Getting Cooler so Corduroy is in Order
September 12, 2017 3:59 PM   Subscribe

We recently did seersucker but cooler weather means it's time for corduroy. There's seems to be a resurgence of corduroy, which has happened many times before. Lots of info on its history, beginning in ancient Egypt.
posted by MovableBookLady (41 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Every few years I try to get some corduroy pants, and every few years I give up on them because I don't know how to wash and dry them without them coming out with permanent wrinkles or covered in cat hair.
posted by thecjm at 4:05 PM on September 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

My corduroy sport coat is so perfectly typical of who I am and what I do for a living that I never, ever wear it. A stranger can take one look at me in that corduroy jacket and know everything there is to know about me. It's pathetic.
posted by Modest House at 4:12 PM on September 12, 2017 [17 favorites]

Corduroy is one of those things that makes cool people even cooler and the rest of us looking like we have been shunned by society. I don't need a fashion trend to give away that vibe.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:15 PM on September 12, 2017 [16 favorites]

To me, Corduroy is German hikers in the Alps with felt hats and leather rucksacks. So, cool.
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:19 PM on September 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have no need of a fabric that sparks fire from my thighs with every step. I'm already dangerously hot.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:21 PM on September 12, 2017 [11 favorites]

Does your corduroy sport coat have elbow patches, Modest House?
posted by cazoo at 4:22 PM on September 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

It's always bothered me, though, that most corduroy pants I try fit smaller than all my other pants.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:31 PM on September 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Corduroy Pillows! They're making headlines!
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:43 PM on September 12, 2017 [23 favorites]

I have a pair of green corduroy pants I wear with a cardigan and tweed coat and I look like damn fool and I love it.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:43 PM on September 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

Bengaline, bird's eye, covert, crash, maline, nainsook, pongee, surah (1946 sewing manual); tobralco, marocain, ninon (1935); scuba, cady (current).

Just, you know, for everyone who likes thinking about cloth.
posted by clew at 5:01 PM on September 12, 2017 [11 favorites]

Thank you for this article - I will post this on November 11th, along with my annual "Happy Corduroy Appreciation Day" message on Facebook.
posted by lyssabee at 5:06 PM on September 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

I wanted corduroy curtains for my house but if the wales were to run vertical, it would be too expensive. But now it's becoming fashionable I'm not sure anymore I want it...
posted by Laotic at 5:18 PM on September 12, 2017

My one abiding faith above all lesser hopes and dreams is that I will one day find a pair of rust-colored wide-wale corduroy trousers in a size and cut that suits me.

Until that day, I will never be complete.
posted by sonascope at 5:27 PM on September 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Corduroy Appreciation Club founder Miles Rohan lives behind me and I can confirm that he is never without some article of corduroy clothing, whether it be jacket, tie or even sometimes shoes. If you go to his Wales Corduroy Instagram page you will see me enjoying a pint of stout in one of his jackets and feeling rather smarter than usual.
posted by bassomatic at 5:51 PM on September 12, 2017 [5 favorites]

I once, in a fit of wale madness, acquired corduroy knickers. I managed to wear them in public once.
posted by MovableBookLady at 6:09 PM on September 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

I love love love corduroy pants. They're perfect in the fall.
posted by Stewriffic at 6:10 PM on September 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I can't do corduroy pants, but I have a corduroy sportcoat that I love. Or used to, when I wore sportcoats more often. Living in Florida for a few years cured me of that habit, even though I'm back in colder climes these days.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:47 PM on September 12, 2017

"I need to get me some god damn corduroy" is a thing I said out loud when I started reading this. Corduroy is fall to me, and like all quality people, fall is my favorite season.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:00 PM on September 12, 2017 [7 favorites]

I suggest the tag "fwipfwipfwipfwip"
posted by Countess Elena at 7:00 PM on September 12, 2017 [28 favorites]

I am sad to say that I could find no satisfying YouTube videos of how corduroy is made.
posted by xxyyxxzz at 7:02 PM on September 12, 2017

I have several yards, each, of a variety of lovely corduroy in my fabric stash. I can never decide how to use it!
posted by crush at 7:30 PM on September 12, 2017

I have finally found the pair of corduroy pants that can be washed without ending up looking like I don't know how to do laundry. Every pair I'd tried before this pair was a total failure in this regard (and many also in fit). Thankfully I don't generally pay more than $4 for a pair of pants so it's not too heartbreaking when they're bad. The bad news is that buying clothes second hand makes them harder to duplicate.

