The Corduroy Business Casual Suit

February 4th, 2015


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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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  • V-Neck sweater by Paul Smith ·
  • Black ostrich monkstrap shoes by Awl & Sundry

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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Pima Corduroy Suit in Chestnut

Blue USA Oxford Shirt
  • Homespun French Terry Sweatshirt by Ace Rivington ·
  • Navy/grey stripe tie by Thom Browne ·
  • Brown leather briefcase by Frank Clegg x Dan Trepanier ·
  • Burgundy tassel loafers by Johnston & Murphy

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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White USA Oxford Shirt
  • Grey houndstooth cardigan vest by JCrew ·
  • Watch by Montblanc Timewalker Automatic ·
  • Black leather shoes by Incedo

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Shop Custom Menswear Made in America

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