The Corduroy Business Casual Suit

February 4th, 2015

My favorite items in menswear are those that straddle the line between formal and casual. Specifically, tailored garments that can be worn with a casual appeal. A perfect example is a tailored suit cut from a corduroy fabric.

A suit, by definition, is formal, smart, and business appropriate. A corduroy fabric, on the other hand, is rugged, durable, and casual.

A corduroy suit is one of those underrated garments that can be used in countless different ways.

Here are three examples.

    Cool Grey

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    In a cool medium grey, this is about as suave and nightlife-ready as corduroy gets. Because of the sharpness of the color, and the cut, you should have no problem pulling this off at the office, and transitioning directly to an evening out.

    The deep v-neck sweater and the power collar help, too.

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    For you more advanced bespoke heads out there, a great tailor once told me: make sure when you’re cutting a corduroy suit, that the nap of the fabric flushes upward, not downward! You want it to pick you up, not drag you down.

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    Shout out to Awl & Sundry for the “Murder Monks” (pebbled leather/ostrich skin), part of our “Online Custom Shoe Review“.

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    Classic Khaki

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    There isn’t a corduroy suit more “Classic American Prep” than the 2-button khaki, just ask Wes Anderson or Fantastic Mr. Fox. It’s a perfect match for a pale blue oxford shirt, a rep stripe tie, a collar pin, a collegiate striped sock and a vintage burgundy tassel loafer.

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    On a side note, since moving to Los Angeles, it’s been inspiring to see how many designers are producing menswear out here. It’s unbelievable how much production is happening in this city, and how many brands we encounter that are manufacturing right in our backyard.

    Ace Rivington, for example, just sent us this super soft homespun terry sweatshirt, which is available in 7 colors and made right here in LA. It’s one of those wardrobe basics that can get lots and lots of use in a smart wardrobe. In fact, we included a similar piece in our first “Re-Invent Your Wardrobe with 20 Essentials” article.

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    You already know how we feel about a good tassel loafer.

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    Wide Wale Navy

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    Corduroy fabrics are distinguished by the width of their “wales”, or vertical “ridges”. The number of wales per square inch determines the weight and hand-feel of the fabric. A traditional medium-width cord has roughly 10-12 wales per inch, while a “pincord” has 16+ and a “wide wale” has six or less.

    The lower the number of wales (the wider the “ridges”) the thicker and more velvet-y the fabric. Corduroy is a cotton pile fabric, basically just like velvet, only with these added “ridges” to make it a little more rugged/casual and less sheen-y.

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    This particular double-breasted corduroy suit, as featured here, is cut from a heavy-duty wide wale in a rich navy. It’s one of my all-time favorite designs from my bespoke collection (it used to be a 4×2 with gold buttons, but I changed it to 6×2 with horn).

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    Thanks, as always, for reading.

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier


    Photography by Alex Crawford. Styling by Dan Trepanier. Modeling by Will Howe. This article was sponsored by Ace Rivington

    • James Wong

      Look three!

    • TO

      William looks real killer in these suits. I have the GQ x GAPx Brooklyn Tailors grey cord trousers and they’re almost identical to the first suit. The hem and cuff piping on the sweatshirt is a nice touch. Love the button change to the wide wale suit, it looks even better than before. Which shoe shape did you choose on Incedo Dan? Looks to be “Sharp Round (E)”, correct?

    • Loscv29

      I’m generally OK with loafers, but cant do those damn tassels!

      Does wearing tassel-less loafers dress the suit down too much?

    • Dan Trepanier

      Thanks Cam. The team and I completely agree. All three of those things are coming back, to go along with our new shop :)

      • Loscv29

        What about the monthly reader contests?

        • tommyjohn_45

          Once the snow melts enough in Boston so that I can get out of my door, I’ve got a new camera I want to put to the test for these ;)

    • Daniel

      Lol what’s going on with his face in look one?

      • cam

        Blue Steel!

      • Natural Model

        His expressions look painful.

      • Alex Crawford

        That’s my bad, I kicked him in the shin right before I took this photo.

    • Miguel

      I owe a Khaki Corduroy suit and whenever I wear it I get a lot compliments.
      Also nothing looks better than Jeans, Chelsea Boots and a Corduroy blazer.

    • Ali Naaseh

      Love it all, but I still think the idea of dudes sharing clothes – even in a professional manner for photoshoots – is a bit goofy. I can’t help but imagining you guys having sleepovers and going “Hey Dan, remember that striped v-neck sweater you wore a few weeks ago? Can I borrow it?”

      • Miguel

        I see your point but that’s just expanding your brand, instead of Dan doing this, he’s doing something else to further his brand.
        Sometimes you need to delegate jobs in order to grow.

      • Dan Trepanier

        Will is a much better model than me, and I’m starting to produce my own line of tailoredwear for AOS… It will all make sense soon :)

      • Jeff P.

        That’s how magazines do it. The difference is that their style closets aer much larger, but they definitely recycle looks/clothes.

    • Juan Zara

      Definitely agree on the location shooting, most outfits are brought to life by their surroundings. Your “fall palette” post from a while back really highlighted this.

    • Juan Zara

      Ahhh, I’ve been waiting for the wide-wale navy cord suit to make a comeback, I’ve always loved it! Very curious as to where the fabric is from. It’s hard to find good quality wide-wale corduroy fabric nowadays, even at the vintage fabric shops I’ve discovered recently (if you guys ever come to Milan, I’ve got a really nice spot for you to check out, you’ll love it!)

      With a change of buttons, I think both the navy and the grey jackets could work as dinner jackets (assuming it’s not a really formal occasion), no?

    • cam

      i love a good corduroy suit and wes anderson does it the best for sure.

      the progression of the new site is nice but i would hope that you guys could do some more outdoor shoots. i know you have indoor space now but honestly, it does no justice for alex’s skills. prob that, videos and the wiwt are the biggest pieces missing to me. i understand change and progression but the site has lost a personal touch tbh. hope all is well guys.

    • djsavenger

      The collar bar with the khaki suit is a really nice touch.

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