How to wear a cord jacket

man standing in a field wearing a Dark Brown Cord Jacket from Samuel Windsor

Layer up with a smart corduroy jacket.
Featured Image: Cord Jacket – Dark Brown from Samuel Windsor

What do you think of cord jackets? We think they’re one of the best ways to smarten up without losing the casual vibe. If, like the Late Show’s James Cordon, you’re a fan, you’re probably already rocking the look. For everyone else, here’s why investing in corduroy makes sense…

The tactile alternative

man sitting on a bench with tan corduroy

Add texture to your wardrobe with corduroy.
Image: Cameron Whitman

If the last time you saw corduroy was when your geography teacher was wearing it, you’d be forgiven for dismissing it from your wardrobe. But then you’d be missing out on wearing a fabric that’s fun, functional and packs a feel-good factor that’s hard to beat. A cord jacket combines a formal cut with a cosy, informal fabric and the result is approachable, preppy and professional.

More of a jeans and trainers man? That’s fine for chilling at home or nipping to the shop for a pint of milk and the paper. But whether you’re a young professional or an old pro, you know people judge you by what you wear.

When you’re out and about, shrugging on a cord jacket gives you instant gravitas and let’s face it, this fabric feels great! As the guys at Fashion Beans say, cord gives you undeniable pulling power and “thanks to a wealth of modern cuts and colourways, has zero boffin vibes when you get it right.”

Cord jacket and t-shirt

closeup of dark blue corduroy material

Keep it casual with a t-shirt and jacket combination.
Image: Shutterstock

Think of the navy monochrome look as your ultimate one liner. Casual shoes, indigo jeans, dark blue t-shirt and matching navy cord jacket – this is how to wear cord without looking like your grandad. The dark colour choice flatters the fuller figure, helps shorter guys look a little taller and emphasises a lean silhouette. It’s a onenote outfit, but it’s the right note and effortless into the bargain.

Prefer a little more colour? Cord jackets look great with any simple round-neck t-shirt. But hey, if you’re feeling daring, go one step further by opting for a thin turtleneck jumper and Chelsea boots– think of it as a nod to the hip 1970s. This is a great vibe for a night out or semi-casual weekend setting.

Smart corduroy

man standing in front of a stately home and red car wearing a Dark Blue Cord Jacket from Samuel Windsor

A corduroy jacket makes a great smart casual option
Image: Samuel Windsor Cord Jackets

Cord gets its name from “cord du roi”, or cloth of the king. If you’re dressing up for a night on the tiles, cord’s right up there with the finest of fabrics, especially needlecord with its smart narrow ridges.

If you like your fashion towards the edge, why not ditch the one-piece-of-cord-only rule, and go for the full suit? You’ll get away with it just fine as long as you keep everything else understated. A pair of suede shoes or leather boots rounds off the theme.

Alternatively, stick with the jacket only and wear it over contrasting chinos, moleskins or flannel. If you take this approach, the Idle Man’s advice is spot on: “A black corduroy jacket is a classic, but if you want something a bit more noticeable, olive, tan or even a deep red will suit the season’s top colour trends.” This look will take you to cocktail bars, restaurants, the theatre, and any formal occasion when you don’t want to wear a suit.

Hip corduroy

man in a coral jumper, sunglasses and a dark olive cord jacket from Samuel Windsor

Dress to impress with coloured cord
Image: Cord Jacket – Dark Olive from Samuel Windsor

Leather satchel. Jeans. Brogue boots. Woollen sweater. Cord jacket. This is your checklist for creating what is arguably cord’s best look – your preppy, retro vibe that’s right on point.

Here’s your chance to experiment with warmer hues. A brown or tan cord jacket goes supremely well with denim jeans and a tattersall shirt. Wear your jacket over a rugged, traditional Argyle sweater, fisherman’s jumper or nordic knit – again, it’s the combination of textures – ridged, woolly, soft – that gives this ensemble its appeal.

For your feet, you’ll look best in brogue boots, but for a more youthful look, a pair of trainers provides a sense of spontaneity that’s age appropriate. Wear this look to fit in with the cafe crowd when you’re out and about over the weekend.

Cord as a layer

closeup of a man's chest with a red cardigan, tan cord jacket and tie - Image from TinTinFellow

With a cardigan underneath, a cord jacket keeps you warm throughout the day.
Image: TinTinFellow

Because cord is warm – in fact it spent much of the 19th and early 20th century as workwear for the labouring classes – it makes a great top layer. If it’s not too cold or wet, put on a jumper or gilet underneath and you’re good to go.

Alternatively wear a car coat over the top of your cord jacket and you’ll be snug no matter what the winter throws at you. In fact cord is perfect clobber for commuters because it keeps you snug when the train is late – again.

Do you wear cord? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or drop us a line via our Facebook page.

Posted in How To - Style.

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