A few years ago, had you wanted to let the world know you were a geography teacher, a good jumping-off point would have been to invest in some corduroy. This rippled fabric has had a rocky relationship with menswear in the past, but today the way it’s viewed from a style standpoint is changing.

What was once a hallmark of the clinically uncool is now a calling card of the style-savvy, particularly when worn in outerwear form. To don a corduroy jacket proudly is to master textural dressing.

The corduroy jacket is a modern-day wardrobe hero. Tactile, stylish and just the right amount of offbeat, it provides a great way to add depth to an otherwise unassuming ensemble. It’s our opinion that no man should be without one of them in their layering rotation, so allow us to provide you with all the information you need before you take the plunge.

Corduroy Jacket Buying Considerations

Fit

First things first: if a jacket doesn’t fit like a glove, everything else is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how much you spend or whose name is stitched into the collar, if this part isn’t perfect it will all be for nothing. Length and cut will depend largely on the style of jacket (see below), but the arm seams should always sit at the edge of the shoulders and you should be able to comfortably button or zip it up without breathing in. If in doubt, pay your local tailor a visit.

Colour

The temptation with corduroy is to stick to earthy and autumnal shades. While there’s nothing wrong with this – cord does work very nicely in browns and greens – it’s sometimes nice to step away from the norm. Try using corduroy as another way to make a statement piece pop. Yellow, red and royal blue can all look great when integrated into a pared-back outfit. Or, if in doubt, stick to navy, black and grey for ultimate versatility.

Lining

Thin, unlined corduroy classics like trucker jackets and overshirts make for fantastic transitional layering pieces. However, when the weather requires something a little more substantial, you may want to consider a bit more bulk. Think about how you want to use this jacket. Will it function as an outer layer? Or would you rather have the option of stacking other garments on top of it? These questions will determine whether you pick a winter-ready jacket with an insulating lining or without.

Style

The most important consideration to make after fit is style. There are numerous types of corduroy outerwear to choose from, from cropped and boxy to long and knee-grazing. Again, think about how you’ll be wearing your corduroy jacket and the end look you want to achieve. Some silhouettes are more versatile than others, too, so if cost-per-wear is a big selling point for you then a good all-rounder like a cord overshirt might be the best option.

5 Key Corduroy Jacket Styles

So, you’re convinced you need to add some corduroy to your wardrobe this season, but which type of jacket is right for you? Here’s our handy cheat sheet to the five outerwear silhouettes you should be considering.

Overshirt

We could harp on all day about the merits of a good overshirt, but we’ll keep it short: it’s a year-round, everyday essential, and there’s no piece out there that offers more versatility.

Why Do You Need One?

 

You probably already own at least a few overshirts, but it’s less likely that any of them are rendered corduroy. This tactile element brings new life to one of menswear’s hero pieces. An absolute must-own when it comes to spicing your style up on a daily basis.

How To Style It

Reiss

It would probably be quicker to list the ways it shouldn’t be styled, of which there are few. As a general rule, though, stay away from double corduroy and you will be fine.

Trucker

Originally crafted in denim by Levi Strauss over 150 years ago, this cropped style works just as well in corduroy. Featuring flap pockets to the chest, stitched detailing to the front and a button/popper closure, it’s the definition of simple but effective.

Why You Need One

Put simply, the trucker jacket, cord or otherwise, is a layering must-have. The cropped length makes it perfect for slotting underneath heavier outerwear, but it works well as an outer layer in warm weather, too.

How To Style It

Levi’s at House of Fraser

Keep the rest of your outfit simple and allow the corduroy to speak for itself. Smart-casual is a good direction to go in with this style. Think a plain T-shirt tucked into slim-fit chinos or a patterned shirt with wool trousers, anchored by a pair of suede Derbies or Chelsea boots.

Blazer

There’s no denying that the blazer is a staple piece. But in more informal settings it can come off as a little try-hard. A touch of corduroy is the perfect remedy for this particular problem.

Why You Need One

A corduroy blazer, particularly an unstructured one, straddles the line between smart and casual with absolute precision. It’s a safe bet in any tricky situation where you’re unsure of what to wear and don’t want to come across either sloppy or uptight.

How To Style It

Massimo Dutti

The real beauty of a corduroy blazer is that it can be used in two different ways. Firstly, it can be deployed to dress down smarter pieces, like tailored pants and a roll neck. Secondly, you can call on it to lift a casual outfit; a hoodie, chinos and canvas trainers, for example.

Worker Jacket

The worker jacket is a staple piece when it comes to casualwear. A patch-pocketed, classically-collared, day-to-day workhorse. Traditionally rendered in heavy cotton twill, this workwear mainstay takes on a completely different personality when presented in corduroy.

Why Do You Need One?

A corduroy worker jacket is the perfect garment to take your weekend style to the next level. It’s ultra casual, but the textured finish somehow makes it feel a little more considered than its cotton twill counterparts.

How To Style It

Hartford

Team it up with other workwear and casualwear essentials. Think selvedge denim, thick knitwear, flannel shirts, twill chinos and sturdy boots. As for the colour, blue is always a solid option, whether it be royal, navy or otherwise. Or, for something a little different, why not try cream layered over a dark outfit?

Bomber

A decorated military veteran, the bomber started life in the cockpit but has now graduated to, well, everywhere else. A modern casual classic, this boxy jacket has been reimagined and redesigned in countless ways, but simply going for a corduroy version is a good way to switch things up while staying true to the original silhouette.

Why Do You Need One?

Honestly, you don’t. Corduroy bomber jackets are hardly number one on the menswear hit list. However, just because you don’t need something doesn’t mean it’s not a cool thing to have in your wardrobe. This jacket offers something a bit out of the ordinary. It’s something you’re unlikely to see anyone else with around town, and if that doesn’t make it worthy of an investment, we’re not sure what does.

How To Style It

Brunello Cucinelli

This type of jacket is best worn as part of a casual, or maybe even slightly streetwear-leaning outfit. Try layering it over a hoodie or sweatshirt and tie it off with wide-leg chinos or cargo pants and white leather sneakers.