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How To Wear Corduroy In The Summer (The Right Way)

March 21, 2023
How To Wear Corduroy In The Summer (The Right Way)

While it’s important to consider the weather when choosing your outfit, reserving a specific fabric for specific types of weather might be a waste. The question is, can you wear corduroy in the summer? 

Both corduroy pants and shirts can be worn in the summer as long as they are lightweight enough to feel comfortable in warm weather. Stick to corduroy with a high number of wales per inch (ideally more than 14) in order to make sure of this. 

In general, however, it’s best to avoid corduroy blazers in the summer, as they’re likely to always be too heavy to wear as an outerlayer. Consider a linen or lightweight cotton blazer instead.

Although that’s the short answer, as always, there’s more to it. 

Stick to the following tips to make sure you wear corduroy in the summer in the most comfortable and effective way possible. 

corduroy pants and t-shirt
Image From Deposit Photos

1. Make Sure It Isn’t Roasting Hot

While it’s possible to wear corduroy in warm summer weather, it’s best to avoid it when it’s very hot. 

The rugged, tufted cords of corduroy can be very insulating, making it pretty difficult to cool down when you want to. 

Choosing the right type of corduroy (more on this shortly) will make things a whole lot more breathable. 

But there are certain climates that are so hot and humid that even the most breathable type of corduroy will be too warm. 

The bottom line here is that corduroy, no matter what clothing item we’re talking about, would be more appropriate in milder summer temperatures. 

2. Choose Lightweight Corduroy

The main feature of corduroy to watch out for when wearing it in the summer is the weight. 

Corduroy can vary widely in terms of how heavy it feels and the main thing that determines this is the number of “wales” per inch. 

The “wales” are those typical striped ribs that run along the length of the corduroy fabric. It’s what corduroy is best known for. 

In short, the higher the wale number, the finer those wales will be and the lighter it will feel. 

As an example, classic corduroy typically has 14 wales/inch. 

But you can also get very lightweight corduroy with 22 wales/inch, as well as corduroy with very chunky 3 wales/inch. 

lightweight corduroy fabric
Lightweight corduroy fabric with a high number of wales per inch 

Image From Deposit Photos

As you’d expect, the lighter your corduroy, the more comfortable it’ll feel in the warm summer weather. 

chunky corduroy
Chunky corduroy with fewer wales per inch. This would feel pretty uncomfortable in the summer

Image From Deposit Photos

But it won’t just feel more comfortable. It’ll also look less awkward. Chunky corduroy just looks awkward and out of place when worn in warm weather. 

On the other hand, lightweight corduroy with very fine wales may not even draw much notice. Those wales can get so fine that they’re only really noticeable when seen up close. 

For example, here’s a lightweight, fine-wale corduroy cap on Amazon. 

3. Go For Bright Colors

The beauty of corduroy is that you can often get it in pretty wild and wonderful colors. Bright, bold, striking – it’s great. 

The great thing about wearing corduroy in the summer is that these bright and even pastel colors just happen to be ideal for the season. 

Feel free to use your corduroy item – whether it’s corduroy pants or a hat – to add a splash of color to your outfit. 

To keep things well-balanced, consider going a little neutral with the other items you’re wearing. It’ll make it easier to go wilder with your corduroy without the risk of a color clash. 

Here’s an example of bright khaki brown corduroy pants on Amazon. It isn’t exactly pastel, but it’s bright enough to potentially work well in the summer. 

4. Cuff Corduroy Pants

If you’re wearing corduroy pants, consider cuffing them in the summer. 

Exposing your ankles will feel more comfortable in warm weather and also just produces a great summer aesthetic. 

Going for skinny corduroy pants will make it pretty difficult to cuff them, so make sure you’ve got enough fabric there to work with. 

While it may be possible to cuff them up to your knees, avoid this as it rarely ever looks stylish. 

In general, it’s best to restrict yourself to a double cuff at a maximum. In other words, don’t roll the hem of your corduroy pants up more than twice. 

If you do cuff your corduroy pants, wear a low-cut, ankle-exposing shoe such as a pair of boat shoes, moccasins, or loafers. 

