Corduroy, as we know it today, has a rich sartorial history that first began with an ancient Egyptian weave called ‘fustian.’ However, once the global cotton trade expanded into Europe throughout the 12th-14th centuries, it began to encompass any and all types of textiles featuring a raised texture and a cotton-based construction. As such, by the 18th Century, there were many varieties of fustian on the market, with more opulent examples deemed suitable for royalty and lesser alternatives competing with wool amongst the masses. It was around this time that the fabric was finally dubbed ‘corduroy’ — a name taken from the French phrase corde du roi (or “cloth of kings”).
Nevertheless, by the 19th century, corduroy had become widely popular amongst farmers for its long-lasting durability and rigid wear properties — to the point that it soon fell out of favor with the high-rolling elite. Such success would continue well into the 1920s and 30s, with the material being primarily used for children’s clothing as well as work and sportswear. Since that time, corduroy has ridden no shortage of fleeting fashion trends, but for every instance that it’s gone out of style, it’s quickly bounced back with a renewed vigor. To put it another way — the very fact that cord can come back from such unfashionable exile is proof enough that it’s here and here to stay. Granted, pants often get the lion’s share of the attention, but a quality corduroy shirt is an essential part of every man’s wardrobe. And while we could riff on the merits of this super material for days on end, instead we’ll let it do the talking. So relax, kick back, and read on to see what we’ve picked for the best corduroy shirts.
Uniqlo Corduroy Long Sleeve Shirt
Ever the purveyor of affordable fashion pieces, Uniqlo proves once again that informed style doesn’t have to break the bank. For instance, their Corduroy Long Sleeve Shirt is crafted from 100% cotton with a hefty 21-wale corduroy and a thin layer of air between the fibers, a combination that ensures you look the part while keeping you warm in the process. And because it comes with double-stitched seams and a slightly boxier cut through the shoulders and body, it offers an incredibly comfortable fit that’s perfect for casual settings.
L.L. Bean Lakewashed Corduroy Shirt
L.L. Bean has been making high-quality heritage-inspired outdoor gear for over 100 years now, so it goes without saying that their Lakewashed Corduroy Shirt would be a cut above the rest. In practice, you’ll find the Maine-based brand has more than delivered because it’s made from a mid-weight 14-wale cord that’s been pre-washed for a broken-in feel from day one. Add to that features like a pair of buttoned front chest pockets, triple-needle stitching, and some contrasting trim for a bit of flair, and you have a shirt that would do Leon Leonwood Bean proud.
Everlane Corduroy Shirt
As is the case with each of Everlane’s offerings, this Corduroy Shirt makes for a package priced well below what it should be. That’s because, in addition to an 18-wale cord fabric, they’ve also given a bit of added elastane, meaning that although it’s a bit more refined in appearance it’s equally — if not more — comfortable than the above picks. Whether you’re looking for a more fashionable flannel alternative or just trying to dress down your oxford rotation, don’t sleep on this one.
Madewell Corduroy Perfect Shirt
While most people think of Madewell as little other than female-focused J. Crew, the sister brand has more than its fair share of stylish menswear staples. Their Corduroy Perfect Shirt is exactly that — perfect. With its responsible cotton construction, slightly trim fit, and shorter curved hem, it looks great however you wear it. In other words, whether that’s layered with a tee, untucked on its own, or paired with some slacks, the Corduroy Perfect Shirt is one option that’s sure to elevate your appearance.
Flint And Tinder Western Corduroy Button Down
By the turn of the 19th century, corduroy had gone from an exotic luxury item for the rich to a practical, protective textile for the masses, and one particularly popular use was as an overshirt for ranchers. Flint And Tinder’s Western Corduroy Button Down embodies the garment’s utilitarian roots to a tee, using snaps instead of buttons and a wale that’s as handsome as it is hard-wearing. But the best part is that it’s made right here in the USA.
Buck Mason Black Pincord One Pocket Workshirt
Los Angeles’ Buck Mason was founded on the principle of bringing classic heritage Americana into the 21st century, and you’ll find this proves especially applicable with the Pincord One Pocket Workshirt. So, even though it’s technically been modeled after a vintage work shirt, it’s been updated with a lightweight corduroy material, a loose-fitting full width, and a slight sweep to the hem. It’s not for nothing that this remains one of the brand’s best-selling offerings.
