Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Corduroy

Corduroy, how we’ve missed you. It’s the quintessential fabric of autumn and winter - and we wouldn’t be seen going for chilly walks without it! Despite corduroy’s appeal, some may be wondering why corduroy is so popular and whether or not to include it in their wardrobe. Fear not: in this piece, we will answer some of the most pressing questions about corduroy, bringing insight from our work as a sustainable brand.

What is corduroy? 

Corduroy is a woven fabric (distinct from smooth fabrics like polyester) that has a twill pattern, producing the raised edges that set it apart from other fabrics. Corduroy is most often used in trousers, although the fabric’s popularity ensures that it also gets used to make trendy jackets, dungarees, and more elaborate garments. 

Corduroy comes in a variety of thicknesses, which are known as “wale”. If corduroy has a high wale it means that the style features very fine cords, while a low wale rating guarantees that thick, chunky cord look that we can’t get enough of. 

Is corduroy sustainable? 

Corduroy is a warm and versatile fabric that can reduce the need for lots of different garments, by standing in as a signature style for your wardrobe. Ordinarily, corduroy is constructed from conventional cotton, which is not good for the environment as it requires varying amounts of water, pesticides, and is linked to the high production of greenhouse gas emissions. Corduroy can also contain elastane, which results in a stretchier garment at the cost of biodegradability. If you want to make sure your corduroy is sustainable, shop from a sustainable brand and review the website’s sustainability information. 

We only make corduroy using organic cotton, and occasionally - when using micro corduroy in trousers or skirts - use a 2% touch of elastane. Corduroy without elastane is a structured fabric that drapes well. Micro corduroy with elastane offers a snugger fit. 

In short: corduroy is most sustainable when made from organic or recycled materials. Its long-lasting properties and natural versatility make it a great choice for people who want to hang onto their clothing for longer. 

Is corduroy vegan? 

As long as it’s made from organic cotton you can guarantee that corduroy is vegan. Whether you treat conventional cotton corduroy as vegan will depend on where you draw the line with pesticides and chemicals. Personally, we’d rather avoid them which is why we try to stick to truly eco-friendly and soft organic cotton. 

Why is corduroy so popular? 

Corduroy first gained serious traction as a dependable workwear choice during the 19th century industrial boom in the UK. It later became a global wardrobe sensation in the 1960s and 70s, when it was worn by counterculture fanatics and artistic souls who fought back against the establishment. Today, corduroy continues to be popular because of its genuine timelessness, comfiness and warmth. As it’s generally woven in a thick ribbed pattern, corduroy is heavier and cosier than regular cotton styles. It also affords a sense of luxury and sophistication. And yet, corduroy’s most charming characteristic is not that it feels “deluxe” but that it feels ruggedly reliable. 

As British Vogue detailed convincingly back in 2017, “this durable material… has long been a favourite both of academic types up to their eyeballs in books and of country ladies and gentlemen mucking about in fields…. it’s the fabric of labour, of toil, in some honest pursuit.” That last adjective: “honest” is one of the reasons we think it’s found popularity among our team and community. Corduroy feels like a down to earth fabric that not only looks good, but simply is good. No nonsense, no fuss, and few of the characteristics that make fast fashion loathsome. That’s right, even Vogue thinks: “corduroy feels authentic.” 

The Autumn/Winter Corduroy Edit

For Women

This autumn we have crafted a number of must-have organic cotton corduroy styles, available both on pre-order or to arrive straight to your door on sale. Each one is designed with the ocean at heart, the driving force behind TWOTHIRDS. The season’s essential pieces include Ontong, a sleek corduroy trouser, Uvita, a stunning pencil skirt that brings texture to your outfit and Ekins, a double-breasted corduroy coat that comes in a soothing latte colour and features a cosy recycled polyester lining.

You’ll also find some TWOTHIRDS classics like Floreana, a sherpa lined workwear jacket in a gorgeous pink hue. Whatever your preference, it’s clear that this season’s cord edit combines minimalism with practicality. 

For Men

The corduroy look started as working class menswear, a charm that hasn’t worn off - although these days there’s certainly more variety involved! For men, we feature organic cotton designs that appear rugged but refined, in a range of colours you’d never expect. For example Balavu in a volcanic beachy Dark Sand, with complementary wave print pocket. Or there’s Cook (available on sale) in an attractive shade of turquoise. Cook is a popular micro corduroy shirt design that features thin ribs, stylish rounded edges and special branded embroidery. It actually comes in 6 different colours, meaning you can get the full pack to be truly equipped for colder weather. 

Meanwhile, in the world of TWOTHIRDS sustainable jackets, we have multiple thick corduroy styles for men, from the slightly oversized, Lires - with two big front pockets and cosy zip closure - to our ultra-cool Waigeo in a dashing Agave green or rich Burgundy. Designed for skaters, surfers, and anyone who's ready to slip into a comfy autumn groove.