Hands off Our Corduroy
We're here to explode a well-worn myth today, chums. Corduroy is a British cloth, not French. Its name does not derive from a French expression for cord of kings. The French have nothing to do with this practical and hard-wearing cloth, but they keep quiet about this fact. They have denim, so they can't complain. Hands off our corduroy.
Corduroy has been with us since the 18th century. Typically made from twisted cotton fibres, or a blend that might include cashmere or silk, the weaving process produces a distinct series of parallel ridges. The ridges can be narrow (needle cord) or super thick wide-wale (elephant cord - at least that's what I've always known it as). But I don't need to go into detail describing corduroy, as you will know about it and probably own something in the fabric. Because corduroy went from Britain to conquer the world and dress the great and the good, the young and the old, the et cetera and the so on.
I tend to own only cord trousers and veer towards the heavier elephant-end of cord. Jackets can be a bit stiff in the fabric, but I'm not averse. A young Cliff Richard, looking every inch the mod swinger, pulls off his seriously heavy cord jacket above. See it in action here.
My German and Swedish friends refer to my cord trousers as Manchester trousers, possibly because that's where corduroy was traditionally made. Not now, I'll wager. That term could be a northern Europe thing. In Spain they call corduroy "pana".
Orange and yellow examples below from my cord trouser collection. They haven't sagged and gone shapeless like some cord trousers can. The yellow ones look winningly tatty around the pockets.
Good Shops for Corduroys
Some good corduroy trouser action to be had in:
- Pakeman Catto & Carter
- Brocklehursts of Bakewell - you can also enjoy a Bakewell pudding while you're in town, and spend an afternoon visiting nearby and glorious Chatsworth House.
If you are looking for a corduroy suit, Porter and Harding, now owned by Lear Brown and Dunsford, produce English corduroys in lovely colours from a hefty 25oz to 15oz.
Is this the End for the Corduroy Club?
Over in Anglo-America, where they say that one-in-five pairs of trousers bought is in corduroy, could this year's meeting of the Corduroy Appreciation Club be the final one? There was talk, maybe unfounded?