I have always said that in order to be a good stylist, a person who does this job needs to blank out their personal style preferences. I constantly put clients in things that I would never wear but know is perfect for them. Objectively, I can appreciate the beauty or stylishness of things while knowing I would never wear them. You cannot be a stylist if you don’t possess this capability. So to write a post about corduroy today, a fabric I can appreciate but would find challenging to actually put in my wardrobe isn’t a far stretch. My personal opinion about corduroy is that it’s just a clunky fabric. Maybe if my life was more rugged or I lived my life as a lumberjack or something, I’d be more enthused about it, but I’m not and I just don’t dig the fabric. When I put my personal stylist cap on, however, I can put my personal feelings aside because the reality is, that it’s just not about me. So if you dig corduroy, I appreciate and support your love and desire to wear it so much so that I am writing a post about it today.


Corduroy, like velvet, is a napped fabric or pile fabric. Fabrics with a pile have a raised surface with loops or tufts. Corduroy fabric is made by weaving in an extra pile thread into the weft of the fabric (the threads that run from left to right) over and under the warp threads (the threads that go up and down). Following this, the back of the fabric is glued and that additional pile thread is cut to create that tufted appearance. The ridges formed through this process are called wales and the amount of wales per inch of fabric is what determines if it is a wide, narrow corduroy. The average wales per inch of fabric is usually 11 per inch and wider wales are most often seen in upholstery fabric, although, certainly, wide wale corduroy has been seen in clothing. Pinwale corduroy is when there are many ridges per inch of fabric which, in turn, makes the ridges much narrower.


Corduroy has air-trapping qualities which is what makes it so appealing for colder temperatures. It’s also durable, and strong which is why the fabric is used for outdoor activities, more rugged needs, and more. However, this does not mean corduroy has been limited to these types of endeavors. Not only can corduroy be worn casually but when styled right, it can also be worn to work. Below, I have put together five corduroy looks for work to give you some ideas.


Even though corduroy is appropriate for work, it’s still a more casual fabric which means I wouldn’t choose corduroy for anything above business-casual. This outfit is an example of that type of look. I styled this corduroy skirt from FRAME with a cashmere sweater from Vince. I finished the look with cognac flat boots from Cole Haan and a printed square scarf from Banana Republic.


This is definitely a casual workplace/weekend outfit. I styled these wide-leg corduroy pants from J.Crew with a striped cashmere sweater from Kule. The look is finished with weatherproof booties in cognac from Aquatalia and hoop earrings from Argento Vivo.


While you definitely could go for a full corduroy suit, adding a corduroy blazer to your work wardrobe might be the easier path, plus, no unsightly thigh rubbing whooshing sound when you walk. I styled this corduroy blazer from Veronica Beard over a simple layer of slim straight pants in black from Spanx and a basic grey crew neck sweater from Saks. The look is finished with a pair of heeled black booties from M.Gemi.


I styled this deep green corduroy shirtdress from Boden that works perfectly for work with a pair of burgundy boots from Duo. What I love about Duo boots is they offer wide calf widths all the way up to 19″ which is rare to find from a shoe company that actually makes stylish boots. The hardest thing when you have wide calves (raising hand) is the absolutely horrible and cheap boots that are usually found in these widths. The outfit is finished simply with a link necklace from Ettika.


This last look hits that perfect business-casual sweet spot. I styled these pleated corduroy pants from Alex Mill with a classic button-up shirt from Frank & Eileen. I finished the look with a beige belt from FRAME and fun sneakers from The Office of Angela Scott.