don't find yourself cords-less this winter

in 2019 i have committed to investing in pieces that will go the extra mile in quality and comfort. when i say invest, i don’t just mean throwing a large sum of money at something that’s high quality. for me, investment can also mean taking the time to discover the right piece, especially if it can found second hand. one of the pieces i committed myself to investing in was a pair of corduroy pants. durable, comfortable, and versatile, i knew that a pair of cords had to be a part of a strong wardrobe. 

before i dive into the pair of cords that i found, i want to talk a little about the finer things corduroy aka “the things people put on their website in the product specs that make me think their products are really fancy and high quality but i always wonder, if i knew what they meant, would i still feel that way? or am i just easily pacified into liking products through the use of technical terminology?” anyways, without further ado, here’s the tea on corduroy and why i decided to add a pair into my limited wardrobe. 

the great white wale

one of the most common details abotu cords is the wale. i wasn’t really sure what it meant to have a certain amount of wale per inch. so, after some reading up, i found out that wale is the raised ridge that gives corduroy its distinctive look and feel. however, there’s some technical info about the wale that will help you find the perfect pair of cords. 

corduroy is generally labeled in accordance to how many wales, or lines, there are in an inch of the fabric. the higher the number, the slimmer each wale would be. so, for example, a wide wale corduroy pant might have 7 wales per inch while a finer wale can be upwards of 21 per inch. how do you know which is better? well, based on what i read, it comes down to preference. a wide wale pant will not be as soft as a fine wale pant. fine wale corduroy tends to feel a lot like velvet while the wider wale has a more distinctive texture to it.

in terms of fit, a wide wale corduroy pant will look a lot chunkier than a fine wale pant. i’ve included a pair from Goodfight and Everlane to demonstrate the difference:

fine wale corduroy. photo courtesy of Everlane.

fine wale corduroy. photo courtesy of Everlane.

wide wale corduroy. image taken from goodfight on instagram.

wide wale corduroy. image taken from goodfight on instagram.

at this stage, it comes down to fit and feel to find the perfect pair for you.

“yea, urban outfitters probably sells it but why should i buy corduroy?"

great question! with the 70s nostalgic revival, corduroy has been lumped into this trend, offered at many retailers like urban outfitters, zara, and h&m.

but fear not - if you take the time and find the right pair for you, your corduroy can become a timeless addition to your closet. first, decision to make is the color. personally, i went for a pair of black cords because i really wanted to jump out of my comfort zone and pick something really different. jk. i did it because now i can wear them all year long and have them work with every piece i own. there are a bunch of colors so pick one that works best with your wardrobe. 

the reason corduroy is so popular, especially amongst slow fashion brands, is because the fabric is exceptionally durable. if you find a pair of cords that fit you the way you want, in the right color, then you can be sure that you’ll have those pants for many years to come. with their uncompromising timelessness, they’re a perfect stepping stone if you’re looking to start building a longer lasting, smarter wardrobe. 

where do i start?

if you’ve made it here, then you’re probably thinking about taking the leap (or at least doing some very thorough preliminary research.) the first step is to always look in your closet. if you have a pair of cords already but you don’t wear them, think about why. do they not fit they way you want? if so, can it be something easily remedied with a tailor? did you buy them on a whim and only wore them once? now is the perfect opportunity to get reacquanited. your most sustainable wardrobe is the one you have right now.

if you find yourself cords-less, try finding them second hand. i find that most thrift stores have a lot of corduroy and easily found my pair at my local goodwill. if all else fails, here’s a shorts list of some brands that can give you what you’re looking for. 

Levi's

Everlane

Ijji

Olderbrother 

These offer corduroy pants at varying price points. however, based on my experience or research, these brands will last you a long time and generate positive impact whether that’s through sustainable practices, natural dyes, transparency, etc. it can be difficult to fit all brands in one category. i hope this little guide to corduroy helps you navigate this space just a little bit better.