Autumn is all about the corduroy, although we gotta admit we also love this old-fashioned fabric for spring, winter, and sometimes even summer! This autumn, modern takes on corduroy are all the rage, with designers getting super creative with silhouettes and colors.
We suspect that this warm, useful fabric will stay on trend throughout the winter, and even into next year’s spring, so it’s time to get on board with it! This year you can choose from corduroy pants, corduroy jackets, corduroy skirts, and even corduroy dresses and jumpsuits.
We’ve pulled the most fashionable items made of corduroy, including all manner of clothes and even some accessories. You can play around in ‘70s-inspired looks, or rock something more modern.
In this article, we also talk about the history of corduroy, and how it came to be this reliable autumn and winter fabric that somehow always hops back into fashion without ever fully going out of style. To cap things off and get you truly corded, there’s a style guide to help you figure out how to make any corduroy clothing item work for you!
Corduroy Fashion Trend Guide: Contents
- 23 Fashionable Corduroy Pants, Skirts, Dresses & More to Buy
- Corduroy Fashion Trend History & Revival
- How to Wear Corduroy in Fall & Spring
From corduroy pants and skirts to cute dresses and accessories, we have put together this ultimate corduroy shopping list to inspire for your next vintage-approved looks.
1. Pink Autumn Corduroy Dress
MacGrow crafted a romantic corduroy dress with an old-timey feel that is warm and perfect for autumn. The short-sleeved dress is made of a soft pink corduroy, and is buttoned from shoulder to hip. The silhouette is flattering, and the mini length makes it perfect for everyday wear. You can order it online from Farfetch.
2. Cropped Corduroy Jacket
2021 is all about combining the slouchy and the sexy for a lazy-cool look. This oversized corduroy jacket certainly fits into that, as its midriff-baring cropped length is risqué, while its size gives that “I just threw on my boyfriend’s jacket” effect. The collar, corduroy buttons, and breast flap pockets add to the masculinity of the design, so pair it with ultra-skinny jeans or a flowy skirt and a crop top for a touch of femininity. It is available at Revolve.
3. Camel Corduroy Skirt
The old school reliability and comfort of the corduroy fabric is excellent for giving balance to the mini length of this skirt. This charming corduroy skirt has front and back pockets on an A-line silhouette. Its pale camel shade is soft and earthy, so it could work for any season and with many color combinations. You can find this corduroy skirt at Forward.
4. Cropped Corduroy Pants
These corduroy pants prove that this fabric can be totally classy. The trousers are straight-cut and high waisted, which gives a ‘70s feel, but colored a rich brown and cropped to hit mid-calf for a modern twist. Wear them with a pair of high heels and a blouse tucked in for the office, or with a loose sweater and slip-on loafers for a casual look. Buy these pants through Shopbop!
5. Corduroy Skirt Overalls
Skirt overalls are excellent items if you want to channel your schoolgirl side. This rust corduroy option gives a short, cute take on it with a square neck and button straps. It has a wearable regular fit, perfect for casual daytime dressing, too. It is sold online via ASOS.
6. High Waisted Corduroy Pants
With these corduroy trousers Isabel Marant proves that corduroy doesn’t always have to be muted or earthy. These dusty yellow pants are saturated enough for color blocking and other modern styling methods. The design itself is certainly retro-chic, as the pants are high-waisted with a straight leg. Have them shipped to you through Forward.
7. Bubblegum Pink Corduroy Blazer
A corduroy jacket doesn’t have to be a drab thing. This blazer design is anything but, with its bright pink shade and figure-flattering silhouette. This waist-length corduroy jacket could be paired with dozens of different looks, but only for women who are ready to stand out! You can get it from Farfetch.
8. Pastel Lilac Corduroy Shorts
Few things are cuter than a cute pair of shorts. These Lovers + Friends corduroy shorts are colored a light lilac shade, with front pockets that add a schoolboy feel. They are high waisted and perfect for wearing with a blouse and blazer for a sophisticated look, or a crop top for a summery vibe. They are sold online via Revolve.
