6 Tips for Wearing Corduroy Over 60, Stylists Say
Make this classic fabric work for you by following this tried-and-true guidance.
As far as fabrics go, you'd be hard-pressed to find one that's more cozy, thick, and durable than corduroy—which is part of what makes it a great choice if you're over 60.
"Corduroy is one of those versatile materials I love to mix whenever an outfit needs an edge," says Yenia Hernández Fonseca, a stylist, luxury fashion expert, and contributor to Margo Paige. "Its ribbed texture adds an instant visual interest and depth to your look. And since corduroy is soft and warm, you can easily make it your go-to fabric of choice for fall and winter—especially if you're looking into incorporating a retro vibe in your wardrobe."
According to Elizabeth Kosich, a certified image stylist and founder of Elizabeth Kosich Styling, it's also stiff and structured enough to look dressy yet soft enough to skew casual. "That said, balancing corduroy's bulk is an art, especially after 60 when minimizing silhouettes becomes a top priority," she explains. With that in mind, here are some of stylists' tips for sporting corduroy over 60.
Opt for neutrals.
There are multiple reasons why Fonseca advises sticking with neutrals—such as beige, brown, navy, gray, olive green, and black—when wearing corduroy. For one, neutral colors have a timeless, chic look that helps to ground your ensemble. Not only that, but these classic colors will mix and match more easily with your existing wardrobe.
Plus, neutrals allow you to have more fun with your shoes and accessories—for instance, with a patterned handbag or colorful earrings—says Peter Martinez, an independent stylist and consultant for Leather Skin Shop.
Choose a finer wale.
Not all corduroy is created equal. Specifically, it's important to pay attention to the wale—or the width of the tufted cords that make up the fabric.
Martinez advises avoiding thick or wide-wale corduroy, as it can add bulk and make you look older or heavier: "Instead, choose a fine or medium-wale corduroy for a more refined and flattering look."
If you do select a corduroy piece that has a wide wale texture, make sure to keep all the other elements of your outfit simple, streamlined, and fitted, says Kosich.
"A classic elephant wale corduroy trouser is a stylish autumn staple at any age," she explains. "Let the wide-wale texture be the star of the show by pairing it with a cashmere turtleneck or sweater set, statement belt, and smooth Chelsea boots, loafers, or pointy-toed pumps for an upscale look. Make sure the trouser pleats are not exaggerated to avoid bulk and look for other design details like heavy creases and pin tucking—which both have an elongating effect."
When wearing corduroy, always opt for pieces with a tailored fit rather than ones that are loose and less structured, says Fonseca. "A well-fitting pair of corduroy pants or a cool blazer will give you a more polished and sophisticated look," she explains.
Joe Manktelow-Pimm, a style expert and editor of 7Gents, suggests seeking out corduroy A-line skirts, which are both universally flattering and comfortable. "Avoid pieces that are overly trendy or too tight-fitting," he notes.
When in doubt, Kosich says you can't go wrong with corduroy suiting. "The pairing creates an outside column of color that lengthens the head-to-toe silhouette while minimizing bulk," she tells Best Life. "For a dressy look, style the suit with a white shirt, floppy silk bow at the neck, and kitten heels. Or, pair it with a graphic tee and leather platform sneakers for a casual, on-trend vibe."
Pair pieces with balance in mind.
According to Martinez, one of the best ways to avoid the dreaded bulky look with corduroy is to be mindful of your outfit's proportions. "For instance, if you wear a loose-fitting corduroy jacket, pair it with a fitted top and slim pants or jeans," he explains. "If you wear a tight-fitting corduroy skirt or dress, layer it with an oversized sweater or coat." Follow this technique and your ensemble will always look balanced.
Have fun mixing it with contrasting fabrics.
Martinez recommends mixing corduroy with materials like denim, wool, and silk to create some textural contrast and visual interest.
"Pairing your corduroy pieces with different textures and styles, such as a weighty corduroy mini skirt with a soft cashmere sweater, will create a beautiful tactile composition, and make your outfit feel modern and fresh," adds Fonseca.
Accessorize with leather.
Speaking of contrasting textures, stylists say the more rigid look of leather pairs beautifully with velvety soft corduroy.
For example, Dominique Dupuis, fashion expert and owner of URAD, suggests pairing corduroy slacks with a statement leather belt or sleek leather boots—which will give your outfit an unexpected contemporary edge.
A leather crossbody bag or moto jacket can also lend some much-needed toughness to your ensemble.
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