Get your own personal stylist to help you find clothes you love. All online, completely free

Sign In

Style Advice

Three ways to wear corduroy trousers

Three ways to wear corduroy trousers

Ah, once again we face the long-standing conundrum of corduroy. Despite its name translating from French to ‘cord of the King’, the question of its coolness still floats about. We’re here to settle the debate once and for all: corduroy is cool, hard-wearing, and versatile. Plus, it stands out without being in-your-face about it. Before we launch into the versatility of corduroy trousers, a moment of appreciation is in order for your history teacher at school, whose corduroy get-ups weren’t as admired as they should have been. From smart to casual and somewhere in-between, this is how to wear corduroy trousers in every setting. 


The easiest way to incorporate corduroy into your casual garb is with a simple swap. “Take a go-to weekend outfit of a casual checked overshirt, a sweatshirt and jeans, and replace the denim for the more unique option of cords instead,” Thread stylist Alice Watt advises. “The texture of corduroy will make your casual outfit look more tactile and considered.” In addition to this, corduroy offers you the opportunity to incorporate a bit more colour into your clothing. “Corduroy items come in a medley of lovely colours that are really wearable and not polarising,” Alice says. “In this casual look, the rest of the outfit is tonal to complement the trousers.”

Smart casual

Because corduroy trousers are more laid-back than tailored ones, yet more elevated than a pair of jeans, they are kings of smart casual dressing. Generally, the darker the colour, the smarter the look becomes. Here, Alice has styled a pair of olive green, drawstring cord trousers with a loose, tapered fit to maintain a more laid-back feel when presented alongside a chunky yet refined cable knit. The sleek black leather of the hiking boots contributes to the smarter aesthetic, while the thick yellow laces err on the casual side. “As ever, it’s all about balance,” Alice says. “The only aspect of this look that doesn’t need overthinking are the corduroy trousers as, with their texture and colour, they strike the balance perfectly.”


And finally, how does one dress up a humble pair of cords so they don’t look out of place at a swish dinner party? Easy. As the texture feels distinguished in itself, it doesn’t take much to make corduroy blend in with a more formal look. When doing so, opt for sharper, slim fit that’s more tailored and choose a dark or rich jewel tone. “I’ve gone for darker shades here to really nail that ‘smart’ feel,” Alice explains. “The collar of the polo also gives off a formal vibe, while the structured overcoat and suede shoes are super sophisticated.” So – whether you’re dressing up or down, casual or cultivated, the sky's the limit with corduroy. Special shout out to Mr Orme from school you had it right all along, old sport. 

Words: Ashiana Pradhan
Photography: Jamie Stoker
Styling: Alice Watt
Styling assistant: Alexander McCalla