9. Navy Corduroy Trousers
This is another menswear-inspired take on corduroy fashion. These navy blue corduroy pants are mid-waisted, with flared legs and retro split cuffs. The leg split lends a modern element to what is otherwise a pair of very old-fashioned pants that would best go in the closet of a confident fashionista. If that fashionista is you, you can get them from Net-a-Porter.
10. Pink Mini Corduroy Skirt
This comfy mini skirt is made of the softest corduroy, to keep you feeling warm even while you’re baring legs. This skirt sits comfortably on the hips and has a simple design that is easy to style. It is great for both streetwear and business casual, so it is certainly an item worth having. Grab it from Revolve!
11. Mustard Yellow Corduroy Dress
ASOS’ pretty yellow corduroy dress is something truly unique. It is made to fit loose and relaxed, with a length that hits just above the knee. It has a deep, wrap-style neckline and an open back to show off a bit of skin or to layer over a sweater depending on the weather. This corduroy dress can be styled up or down, and can fit a ton of occasions. It is available at ASOS.
12. Peanut Corduroy Overalls
These corduroy overalls take protective construction worker clothes and make them fashion. They are shamelessly cute in a peanut color, with a stylish high-waist flare-leg fit, offering a truly girlish twist on a very utilitarian garment. If you like making this kind of statement, then pick them up from Revolve.
13. Vintage Corduroy Shirt
Many designers are staying away from traditional earth tones, making purple the it-color for corduroy’s comeback instead. This corduroy shirt comes in a bright purple shade, with an oversized cut that is loose, comfy, and warm, but still streamlined and stylish. To add it to your wardrobe, check out ASOS.
14. Burgundy Corduroy Jumpsuit
Rich jewel tones are excellent for making corduroy more upscale and highlighting the fact that it is actually a type of velvet. This jumpsuit is striking yet elegant, with a flared pant, curve-hugging fit, and a squared neckline. Wear a blazer over it to the office, or pair it with a pair of slick heels for the club. You can buy it online from Revolve.
15. Corduroy Culottes
Embrace your inner sailor with these gorgeous mid-calf-length culottes. These corduroy pants don’t appear heavy or overly warm – quite the opposite – they are actually airy and loose, a perfect twist on the corded fabric for spring. They are available online via Nordstrom.
16. Pink Mini Corduroy Skirt
This flirty mini skirt is made of super soft pink corduroy fabric, for cool girl comfort. It’s hard to go wrong with a skirt like this, since it is as on trend as it gets but also easy to mix and match with all kinds of different items and styles. You can order it online from My Theresa.
17. Midnight Blue Corduroy Blazer
Anine Bing proves that corduroy can be sophisticated and upscale. A blazer like this is going to turn heads, and can be worn from day to night – even to business meetings! The color is striking and memorable, while the slightly oversized menswear-inspired fit commands respects. It can be bought from Revolve.
18. Slouchy Corduroy Jacket
This jacket embodies everything corduroy is intended to be, but with an edgy touch. It is warm and comfy, with an oversized style. A drop-shoulder design gives a creative and modern touch to the look of the jacket, which is otherwise quite traditional with its amber color and fuzzy collar. Buy it from Revolve!
19. Pink Mini Corduroy Dress
This romantic take on corduroy dresses is quite unique. The color is on-trend pink, with super puffy sleeves that add a lot of drama to the look. The rest of the silhouette is streamlined, sitting loose and showing some skin. It can be purchased through ASOS.
20. Brown Wrap Corduroy Dress
This long-sleeved Tularosa corduroy dress is perfectly versatile, looking as awesome with a pair of heeled sandals as it would layered over a sweater and paired with boots. It has a V-neckline with a wrapped style, and it comes in at the waist to flatter the figure. You can find it at Revolve.
21. Corduroy Ankle Boots
These ankle boots are the perfect way to channel a warm autumn touch into your look. The corduroy boots are just warm enough for the cool season, and come in a stylish tan color that’ll pair well with lighter clothes and other earth tones. A touch of a heel adds elegance and height. They are available through My Theresa.
