. Alternatively, embrace Ralph Lauren-esque Americana with a longer style, ideally paired with a chambray shirt, flannel, or fisherman sweater. Ciao Lucia’s bright blue mini is so fun and makes corduroy fresh and modern, and Madewell has a sweet quilted style with fancy little button details—certainly appropriate for the sooner-than-you-think holiday celebrations looming.
Like a skirt, a corduroy blouse creates an unexpected aesthetic. Using a workwear material like corduroy and smacking it on a blouse makes these blouses casual enough to wear everyday but also still dressy (corduroy is, after all, a form of velvet).
Dress It Up
Speaking of dressing up, Macgraw's pale pink corduroy mini dress caught my eye and I had to share because while pricey, the details are incredible. Just imagine it with a pair of opaque tights and Mary Janes—what's not to love?
I guess I’m a fan of pink corduroy dresses because I then came upon an adorable midi style featuring an oversized ruffle-edged collar. For something more classic, try a belted midi. And when I think of corduroy dresses, I think of jumpers, which are adorable paired with a ruffly blouse underneath. On the other end of the spectrum, corduroy outfits for a night out are a definite option.
I love a winter white—perhaps the only thing about winter that I love—and fuzzy white corduroy is the perfect version of it. Pants are one of the best ways to try this look, and look especially great with a wide leg and an equally wide wale. With elegant tailoring and a comfortable feel, you really can't go wrong. You might also want to try corduroy pants with frayed seams, a straight leg silhouette, or even jeans.
The pairing options are endless, whether you create a monochromatic look with a chunky white sweater and pearls, contrast with a black turtleneck and boots, or commit to the textural statement with a matching corduroy shirt. Last but not least, try a white corduroy wrap top for festive occasions—I envision this with a bunch of silver chains around the neck and some black cigarette trousers, worn to a holiday party.
Try out just a hint of corduroy with accessories. From bucket hats to designer bags, I envision any of these could pair well with a chunky sweater, which for me is corduroy’s natural pairing. Now that’s a cozy fall look.