Editor’s note: For more great online shopping suggestions, swing through here.
Certain textures and fabrics just fit right in with the crisp climes of fall, just as certain fabrics fall right in line with the lightweight looks lots of us go for in the spring and summer. When even a great pair of denim can get slightly too monotonous, there are some excellent alternatives to grab out of your closet. And like we (or rather, just I) talk a lot about on The Style Guide, versatility is still going to be top of mind with that ultimate fall-centric pair of pants, an excellent pair of corduroys. They’ve gotten a much-needed 21st-century update from brands big and small in recent years, and even pairs cut with a straight fit are more tailored than the ones you may have worn as a young kid. That’s great news for wearing cords throughout fall and through winter – so basically, across the next four or five months. And in the shades that some brands are making them in, a pair of cords can definitely wear more like chinos or denim. Again, great news for all you shoppers out there just looking into some cords. With that being said, please do read on for the best picks outta the best pair of pants you can buy this fall.
#1. JackThreads Slim Corduroy Pant — $59.50
Yes, that’s not a typo above there. The E-commerce site that stocks a plethora of other brands recently released its first menswear collection, and its chock-full of well-done basics. That includes a line of knitwear, some denim and one stunning camel topcoat – and lest one forget about the cords, those hit a nice price-value ratio, too. The two colors offered are somewhat basic, but as mentioned above, the khaki color can wear quite a lot like chinos in terms of color combos – so bring on shades of navy and perhaps a nice chambray shirt. The hint of stretch built in is an added bonus. And it’ll be equally exciting to get a look at what the brand does in the future as far as its own product line — here’s to hoping those cords stick around.
#2. Bonobos French Corders — $128
This pair of cords might look familiar to those of you who frequently shop Bonobos – the brand’s corduroys have seemingly grown as much in popularity as its much-loved Washed Chinos or its Travel Jeans, and with three fit options and a multitude of colorways, you’d be hard-pressed to find something you wouldn’t like – or love – from the brand. Keep in mind that they also craft a dressier corduroy as well, but the classic French Corders are a little less cleaned-up and thus more versatile. The sleek shade of grey could help these wear a bit more like grey denim than your standard pair of cords. Note that the Tailored fit can definitely get a bit slim (like a Levi’s 511) but the rest of the cuts across the board keep that same Bonobos sizing and quality fabric – a good thing considering the bucks you might shell out to grab these.
#3. JACHS NY Navy Bowie Fit Stretch Corduroy Pant — $89
JACHS is one of those rare menswear brands who operates a small namesake shop and yet also has the guns of its own clothing brand name to back it up, much like heavyweights such as Saturdays Surf NYC. The JACHS name — and the cords in particular — have caught the eye of some stylish menswear bloggers, and they offer contemporary updates to classic style. That’s where this pair of corduroys in the brand’s Bowie fit comes in. Like the Bonobos brethren above, you’ll pay a bit of price for these — but the neutral colorway offers a good amount of variety for pairing with fall staples like a nice henley. Note that if the cords fit anything like the brand’s chinos (as featured in a recent L.A. trip post), the fit is more of a tapered straight cut through the knee and ankle.
#4. Grayers Caldwell 5-Pocket in Olive — $88
OK, so these aren’t technically a true corduroy pant at all — the Bedford cord fabric doesn’t have those distinctive wales that make corduroy …. well, corduroy. But these still make the list because that washed fabric, nice texture and great fall color would make them ideal for pairing with a merino wool cardigan or another classic transitional layer. Grayers hits things right down the fairway, much like JACHS NY, when it comes to pumping out prep staples at decent prices. But, the key when picking out a piece from a preppier brand is to stick with a darker color – reliable options like this olive will likely fit in better than, say, an eyepopping shade of orange. Like many of Grayers’ pieces, these pants fall in that nice in-between spectrum — they’ll pair with a navy blazer and leather chukka boots, but they’ll also look right at home with a great shawl cardigan or even a sportier crewneck sweater.
#5. J. Crew Vintage Cord in 484 Fit — $75 ($70 On-Sale)
J. Crew always seems to excel at the types of menswear staples you’d want in your closet, and this pair of cords is no exception. The deep “Belgian chocolate” color is practically begging to be worn with some black Chelsea boots and a great fall sweater for your next weekend brunch, although the other color options are equally nice. The handsanded detailing and sulphur dying process should give them a real lived-in feel, a welcome change of pace from the sturdy denim to which you might be accustomed. J. Crew’s 484 fit definitely leans quite slim but if that’s up your alley, then go for it. Based on some in-store observations, the quality is definitely consistent with what most of us expect from J. Crew. Note that the brand also offers a slim-straight fit (the 1040) and an even more accommodating 770 fit.
While many brands are getting fall-centric trousers right, it was still tough to narrow down the list. Classic brands like Save Khaki , and contemporary outlets like Saturdays Surf NYC are offering their own takes on five-pocket pants that can compete with cords for your closet space. The bottom line is this: whichever brand or pair you pick up this fall, there’s no question that a great set of cords can complete many looks, from a henley and leather sneakers to a wool blazer and a chambray shirt.
Let me know — which pick on this list has caught your eye? What’s your go-to corduroy brand?