The Ultimate Guide to Adding a Corduroy Jacket to Your Daily Outfits


Corduroy… You either love it, or you simply hate it. Yep. For many men, corduroy fabric brings up the image of non-fashionable, old grandpas wearing oversized, often threadbare blazers or pants. I have to admit… It had its charm. And it still does

Corduroy 101

In the fall of 2020, corduroy fabric returned from its peak years in the 50s, 70s, 90s, and 2010s and has kept its well-earned place in modern attire ever since. Nowadays, you simply can’t ignore its presence: garments in this material will slap you in the face through any online retail destination: every single one showcases at least one cord masterpiece.

Trend or no trend: corduroy is for everyone

Even though the textile seems super on trend, and I usually strongly advise against blindly following fashion trends: this one’s a keeper. Not only because it’s a sturdy, durable material that’s soft to the touch and super easy to keep clean. Nope. Also, corduroy is often made of organic cotton, so you do good for the planet. Not convinced yet? The fabric is known to work for a wide range of personal style preferences. Last argument: you know it will always make a comeback; it has been around long enough. 

What corduroy item suits me best?

Are you a corduroy newbie? Your best bet is to start off with a corduroy shirt or jacket. Both are easy to combine with other garments and are available in many subtle yet stylish fall colors, from black to olive and from navy to ochre and brown. This could be a button-down, a thick worker shirt, a blazer, or an overshirt (or “shacket”). Perfect for layering and thus extra warmth, too. In the transitional season to fall, you’ll want to wear them as outerwear. When winter sneaks in, they do exceptionally well as an upper for your sweater, shirt, long sleeves, or polo shirts. 

Experienced corduroy and fashion enthusiasts can go as far as quilted outerwear, trousers, or a full-on corduroy costume. But hey, who am I to decide? Maybe you’re a complete newbie digging this fabric – feel free to go all out anyway. 

How – and with what – do I wear a corduroy jacket?

Ok – let’s go back to what you came here for, the promised land of endless outfits for men to create with a corduroy jacket. Now is the ideal moment to gather your pocket money and invest in one or dig up that corduroy jacket from the back of your closet dating back to the 2010s. Here you go, three outfit ideas with a corduroy jacket as the style centerpiece.

Outfit idea 1: business casual with a corduroy blazer

For this, you’ll need a corduroy blazer. Pay attention to the fit: you want it to fit nicely, preferably with a slim fit, gently streamlining your body. The color is up to you, but warm, fall colors such as brown, taupe, or even navy blue and black always work when wearing cord. Complete your look by adding a merino wool turtleneck, tailored (slim-fit) trousers, and loafers or derby shoes. A light-blue or white dress shirt is your best bet for a more formal, corporate look. 

Outfit idea 2: smart casual with a corduroy blazer

The brother of and less formal variant to business casual, the smart casual dress code gives you more freedom – you can easily sneak some casual items into your look. Still, a blazer is preferred; however, in this case, it lends itself perfectly to pair up with a knitted polo shirt (long-sleeved), a crewneck knit sweater, or even a chic t-shirt. A chic t-shirt is either:

  • Made from a refined fabric or fabric mix. Think of knitted cotton + wool or viscose + wool;
  • Feeling and looking a bit ‘heavier’ – material-wise. Heavy-weight cotton, for example, or;
  • Fitted with a particular type of collar, such as a mock-neck.

As for the bottom part of your look, opt for plain, raw denim jeans or tailored trousers. With pleats, if you wish. A style hack for guaranteed success: choose a ton-sur-ton base, and add an accent. Think of a navy blue t-shirt, a pair of trousers or jeans in the same color or shade, and a neutral pair of shoes (in the same color). Make your jacket stand out, and add that desired accent by choosing olive green.

Outfit idea 3: casual weekend attire with a corduroy overshirt

The overshirt: I could write an entire essay about it if I needed to – it’s one of my favorite items for men. This uber versatile clothing item is the ideal choice for men who wish to add a little spice, an urban touch, or an extra layer to the top part of their outfit. Overshirts are constructed with different features and materials. Their hem length and the number of (chest) pockets can vary from one garment to the other. 

As we’re aiming for a casual style here, I prefer them not too long but reaching around the hip level, with at least two chest pockets. Although it might seem tempting to go for a black one – think again – lighter, more subtle colors are even more versatile to wear year-round. Suggestions: mint green, taupe, beige or brown, blue, and even off-white. 

Corduroy is simply a great tool to add texture to your look, ideal for Italian-style looks too. Playing around with it can work miracles for ton-sur-ton looks: it elevates – what might be considered a – “boring” look.

A few simple, day-to-day outfit ideas with a corduroy overshirt:

  • A pair of blue denim jeans, a button-down shirt, and trainers.
  • A simple t-shirt or long sleeve, jeans or chinos, and boots.
  • A crewneck sweater or hooded sweater, a pair of (Japanese raw denim) jeans, and sneakers.
  • A heavy-weight, high-neck cable knit, chinos, and desert boots.

How about corduroy pants for men?

Color-wise you can – once again – go as bold as you want to. Dark colors are your best bet if you wish to play it safe. But as much as off-white, beige, or any light-brown shade for pants might throw you off at first: in terms of originality, you’re guaranteed to steal the show. Live a little, men. Dare to be bold. 

An absolute yes. As much as corduroy jackets are easy to incorporate into your daily look, corduroy pants are back in fashion and easy to combine, too. The fabric feels wonderfully soft on your legs, offers a nice fit, and thus ultimate comfort. Worn in a modern slim fit, they are ideal for a business setting with sleek, lace-up boots or loafers. For a sporty look, opt for a straight fit. Roll up the trouser legs a bit and pair up with a pair of cool sneakers and a sweater or hoodie. 

Look your best in corduroy, and dress like the man you feel to be on the inside.

Dress your best, effortlessly, in clothes that reflect the authentic you. Let’s elevate your personal brand today with Virtual Men’s Personal Styling.

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Get my FREE E-guide: Define your Personal Style 101 to create a stable base for your ideal wardrobe.