While you could go without wearing socks, no-show socks would always be a more comfortable and hygienic alternative. 

But try to make sure your socks aren’t visible or at least only reach as high as your ankle.

5. Stick To One Corduroy Item Only 

One lightweight corduroy item is probably the most you could really get away with in the summer. 

Two lightweight corduroy items and you’ve probably taken things a step too far. 

At the end of the day, it’s important to recognize that corduroy is a fabric that’s a lot more suitable for colder months such as winter and fall. 

Trying to cram too much corduroy into a summer outfit will look awkward and out of place. 

In addition, it’ll all feel pretty uncomfortable. 

So, stick to one item only – a corduroy hat, a corduroy pair of pants, a lightweight corduroy jacket, or anything else. 

Pair the corduroy item with more summer-friendly fabrics for the rest of your outfit. A lightweight cotton T-shirt, a pair of linen pants, etc. 

It’ll feel more comfortable and also look a lot more weather-appropriate. 

The trick is to compensate for the more unusual choice of corduroy in the summer with more usual and summer-friendly items of clothing. 

6. It Works Best As Evening Wear 

While you could confidently wear the right corduroy item during a warm summer day if you stick to the tips above, restricting it to evening wear will make things a lot easier. 

Summer evenings can actually get surprisingly cold, depending on where you happen to be in the world. 

Wearing a corduroy item in these temperatures is very unlikely to draw any awkward stares. 

It may be summer, but the temperature is low enough to require warmer clothing. Corduroy would be ideal, as would other items such as denim jackets. 

They may not be the fabrics typically associated with the summer, but they’re ideal for times when the temperature drops no matter what season it happens to be. 

In the summer evenings, don’t overthink it. 

If it feels cold enough to wear a “warmer” fabric to insulate yourself, wear that corduroy without thinking twice about whether it’s appropriate or not. 

There’s a great chance that it is. 

7. Corduroy Shorts Do Exist

There are definitely corduroy items out there that are designed to be worn in the summer. Corduroy shorts would be the best example. 

Here’s an example of a pair of corduroy shorts on Amazon as an example: 

The example shows a pair made from corduroy that isn’t even especially lightweight. It’s 14 wales/inch which is pretty typical for regular corduroy. 

But it would still clearly be appropriate to wear in the summer. In fact, trying to do so in other, colder months would probably come across pretty strange. 

So, if you’re a fan of corduroy and want to be sure you can wear the fabric year-round, consider getting yourself a pair of corduroy shorts for the summer.

8. Add Some Summer Accessories

When wearing corduroy in the summer, the risk is that you come across as someone that just doesn’t know how to dress for the season. To offset this risk, make it extra clear you know what you’re doing with you’re other items.

Wearing summer-friendly items such as shorts will definitely help, but accessorized are a cheat code in men’s style.

Use them accordingly.

Summer-friendly accessories you could consider include a baseball cap, a bucket hat, or a pair of Wayfarer sunglasses.

9. Choose The Right Shoes

Again, it comes down to making it clear you know how to dress for the weather, despite going for the more unusual choice of corduroy in the summer.

So, consider a pair of loafers in dressier settings. In more relaxed environments, boat shoes, moccasins, and espadrilles would also be great summer choices.

10. Careful With Layers

When wearing corduroy, especially corduroy shirts, be extra careful with layering as you don’t want to overheat. A tweed blazer over a corduroy shirt is going to be very uncomfortable during the summer.

Instead, consider a linen or lightweight cotton blazer if you wanted to dress your corduroy shirt up a notch.

In general, however, a lightweight corduroy shirt alone would be more than enough in the summer.

As mentioned earlier, try to avoid wearing corduroy blazers in the summer altogether – they’ll just feel too heavy.

11. Wash Them Regularly

Wearing your corduroy in the summer is probably going to lead to more sweating than you would usually be used to.

Because of this, it’s even more important to maintain and wash them accordingly.

Gentle wash cycles would be a good idea. If the corduroy is dark, cold water would usually be best. Pastel colors can usually tolerate warm water unless the instructions on the label say otherwise.