Corduroy

Chad Everett starred in a ’60s TV drama called “Medical Center.” I couldn’t find any photos of him wearing a corduroy jacket so perhaps it was only in my dreams. But here’s a photo from the NY Times for anyone who wants to imagine with me.

Apparently, corduroy has been around for a couple of centuries. But I remember corduroy from the ‘60s (1960s) when men had sport coats made out of corduroy and with patches on the elbows. Whether he wore one or not, I’ve always associated the patched-elbow corduroy jacket with actor Chad Everett who starred in a 1960s TV drama called “Medical Center.” That image, in itself, was enough to endear me to the man’s corduroy jacket.

Even before that, I can recall a pair of corduroy pants I had as a kid. They were warm and comfortable. But as I grew older, I got so I avoided cords because when I walked into a room, everyone already knew I was coming because they could hear my cords swishing as one leg passed the other. Cords were noisy. I felt uncool in them.

Once again, cords have made a comeback. Technology has changed so that there’s no “swish-swish” as I walk down a hall or into a room. I’m not sure what changed, but people don’t know I’m coming before I get there.

I’ve experimented with wide-wale corduroys and narrow-wale cords. My preference in the narrow wale but the wide wale is what’s in style now. The width of the wale is simply how many of those vertical strips of fabric there are to an inch.

As I recall, my mom ironed my corduroys because everything used to get ironed. Once ironed, cords develop a shiny flat look to them. Also uncool. Don’t iron corduroy. A tag on a relatively new pair I possess says a “cool iron” can be used on them. Again, not cool. Take them out of the dryer as soon as possible and fold them flat. I like to match the leg seams and then fold them, creating an ironed-like crease down the front and the back.

Here’s a wide-wale corduroy jacket with elbow patches. This style has been around for a long time in various cuts and styles. This one is pretty contemporary. When I came to admire them, a man would always wear a collared shirt to accompany. [Internet photo]

I got to thinking about cords again today because we’re entering another frigid spell here in the upper Midwest. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how something constructed of mostly cotton can be so much warmer than a pair of jeans, but they are. And cords are often classy enough to wear for work or even an evening out. I wore my black cords to a matinee of the Milwaukee Symphony on New Year’s Eve. There was enough noise that no one would have heard me coming regardless of modern technology. I suppose I’ll be wearing cords for most of the next three months.

There you have my treatise on corduroy. A functional, warm, often classy fabric from which jackets, pants, entire suits, and even furniture covering is constructed. I just wish I could find a picture of Chad Everett in a corduroy jacket with elbow patches. And if he were smoking a pipe, it would be that much better.

 

10 I clothed you with embroidered cloth and with sandals of fine leather; I bound you in fine linen and covered you with rich fabric.” – Ezekiel 16:10

 

9            From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
and cold from the scattering winds.
10             By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.” – Job 37:9-10

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5 comments for “Corduroy

  1. Susan
    January 4, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    I made a corduroy jumper as a “final” for a sewing class at Singer in the Mall that mom made me take (since I avoided Home Ec classes at Central like the plague). I wish someone had told me that I needed to cut the material the same direction to avoid my finished piece looking two toned! Sigh…

  2. Susan Norby
    January 4, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    I remember wearing home-made plaid corduroy slacks under our dresses in the winter when we were in grade school many moons ago. (Uncool, but we didn’t know it back then!)

  3. January 4, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    I had completely forgotten my green corduroy jumper, Susan, until you mentioned yours. I had mine in college…probably high school too. But I cringed at the thought of someone not telling you about cutting the material in the same direction. I can imagine how you felt about that because I’ve been there. And, Susan Norby, I had also forgotten about wearing corduroy slacks under my dresses to school too. I remember backing into the coat closet (we didn’t have “cloak rooms”) and pulling my dress up from the back and the slacks down, trying to avoid having the boys see anything. And they were trying. It was embarrassing.

    • Susan
      January 4, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      In the exercise classes I lead, I always refer to the inner thigh muscle as my “corduroy” muscle…because when I walk, the corduroy would “whistle.”

  4. Diane
    January 4, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    I always snicker when I see such photos, and wonder what the casting director was thinking. I’m not trying to imply you have to be homely to be smart enough to be a doctor, but have you EVER gone to a doctor who looked like this? It always seemed to me that anyone who was blond and that good looking — especially with a name like CHAD — ought to be out hanging ten on a surfboard instead of diagnosing life-or-death cases in the ER. As for corduroy, there was a time in the 70s when I was in college that bib overalls were “in”. Since I attended UW-Oshkosh, I naturally rushed out to the famous Oshkosh B’Gosh store and came back to campus sporting a pair of navy, narrow-wale corduroy bibs. My “street cred” must have really soared that day! (not!)

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