A corduroy suit makes quite the statement. The soft yet sturdy fabric, when applied to formal silhouettes, can make a classic suit feel new. Sure, a corduroy suit proves far more casual than a suit made from cashmere, silk or wool, but it breaks up the monotony of bland black or blue business attire.
With a corduroy suit, you'll stand out — and for good reason, as long as you wear it within the proper window (see below for said window). Below, you'll find a range of corded coats and pants — from slim-fit
For more information on suits, including which to buy and how to take care of it, read our guide to the best suits for men under $1,200.
Best Overall Corduroy SuitJ.Crew Kenmare Corduroy Suit Read More
Best Upgrade Corduroy SuitTodd Snyder Fine Cord Sutton Suit Read More
Best Affordable Corduroy SuitBuck Mason High-Ridge Cord Carry-On Suit Read More
Indochino Flaxton Corduroy Olive Suit Read More
Proper Cloth Waverly Beige Wide Wale Corduroy Suit Read More
Where Does Corduroy Come From?
Despite its signature ridged finish, the first corduroys were originally smooth. Then, the fabric was a thick, sturdy material woven from a linen warp and a cotton weft. The result was a dense "pile" (like on a carpet).
This weave popularized two commonly used materials: velvet and corduroy. The latter comes with a textured surface of long ridges (known as wales), which means there can be thick, fat “wide wale” corduroy and more subtle, slimmer wale ones.
What Does 'Wale' Mean?
It's common to see 14- or 16-wale corduroy. But what does "wale" even mean, you're wondering? 14-wale corduroy means there are 14 ridges per inch. The fewer ridges, the more durable the fabric. The more wales, the finer the fabric. Most suits will have more wales.
If the suitmaker doesn't mention a number and simply says "wide," that probably means 11 or more. 8- to 11-wale is considered standard.
When to Wear a Corduroy Suit
Corduroy is ideal for colder weather, thanks to the cords or "wales" woven into the fabric. Those are made by inserting yarns into the fabric from the backside. The yarns stand up through the front side of the fabric and are then shorn, resulting in the hairy piles on the surface.
These piles are able to trap heat, making them great for fall and winter. "But that's it," Todd Snyder Chief Product Officer Alejandro Rhett says. The piles also make the fabric more durable, which means you'll own the garment longer. When it comes to suits, it also means it'll give you more structure — and for longer. It's far more substantial than simple, soft wool.
How to Style a Corduroy Suit
When you wear a corduroy suit, you have to be mindful of texture. Corduroy is soft and visibly ridged. As such, it's important to pair it with a shirt that's equally as natural — i.e. an organic cotton Oxford. A true dress shirt will look weird when paired with a corded suit, especially if the shirt has any stretch.
Try wearing a snap-button denim shirt or a cashmere sweater beneath your corduroy suit. Or, as I said before, try a soft Oxford cloth shirt and a knit tie.
The Best Corduroy Suits for Men
J.Crew Kenmare Corduroy Suit
While most know J.Crew's Ludlow Suit, a slimmer-fitting suit that flatters most body shapes, the all-new Kenmare is more current. It's more relaxed and a little more workwear-influenced, especially in this 8-wale corduroy from English mill Brisbane Moss. It's important to note that this blazer does run slightly small — and short in length. But that's the look.
Todd Snyder Fine Cord Sutton Suit
Unlike most corduroy suits, Todd Snyder's Fine Cord Sutton Suit still looks tailored — like it fits and flatters, not overpowers. It assumes the shape of a standard suit, but it's much more interesting. Infused with 1 percent stretch, it's more comfortable, too, even though it looks fairly formal.
Buck Mason High-Ridge Cord Carry-On Suit
A part of Buck Mason's Carry-On line, which comprises classic silhouettes in newer, stretchier materials. This suit stems from this collection, even though it looks like it's made from standard corduroy. Both the jacket and pants were washed for immediate softness, but they're both 1 percent stretch, too, which means they move with you and resist wrinkles.
Indochino Flaxton Corduroy Suit
Want to wear corduroy but still appear professional? You can do it, especially in Indochino's Flaxton Suit. It's slim-fitting, flattering and compatible with just about any dress shirt and tie combo. Plus, the pants are tapered, which means the corduroy fabric doesn't add width, only texture.
Proper Cloth Waverly Beige Wide Wale Corduroy Suit
Proper Cloth's Waverly Wide Wale Corduroy Suit is a happy medium. While many corduroy suits are too wide, and others overcompensate by being too slim, this one is just right — a happy in-between that's neither way too wide nor pretty much painted on. Plus, this option accommodates a number of body shapes. The jacket comes in sizes 28 through 64. The pants are available in sizes 26 through 60.
Banana Republic Paese Corduroy Suit
Sold as separates, the Banana Republic traditional corduroy suit can be worn to both formal and semi-casual events alike, depending on how you wear it. Good-looking with a sweatshirt or a dress shirt, this modern-fit suit features corduroy fabric imported from Italy, with wool accents throughout.
Rowing Blazers Ultra Wide-Wale Corduroy Jacket
Rowing Blazers has sold its suit in an ultra-wide corduroy for a few years now. Recently, though, designer Jack Carlson made them ready-to-wear, meaning you could order your size online, making it possible to pair the jacket and pants together and order them as one set. You can choose from a number of colors, but each one is handmade in Portugal.
Sid Mashburn Corduroy Suit
To understand Sid Mashburn's cord suit, you must know Mashburn the designer. He was J.Crew's first menswear designer, hence why the brand has such a strong corduroy suit now. (He set them up well.) Now, he runs his own brand, and, as expected, he sells a corduroy suit, too. His is a deep, almost purple, navy color, with a garmented-dyed finish and wide, open front (with smaller lapels).
Alex Mill Rugged Cord Suit
Unlike Sid Mashburn's suit, which has a wide, flared front, Alex Mill's jacket buttons up higher, resulting in a tighter top opening and smaller lapels. The style is certainly workwear influenced, but it's pretty buttoned-up. It's the set's versatility, however, that warrants inclusion here. You can wear the top or bottom half on their own, dressing up a pair of jeans or contrasting a simple sweatshirt.