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How To Wear Corduroy Now That It's Officially Cool Again

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Corduroy is a mainstay for fall, but with a distinctly nostalgic feel, it can dig up dark, bell-bottomed memories of the '70s for some. However, designers shook off nerdy notions for Fall/Winter 2018 with ultra-modern styles on deck from flared trousers to tailored blazers and oversized coats in both autumnal shades and the season's must-try vivid hues. In other words, cords are cool again and figuring out how to wear corduroy with a modern feel should be a high priority on your fall style list.

A few seasons ago, Céline (as in Phoebe Philo’s old Céline) and Isabel Marant were two designers responsible for putting corduroy back on the map — each female designer delivered a range of colorfully tufted pants in hot pink and yellow — and now, according to industry insiders from stylists to buyers, the trend has peaked for late 2018.

“Corduroy was made to look very luxe on the Altuzarra Fall/Winter 2018 runway via cropped flared trousers in jewel tones like eggplant and teal,” says stylist and brand consultant Rachael Wang. “The freshest interpretation for me though, actually came from Isabel Marant's Resort 2019 collection which pared bubblegum pink corduroy separates with unexpected colors like pumpkin and true red.”

Lauren Santo Domingo in Céline corduroy trousers. Photo: Pixelformula/SIPA/Shutterstock

For Shopbop’s fashion director, Caroline Maguire, indie labels Mira Mikati and Jour/ne delivered on achingly fresh cords this fall, from a corduroy coat with fringe detail on the back (that she recommends pairing with western boots and a mini bag) to a two-piece suit. “A power blazer with matching bottoms is the ultimate fall uniform,” she says.

Yoyo Cao in a corduroy suit by Prada. Photo: Silvia Olsen/Shutterstock

Lisa Ruffle, a buyer at Moda Operandi, attributes corduroy’s new cool-factor to the wave of '70s influence spotted throughout the fall collections and suggests tailored pieces when aiming for a modern look, whether you wear a head-to-toe set or a textured blazer in a bright color. If you’re more of a sartorial risk taker, Wang suggests, “try pairing corduroy pants or a blazer with an edgy '80s shoe like a pointy red cone heel boot for an updated take on the nostalgic '70s fabric.”

Leaf Greener in a coblt corduroy jacket. Photo: Olivier Degoulange/Shutterstock

A standout on the runway, corduroy made a similar splash on the street-style circuit throughout fashion month. It girls from Charlotte Groeneveld (you know her as @thefashionguitar on Instagram) to Sofia Sanchez de Betak showcased a range of new-season corduroy, including neutral-leaning outfits for those feeling hesitant of the trend.

Charlotte Groeneveld in a corduroy blazer. Photo: Shutterstock

“Neutral cords, as seen from A.W.A.K.E., pair beautifully with feminine blouses,” says Maguire. “I love a great wide-leg cord trouser or skirt with an oversized novelty knit on top, too.” If you’re looking for a low-commitment approach to cords, Ruffle says to swap them for jeans. “We loved the slouchy, wide-leg corduroy trousers from Goldsign as a great alternative to denim,” the Moda Operandi buyer shares.

Annabel Rosendahl in brown corduroy trousers. Photo: Shutterstock

Whether you're a corduroy novice or super-fan, shop the edit below and put Wang, Ruffle, and Maguire's so-now styling tips to the test. You'll nail that quintessentially fall look in no time.