London Fashion Week photo: Lucy Fitter

Despite its nerdy, librarian-chic connotations, corduroy is a fabric that has an enduring capacity for cool. For every buttoned-up Wes Anderson star there’s an insouciant Jane Birkin. This autumn, both geeky and relaxed versions of the cut-pile fabric appeared on the catwalk at Prada, Lemaire and Marc Jacobs, leaving me incredibly pleased with the mint-condition, second-hand Margaret Howell corduroy blazer I recently snaffled (for 45 quid) at a local vintage shop. Drawn to its irresistible velvety texture, I couldn’t wait to stroke the nap and slip it on. The Corduroy Comeback highlight has to be Prada’s 1970s-inspired trouser suit, neatly cut, dapper and worthy of a place in Fantastic Mr Fox’s wardrobe.



I’ve written about the Corduroy Comeback for the FT, including a lovely chat with new Swedish company The Cords & Co, whose womens and menswear offerings are made up entirely of corduroy. ‘It has a dressed-up, dressed-down aesthetic and is as much a choice for mountaineering as for poetry writing,’ said CEO Omar Varts, ‘I love its texture, its stripes, its ribs, its ups and downs.’ Me, too.

Read the full feature HERE.


27 thoughts on “The Corduroy Comeback

  1. I have a vintage scarlet Droopy & Brown culotte dress in fine corduroy. Wonder if I should start wearing it again, it must be 40+ years old.

  2. Yes , this is calling to me !
    I always found it so easy and comfy , and shall be looking out for it now, especially black or navy.

  3. I love corduroy. It reminds me of a pair of jeans I bought for a school geography field trip circa 1978. I’ve recently bought another pair and love them as much (not going on any field trips this time though). I love your jacket Alyson and feel a tiny bit jealous of your fortunate find.

  4. Margaret Howell is the best . Her fabrics don’t get tired . I’ve two of her cord jackets , one burgundy the other sage , & they wear & wear . I got them in her discount shop but they were a little dearer than your bargain .

  5. I love the Prada leather trimmed corduroy blazer but unfortunately not in my budget this fall. What a missed opportunity for a company like J. Crew to not offer a corduroy blazer in rich colors of the season. In the meantime I’m still looking. You lucked out with your Margaret Howell!

  6. Love it – exceĺent find. Rarely need a jacket but I just bought a sage coloured one from Uniqlo’s ines de la fressange range. We are going toeards sunner here so I doubt I will get to wear it for a while but couldn’t miss the opportunity.
    Congratulations on your book.

  7. I love cord because of the depth of colour that you can get. Loved it in the 70s and then again in the 90s when it had another few days in the sun – or rather the damp, as it’s the perfect autumn fabric. So when does the wonderful corduroy shop that you mentioned in the FT open in the U.K.?

  8. I’d completely forgotten about my light tan corduroy blazer jacket I had back in the early 70s – I was about 15 and thought I was the bees knees. For me it sums up that autumn, leaves falling, Mamas and Papas vibe – lovely!

  9. Your corduroy blazer is an absolute winner. For those of us whose thighs ‘kiss’, there is a real risk of sounding like a train when walking in corduroy trousers….Choo,Choo, Choo.

  10. I think corduroy suits slimmer people. I wore a pair of bottle green corduroy trousers most of my childhood! But i find it unforgiving on my more rounded shape nowadays. I, too, love the colours and shading and sheen of it, though.

  11. I just bought a fabulous mustard yellow corduroy blazer at Talbots in the States. It has a beautiful blue pinstripe lining making it perfect for rolling the sleeves just a bit – add my grey shirt and cuffed jeans and I’m good to go. Love your blog.

