Striking the Right Cord

“Where can I buy the best cords?” a friend of mine once asked, keenly stirring their foamy, sickly Starbucks coffee as they read my face for a response. I sat there, gazing out of the window, inwardly smiling; ‘the best’ is often asked for in this manner, as though it were some club secret of an underground society; stern and steely, the searcher asks for such trifles with the gravity of a police officer requesting the location of a missing witness. People take ‘the best’ very seriously indeed. However, I was not particularly inspired by the commonplace conversation until the friend asked his second question; “And also” he began, slurping his muddy glug of caffeine and sugar, “what colour do you think is best?”

I had always been of the opinion that cords were an autumnal trouser; keeping the tanned legs of summer warm in the cooling air of October. Most of the cords I own are therefore of autumnal colours; burgundy, like the leaves of the maple, moss and Army green. Like many, I choose for my colours to reflect the season; the vitality and saturation of spring and summer hues contrasting with the darkened, dying colours of autumn and winter. However, there are those who choose an alternative sartorial philosophy and defy the seasons by adopting rich and life-affirming tones in the darkest times of year. There is something to be said for this resistance.

Cords provide an opportunity to express one’s philosophy. A tie may help, ditto a pocket square but it is the corduroy trouser, the rich velvety pair of cords, that permit such an expanse of colourful expression as the weather begins to cool.

The Reluctant


For those who consider brightly coloured cords to be a considerable embarrassment, ranking alongside surprise renditions of ‘Happy Birthday’ and rhythm-clapping, the muted tones of navy blue, moss green and Bordeaux (at a push) are for you. All types of tweed and flannel jacket will suit – a light-grey flannel jacket with the Bordeaux is a particularly enticing combination – and such trousers are unlikely to attract any unwanted attention.

The Willing


For those eager to join the ranks of the resistance but unwilling to stick their neck out and risk the consternation of passing elderly ladies, a pair of bottle green, cinnamon or mustard corduroy trousers are the perfect choices. All will partner a flannel navy blazer or a tweed jacket exceptionally well and will be ideal for country weekends, sober enough for visits to the in-laws and vibrant enough to attract admiring glances.

The Brave


For those who wish to blast the dark, depressing death of autumn with defiant colours that reflect the more brilliant seasons of the year, bright pink, yellow and papal purple are the ideal choices. None but the brave will attempt these luxurious colours. You will receive looks, and comments, so beware.