22. Rust Corduroy Cap
When you imagine a sailor cap, corduroy is not the first material that comes to mind for it, but it is a surprisingly lovely mix! This hat definitely puts out hippie ‘70s vibes, both because of material and because of the deep rust color. You can order it online through Revolve.
23. Suede Corduroy Shoulder Bag
This medium-sized bag is stylish and convenient, with a unique geometric shape. Since it is made of suede, it is not real corduroy, as the wales are actually just a design choice. That doesn’t prevent it from being a chic bag perfect for both boho-chic and more streamlined looks. You can get it from Nordstrom.
Corduroy is a kind of fabric with a cord or wale pattern, a type of raised pattern of vertical lines that traps in heat and makes for a warm yet flexible textile. It is usually composed of tufted cords, which refers to a weaving technique that leads to super warm clothing. It is the same technique used for producing velvet, and in actuality, corduroy is a type of ridged velvet, even though it doesn’t have the same elegance associated with it.
Contrary to popular belief, corduroy has nothing to do with the French and does not mean ‘the cord of the king’ – ‘corde du roi’. It is more likely that the name comes from the cord-like pattern of the fabric, while duroy is the name of a coarse woollen cloth that was used in England in the 18th century. Another highly likely option is that the fabric was named after the surname Corderoy.
The Origins of Corduroy
Corduroy, along with velvet, originates from a durable cotton cloth called fustian, which was first created in the ancient city of Fustat in Egypt, but had spread all over Europe. This durable fabric became a staple of the working class by the mid-19th century, thanks to its hearty, utilitarian nature.
Corduroy, the warm and ridged descendant of fustian, came to be in the late 18th century. It was born in England, but it is unclear who were the masterminds behind it or what its trajectory into regular wear looked like.
All we know is that one day, corduroy exports from England began. At first the fabric was most favored by farmers and gentlemen from the country, the two non-urban polars of life in Europe.
By the 19th century, however, the fabric migrated to the city where it was worn especially by working class men as well as by students and artists. By this point it was dubbed ‘poor man’s velvet’.
At the turn of the century, corduroy gained a reputation as a children’s fabric, since it was used in school and scout uniforms. You will certainly not be wrong to take some of that school kid history as styling inspiration for your corduroy skirts, shorts, and dresses!
Shortly after, corduroy also started being used for sport and military wear, especially by car drivers, mountain climbers, and with the onset of WWI, soldiers. This hearty fabric was also used in upholstery, particularly in the Ford Model T in 1918.
At the time the fabric was considered sportswear, but going into the ‘20s and ‘30s it became more acceptable as part of daytime attire, and was used for suits, trousers, jackets, and caps.
The Evolution of the Modern Corduroy
By the time the 1950s roll around, corduroy reaches the weird status it’s in now – an overly utilitarian fabric that is old-fashioned one day and all the rage the next.
It is in the ‘70s that corduroy has its huge comeback, both for women’s and menswear. Flared, high waisted corduroy pants are the hottest items, although corduroy vests, jackets, skirts, hats, and even full suits are super popular and acceptable at every situation.
The color palette of the ‘70s, of course, is fairly natural, with corduroy items coming in shades like tan, brown, deep wine red, mustard yellow, and yellow orange. Pastels mixed things up and added some color options. The fabric fit well into the hippie culture, although it also made it into the more traditional and conservative mainstream.
For most of the ‘80s corduroy was out, but it had a small resurgence in the ‘90s, and for the rest of that decade as well as the early aughts it would come back into style periodically, especially in autumn.
This brings us to the fall/ winter season, when corduroy is back in all kinds of unique designs, with everything from pants to skirts to suits available, as well as gorgeous dresses, jumpsuits, and even shoes and accessories!
Corduroy fashion is so versatile and effortless, you can wear it from day to night, looking chic all the time. From pants to skirts to accessories, here is how you should use corduroy in your day-to-day and special occasion looks!