  12. Allyson. I’m giddy as a five-year old on Christmas morning! One of my blog reader friends, Juliet, who also follows you, sent me your book “Know Your Style” and I’m so happy that my crossed eyes just straightened out! The illustrations. Your advice. You’ve made me procrastinate because instead of hitting the keyboard to work on my book, I’ll be on the sofa listening to you while reading your words!! Thank you for contributing to my royal laziness!! XOXOXOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  13. I have a bright pink corduroy blazer from Talbots that I will be digging out of the back of the closet! I’ve been waiting to wear it again as it always looks polished and the pop of pink is fun and unexpected!

  14. Shades of my youth here and that’s where anything cord will stay. I have 34g boobs so anything cord adds inches that I just don’t need! Cord trousers look great on very skinny people, usually under 25 (thought not always) is overall, just not a trend that I wish to revisit.

  15. Love, love love corduroy. It’s warm, comfortable, soft and comes in lovely rich, opulent colours. It is the daily wearable version of velvet. I have a rich purply/burgundy cord jacket that I dug out after reading your post. Wore it today as it was chilly and I was a Very Happy Bunny. Now trying to source a rich tan/chestnut one. Don’t get me started on whale cord – that lovely thick and chunky cord. Oh happy days. ps your nails look great in your photo – what’s the secret?

  16. Your jacket is fab but not for the overblessed with bosom like me. Lovely on children as well as slim adults! My grand-daughters have reversible cord/Liberty print popovers that are delightful.

  17. Ooh Maudie I have a deep tan wide whale cord blazer. It’s Max Mara & ibpve not worn it very much but I do love it, and am thrilled to be in fashion for once.

  18. As a person who is perennially cold, and loves texture, have always, always, always loved cords from toddlerhood to my sixties. Yet it is the one fabric that is everywhere then completely gone for years. I will be stocking up on wide wale this year.

  19. Alyson you look charming in cord blazer in courtyard Sometset house maybe. And I like to see an example of the grey roots with pulled back hair. I’m following that look now as I try to grow out highlights. Just got the summer bob shaped hoping new Autumn look distracts from prominent roots.
    Your outfit reminded me of a wonderful cord two piece I wore as slender school girl in 60s. Same caramel colour short hipster skirt and longer double breasted jacket. Ou sont les neiges d’antant as saying goes. I’m shopping my closet/wardrobe on this look. Two pairs of cord straight leg trousers : black and mulberry. Need just to tweak and adjust length for current footwear choices. Trainers or bother boots probably. Have bits of panne velvet and velvet and velour which can be introduced also. All hanging already in my wardrobe.

    So so sorry to probably be missing you at the Blenheim event. Used to live locally and go there to walk around wonderful grounds frequently. As well as art gallery in stable block to see Ai Wei Wei show antique fairs etc. If all goes to current plan I should be flying into a potential war zone in Far East then. Most apprehensive although I’ve been there previously. Last October for example.

    Do please write a post about other potential dates for book signings between now and end of year. So I can see if I could attend one somewhere. Having missed London event which sounds super by being abroad.

    Recommend you get to Blenheim to have a chance to walk in grounds with the Capability Brown landscaping architecture and grazing sheep all around. A very mellow setting we enjoyed walking in at all seasons.

  20. In Oxford yesterday saw a lot of super corduroy clothes in Toast shop. Culottes in navy, dark green and a fantastic terracotta red colour called Fire Red. And a soft needle cord dress in two styles: a tunic style unwaisted and a long dress with cropped bell sleeves and darted waist called Dart dress. All plain but very wearable in dark green and wine colour. All available from website
    Mean to try on to see if flattering. I can see the versatility of these clothes with fitted long sleeved polo neck, Uniqlo type, pendant necklace and boots. Price a bit steep but good quality for classic wearable garments.

  21. I love reading your blog and will be buying your book, but please, please, please don’t use the phrase “librarian-chic” again! Or equate librarians to those horrible stereotypes. I had to fight that all of my career!

    As a librarian (now retired).

    I hope your book is a huge success btw.

  22. Happy to hear corduroy is back in fashion again. As I’m very much into sustainability, I was delighted to learn that you purchased your jacket at a vintage store. I wish you great success with your book.

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