Cords come back
Cords From Kmart to Brooks Brothers, corduroy's back in fashion. Alan Bostick Gannett News Service Trends Now it's in fashion. Now it's out. In. Out ... In. That, in short is the history of corduroy in this century like the ribbed, undulating undulating weave of the fabric itself, its fluctuating fluctuating popularity is either slipping back "in" or on its way "out." Consider yourself advised: As we went to press, corduroy was definitely in and expected to stay that way at least for this winter season. The soft but rugged cotton cloth, most often associated with men's pants, is enjoying enjoying perhaps its largest revival since the days when it sheltered the torso of every self-respecting self-respecting self-respecting English professor from Seattle to Sewanee. "They let something he dormant for a few years, then bring it back and bam!" says Terry Hill, a sales specialist at a Castner Knott department store. "It's amazing. People are coming in like crazy and asking for corduroy slacks and sport coats even with the patches on the sleeves." It's the same story all over. Everybody's asking for it it really looks like fall," says Katrina Nidiffer, and assistant manager with Britches Great Outdoors. "People are getting tired of khakis and jeans, and they like corduroy." "It complements the layering concept which is so important this time of year, says David Levy, a Nashville-area Nashville-area Nashville-area men's store owner, as he revealed a rack of pants in a wide range of autumn-inspired autumn-inspired autumn-inspired shades. "It's really standard for us." This fall, you'll find corduroy both where you expect it (in pants and sport-coats) sport-coats) sport-coats) and where you might not expect it (shirts, hiking shorts, stadium jackets, vests). Among the newer-looking newer-looking newer-looking items: Britches is selling a new corduroy shirt with the ubiquitous banded collar ($42.50) as well as camper-style camper-style camper-style corduroy hiking shorts ($19.99). Stores are also carrying wool shirts with button-down button-down button-down corduroy collar and designer Tommy Hilfiger offers offers pleated pants in wide-wale wide-wale wide-wale corduroy (about $60). And corduroy items can be found at national chains like JC Penney, come back Kmart and Sears. So why the appeal? appeal? Merchants point first and foremost foremost to its versatility. Just like khakis during the warmer months, corduroy slacks can go casual casual with a polo shirt, sweater or light jacket, or be combined combined in a spiffier tie-and-sportcoat tie-and-sportcoat tie-and-sportcoat tie-and-sportcoat tie-and-sportcoat combination. "Corduroy gives you a real outdoor took, it's the perfect perfect fabric for tail-gating tail-gating tail-gating at football games," Levy says. Perhaps more importantly, it gives you that out-doorsy out-doorsy out-doorsy look without without the requirement requirement that you actually do something something outdoors. It's not necessarily necessarily for the guy who goes out kayaking and mountain-climbing mountain-climbing mountain-climbing it's for the guy who wants to look like he does," says Laura McNeill, director of marketing and promotions for Layered (or warmth versatile cool-weather cool-weather cool-weather Britches, with cor- cor- porate headquarters headquarters based in Herndon, Va. Corduroy of course is also popular because because it's affordable most any single piece can be had for less than $60 and available. Corduroy clothing can be found in department department stores in any mall in the nation, and specialty shops such as Brooks Brothers or Structure offer their own interpretations. And don't forget its durability. Corduroy Corduroy is a heavy fabric, a fact brought about by how it is manufactured: The cloth is first cut to leave a soft, Ph ft ; $ i v ii, VI - ; '; : .,&;- .,&;- M -. -. ., .-.if .-.if .-.if l-l l-l l-l Gannett News Service and comfort, corduroy is back as a component of men's wardrobes. velvet-like velvet-like velvet-like surface. Leftover fiber foaming up from the base of the cloth is then combed back down to create the trademark straight ridges known as "wales," which run along the length of the material. The width of these "wales" varies, with most breaking down into either "wide wale" at eight wales per inch or "pinwale" at 16 wales per inch. The wider wale is generally more stylish but less formal, while pinwale provides provides corduroy's more traditional and dressier look.