Ralph Lauren Classic Fit Corduroy Shirt
Corduroy may have a history well-steeped with the working man, but that’s not to say that it can’t be dressed up for formal occasions. On the contrary — as you’ll find with this option from Ralph Lauren, it’s more than capable of adding a bit of refinement to your fit. For starters, it’s based on the classic Polo button-down, meaning that it offers a roomy cut with a sharp point collar, buttoned barrel cuffs, and (of course) an embroidered pony. And because it’s made with super-fine wale cord, you better believe it’s as soft as they come.
Carhartt WIP Madison Button-Down
Since 1989, Carhartt’s Work In Progress (WIP) division has sought to transform the brand’s utilitarian workwear into a line of stylish street-ready staples. When it comes to the Madison Button-Down, this means that, in addition to a hardy wide-wale cotton-corduroy, you’ll also find a smart curved hem and a warm ‘Brandy’ garment wash. What results is a shirt that’s as smart as it is substantial, equally at home in the office or after-hours grabbing a round with the guys.
Outerknown Townes Corduroy Shirt
If Outerknown hasn’t crossed your radar by now, do yourself a favor and brush up on the brand’s history — it’s a sustainable side project helmed by former pro surfer Kelly Slater. In any case, their Townes shirt isn’t just some token eco-friendly effort; it’s a prime example of what responsible fashion can be. Made from 100% organic cotton with some smooth felled seams for durability, it’s even available in two eye-catching colors — Henna and Sand.
Gitman Vintage Tan Corduroy Loop Collar
Although Gitman’s Vintage label was launched in 2008, the brand has a history that begins with Max Gitman opening a garment factory all the way back in 1932. In other words, the Gitman family knows its way around a quality work shirt. Inspired by the silhouettes of earlier archives, it features a classic button-down body that comes complemented by an open camp collar and a french front. Cut and sewn in the Gitman Pennsylvania factory, it makes for one of the few truly American-made shirts on the market.
Barbour White Label Nico Corduroy-Trimmed Cotton-Twill Overshirt
Okay, so this one isn’t technically an out-and-out corduroy shirt, but its tonal cord collar made it too good to pass up. And let’s face it — no list of heritage-inspired work shirts would be complete without Barbour. Details aside, though, the combination of a durable cotton twill fabric with some snap button fastenings proves a welcome alternative in a market rife with imitators.
Todd Snyder Micro Corduroy Shirt
Just because corduroy often skews more towards functional outerwear than it does fashionable layer piece doesn’t mean that you have to skimp on top-shelf materials. On the contrary, as evidenced by Todd Snyder’s Micro Cord Shirt, it’s entirely possible to get some premium 100% Portuguese Cotton in an otherwise blue-collar button-down. Finished off with pointed yolks and some 3-button cuffs for a classic Western aesthetic, this is one option that’s well worth a look.
Norse Projects Osvald Corduroy
Norse Projects is a brand that exclusively trades in understated Nordic simplicity, and you’ll find that the Osvald Corduroy shirt is no exception. Cut with a roomy classic fit, it comes crafted from an 18-wale Corduroy woven by Duca Visconti (an Italian mill that’s been in operation since 1838). And when you consider that it also sports some elegant mother of pearl buttons, a front chest pocket, and a clean, branding-free exterior, the result is a shirt that doesn’t need flash or filigree to distinguish itself.
Acne Studios Corduroy Shirt
In recent years, Stockholm-based Acne Studios has made quite the name for itself with its edgy takes on time-tested clothing designs — a formula that’s worked once again with the Corduroy Shirt pictured here. Toeing the line between shirt and jacket, it’s slightly oversized with a wide-ribbed cord for a more relaxed look. But thanks to its snap buttons through the placket and cuffs, it’s more than possible to tailor the fit to your particular wardrobe.
Feeling Blue: 10 Best Denim Shirts For Men
While there’s no denying that corduroy is well-deserving of its recent popularity, admittedly, it’s not for everyone. If you’re looking for an alternative to this cotton-turned textile, be sure to check out our guide to the best denim shirts for men.
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