My green corduroy blazer....I like it a lot and it's one of the things that makes winter approachable for me. The blazer alternates with another light jacket gets me well into fall, shivering all the way but telling myself that this will make my winter coat effective once it's actually cold. Because you see, 65 degrees is not actually cold. And 50 is pushing it in terms of "serious coat weather."
posted by bilabial at 8:13 PM on September 12, 2017

Came for the "headlines" joke, left satisfied.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:26 PM on September 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

I really like corduroy, but it no longer likes me. I'm allergic to the formaldehyde resin often used to help the weft-pile construction hold its shape.
posted by limeonaire at 9:29 PM on September 12, 2017

This animation eventually gets around to showing the interlacement for the corduroy pile. Search terms that might be helpful are: cut pile weave/weaving. Terrycloth is a looped pile fabric (generally without the stripy part, but pretty similar. Velvet and velveteen are other cut pile weaves that have some features in common with the process and structure of corduroy, and there are more videos.
posted by janell at 10:18 PM on September 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I like the way corduroy trousers look (though the idea of corduroy knickers, as mentioned above, is a bit odd). But the ones I've owned always went quickly from soft and nice when new to stiff as a board after a few washes. Maybe I'm a clothes washing idiot who doesn't know how to wash clothes correctly, or maybe I've only bought cheap and crappy corduroy. but it has been consistent every time and makes me reluctant to ever buy them again.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:39 AM on September 13, 2017

My perfect outfit is a pair of corduroys and a long sleeved t-shirt. I can't wait for fall to really set in here in Minnesota (90 degrees today, wtf) so I can get into my beloved Autumnal Wardrobe.
posted by Elly Vortex at 6:37 AM on September 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

This seventies child is suddenly nostalgic for a much loved pair of pink corduroy hot pants that I'd wear with a white peter pan collar and cork wedges. ♫ Memories...

If this season's fashions include a cord pinafore dress I'm going to treat myself to a brightly colored one and wear it to death for years to come.
posted by humph at 6:42 AM on September 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

I grew up in New England. Of course I've worn corduroy. Although these days I own blazers instead of pants. (Although my fashionista niece turned up her nose at it when I wore it to family Thanksgiving one year; but she was five so whatever.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:47 AM on September 13, 2017

I thought I looked pretty damn good on basketball game days in 7th grade (1983) all dressed up with grey flat front pin wale cords, a freshly-ironed pink oxford button down, and Stan Smiths.

Indeed, that might have been the best I ever looked, minus the orthodontic headgear.
posted by Caxton1476 at 7:18 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

lyssabee, you just made my day. I'm glad to hear others celebrate Corduroy Day. Most of my friends think I'm weird, but it's one of the highlights of my calendar (along with Pi Day in the spring).

posted by kevinbelt at 7:25 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Caxton1476 - Stan Smiths and cords and 1983 brings back some memories. I was right there with ya. Though I had a strangely tight Lacoste polo up top.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 7:35 AM on September 13, 2017

Mah granpappy allus called corduroy pants "whistlebritches". Yup.
posted by The otter lady at 8:13 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


Pro tip, go to J.C. Penny. Cheaper, they typically have corduroy much the same as they did when you wore it as a kid, and they even have pants with hidden stretchy wastes that help the pudgy among us feel super comfortable.

There is just nothing better than a pair of comfortably fitting corduroy pants on a cool day. It's like wearing business casual pajamas.
posted by Muddler at 8:41 AM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have corduroy shoes, they are the best thing.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 3:36 PM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I loved being a teen in the 90s in part because the grunge and alternative styles tilted so heavily toward what my mom called "old man clothes" that could be easily and cheaply cobbled together from charity shops and garage sales. Mom didn't have to worry about my wanting new stuff from the Gap or Eddie Bauer--she could take me to two garage sales and have me dressed for the year for less than ten bucks. I had a lot of corduroy, and I've held on to a virtually threadbare pair of low pile blue corduroy pants I pilfered from my dad's closet early in my then-new obsession with ugly old people clothes.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:49 PM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

(though the idea of corduroy knickers, as mentioned above, is a bit odd).

The wales help prevent them getting in a twist.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:13 PM on September 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

The knickers were odd. I don't know what I was thinking.
posted by MovableBookLady at 9:37 AM on September 14, 2017

I assume by 'knickers' you mean long-length short kind of things, kind of like golfing plus-fours, rather than underpants?
If so I am astonished and happy to find another ex-owner of this deeply odd fashion item! I had two, bought in the very early eighties for me by my mum, who thought they were quite the thing. One pair in moss green and one in electric blue with gold buckles below the knee. Extraordinary.

I used to have a couple of great short skirts in needlecord. The wale gives them a nice structure.
posted by tardigrade at 12:05 PM on September 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I saw an extremely stylish guy in knickers the other day -- or possibly plus-fours or knee breeches. And a top-bun and black socks and combat boots. My sweetie and I were both agog with delight and, like, taxonomically challenged by the pants. (Not corduroy, but it's still warm here.)
posted by clew at 1:01 PM on September 14, 2017

Any corduroy I wear (and these days it's cute mini skirts to go with patterned tights and knee-high boots during autumn and winter) must be super thin-waled. I cannot abide wide-waled cords. Looks lumpy.

For many years I wouldn't wear corduroy at all because it reminded me of having to wear my male cousin's hand-me-downs from Penney's, and ugh. We were definitely built BOY and GIRL, and his old cord jeans didn't look good on me at all, even if I thought they were made from the "fabric of the king". Which I now know is wrong!
posted by droplet at 1:21 PM on September 14, 2017

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