Librarians, look out: fashion is coming for your cords
Yes, indeed, but the edgy new options are a far cry from the 1970s Open University professor look
Ginger, burgundy and saffron are the ultimate shades to acquaint yourself with
Corduroy, according to US Vogue, has been making a serious comeback since 2015. Weirdly though, there’s been very little of it about. Then again, it’s taken the jumpsuit a full decade to go from reportedly ‘making a serious comeback’ to actually making one.
If you’re late to the jumpsuit party and fretting that maybe you’ve left it too late, I say, move on and focus on corduroy. Even if cord doesn’t make a serious comeback, it’s still a great ally. Why? Because it’s so damn versatile.
Cord has so often been overlooked since it was last a serious fashion thing in the 1970s. Thanks to Woody Allen, academics and men with hair billowing free-form out of their nostrils, it has suffered from egg-stains-on-tie association. It is not chic. It is not groomed. It is a sartorial placard that says, ‘I am an intellectual. I haven’t looked at a fashion magazine since I accidentally bought a copy of Italian Vogue thinking it was Hustler.’
Except now corduroy can be as sleek as you please. It lends itself to both constructed and casual looks. This winter Prada, Miu Miu, Victoria Beckham and Balenciaga have all done fancy permutations, some with leather trim, lots of it tailored and worn as a suit (Saint Laurent’s delicious cord blazer has just about sold out already) and all of it in gorgeously rich hues. Because the other thing about cord is that, like velvet, it takes colour beautifully. However, unlike velvet, it is robust. It will wear down eventually, but in a more chic than shabby way.
I like fine rather than wide wales (ridges). The effect’s more flattering and supple, but taller types can probably get away with either. Ginger, burgundy and saffron are the ultimate shades to acquaint yourself with. They will look stupendous with navy, grey or black sweaters. As it happens, there’s a photo from the 1990s of Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy in just such a combo. She looks so timeless and fabulous you can’t think why corduroy ever fell into the clutches of Woody and co.