Corduroy Tips and Tricks
• Corduroy is the ultimate textured fabric, so be careful when pairing it with other textures like denim or patent leather. Wearing too much texture is a lot like wearing too many patterns, with the minor issue that clashing textures hasn’t had a fashion resurgence the way clashing prints has.
• Pairing corduroy items with plain cotton is easiest, though it also goes beautifully with silk, satin, linen, and other simple, smooth fabrics. Knitwear is a natural complement to corduroy, despite its light texture.
• You also want to be careful with the prints that you pair with the corduroy. You might want to stay away from very loud or gaudy prints (animal prints, I’m looking at you), and instead opt for smaller, subtler prints that lean towards organic.
• This time around, corduroy came back as colorful as it gets, with a ton of corduroy options in pinks, with greens and purples in close seconds. This means that unlike the neutral cords of the past, you will have to remember your color theory when wearing some of these colorful options.
• Corduroy in black or jewel tones, like aubergine, emerald green, and sapphire blue is perfect for office wear or even for more elegant occasions (although this fabric is admittedly difficult to wear for truly upscale events), while brighter colors and earth tones are excellent for daytime.
How to Wear Corduroy Pants
Most corduroy pants that we see these days are designed to be high-waisted. Sometimes they are flared for a more ‘70s look, and other times they’ll have a slightly tapered leg for that “boyfriend pants” look. If you prefer a truly modern cut that will be more flattering you can also find skinny and straight-leg options for corduroy pants.
• The classiest choice is to keep the overall look minimalist, by pairing your corduroy pants with a solid, light colored top. Everything from T-shirts to sweaters to blouses looks gorgeous with corduroy pants.
• T-shirts and blouses are best worn tucked into corduroy pants, while sweaters look better untucked.
• Crop tops are great for street looks, as they fit the ‘70s vibe of corduroy while also being extremely modern. Since corduroy trousers tend to be high waisted, a crop top won’t be too revealing.
• Flared corduroy pants are not considered work or office-appropriate quite yet, so for street style they are best worn to emphasize their ‘70s vibe. This can mean pairing them with loose, flowy boho tops and lots of dangly jewelry, with vests, or with turtleneck sweaters, which are also having a comeback.
• When it comes to footwear with corduroy pants, you can treat tapered-leg pants as you would any other pair of pants, and wear them with any kind of shoe or boot. Flared pants are best worn with slightly heeled shoes or over boots that sit close to the calf.
• This is the first season in a while when corduroy on corduroy is perfectly accepted, so if you find a matching corduroy pants and blazer combination, that is totally acceptable to wear at the office!
• Avoid pairing suede shoes or boots with corduroy pants, as the two textures are too similar to look good next to each other.
Tips on Styling Corduroy Skirts
The corduroy skirt is one of the most popular ways of wearing this fabric, as it is very modern, versatile, and makes for a warm skirt option for autumn and spring. Corduroy skirts usually come in midi or mini sizes, and are usually cut in an A-line shape that will suit all figures.
• Corduroy mini skirts are perfect for casual daytime looks, and are especially cute paired with Converse-style sneakers or with loafers.
• T-shirts and blouses are best worn tucked into a corduroy skirt, while sweaters and turtlenecks look great either tucked or untucked.
• Corduroy skirts look especially lovely worn over a pair of opaque tights, with colorful tights giving an excellent opportunity for color blocking.
• Flat shoes tend to look better with corduroy skirts, since they have a more casual feel. Loafers and espadrilles are great for a more organic or boho look, while Converses are fun and sporty. Ankle boots are perfect on colder days!
Wearing Your Corduroy Jackets
Corduroy jackets are the ultimate way to keep warm in autumn. They add texture to any outfit and go with almost anything, in a similar way to jean jackets but in earth tones.
• With the exception of corduroy blazers, which I talk about in the next section, most corduroy jackets are on the more casual side of things.
• Corduroy jackets are almost meant to be oversized, since they are meant to be worn in autumn, over thick sweaters. Don’t worry about finding a tight fit – you’re going for that slouchy look, instead!
• Corduroy jackets are best worn over more casual and simpler outfits, as they will look out of place over a very sophisticated suit or slinky dress.
Styling Your Corduroy Blazers
So while we may be enamored with the academic look (you know the deal: corduroy blazer with elbow jackets, a sweater vest underneath it, tan trousers, and a pair of sensible brown shoes), it doesn’t mean we want to emulate it. However, these days there are some very sleek variations on corduroy blazers for women that you can style to perfection!
• Corduroy blazers come in both an oversized menswear style and in a tightly cinched and cropped style that gives a more hourglass shape.
• For an office-appropriate look, keep it monochrome or only pair your blazer with neutrals. Save the crazy colors for your street looks!
• Menswear-inspired corduroy blazers can be very fashion-forward as long as they are styled perfectly so as not to look slouchy. In the office this means wearing them over nice blouses or button-up shirts, and opting for a sleek pair of trousers or a well-fitted skirt. They also look worn great over figure-hugging dresses.
• In the daytime there are fewer rules, and you can wear your loose corduroy blazer with a simple skinny jeans and T-shirt outfit, or with something more elaborate or eccentric. In other words, style it as you would any other slouchy blazer!
• The corduroy suit is definitely having a comeback, so if you can find a matching blazer and corduroy pants set, definitely give it a try at the office, with a pair of neutral shoes.
How to Wear Corduroy Shorts
• Corduroy shorts usually come in a bermuda length or as short shorts. If you are unsure about which length you would like, consider bermuda, shorts since you can easily roll them up into cute short shorts!
• Corduroy shorts are perfect for a boyish, youthful look, when paired with a tucked-in button-up shirt or striped blouse and a pair of loafers, Oxfords, or similarly unisex shoes.
• Corduroy shorts can also be styled with a blazer and a pair of feminine flats or heels for a more glamorous look.
• In the autumn, corduroy shorts can be worn over a pair of opaque tights for a quirky and cute look.
Think Corduroy Dresses & Jumpsuits
These days there are so many cute options for corduroy dresses, jumpsuits, and overalls. While most options are more casual, there are also some really classy ones that would even work for evening wear – just look at some of the ones we’re recommending to get the idea!
• Corduroy dresses come in all kinds of designs and silhouettes, so telling you how to style them can be difficult since there are so many options. Take style notes from dresses with similar silhouettes, rather than zeroing in on the type of fabric.
• Corduroy is a very bulky fabric when compared to other typical dress fabrics, so make sure that the corduroy dress or jumpsuit you choose fits perfectly, as any slouchiness or sagging will make you appear shapeless.
• Layering T-shirts, sweaters, turtlenecks, and blouses under a sleeveless corduroy dress is a comfy and quirky choice, especially for daytime or casual office wear.
• Skirt jumpsuits are perfect for channeling a schoolgirl vibe. They are super cute and flirty, so they are perfect for daywear – especially daytime dates! Wear them over a T-shirt or sweater for a more casual look, or over a button-up shirt for something a little more professional.
• Pair a jewel-toned corduroy jumpsuit with a pair of stilettos and some statement jewelry for a striking evening look.
Playing with Corduroy Accessories
Corduroy is not just for clothes! These days you can find all kinds of accessories available that are made of corduroy, from shoes to bags to hats and more.
• Wear your corduroy accessory as a statement, and avoid pairing it with other corduroy items.
• Some designers are making shoes available that are covered in corduroy. Wear them with simple, autumnal outfits, and let them stand out as the unique items that they are.
• If you’re feeling particularly creative, corduroy hats can be a perfect way to keep your head warm in the fall, and they can let you get away with wearing that touch of corduroy even if the rest of your outfit has a lot of texture already.
• Lastly, if you need a truly durable bag, try a bag made of corduroy. It makes for a great bag for daytime, is a great alternative to leather, and will last a long long while.
Photos via Instagram