When you think of corduroy, chances are it’s in the context of autumn and winter dressing. After all, it’s a relatively heavy fabric, and one that’s most often used to make cold-weather clothing like thick trousers, warm shirts and durable outerwear. You tend to see it in earthy colours too, which fuels the notion that this is a fabric for the cooler half of the year.
But corduroy doesn’t have to be ditched until the temperature drops – not if you invest in a pair of corduroy shorts.
When you think about it, making shorts from corduroy actually makes a lot of sense. This soft and stretchy fabric offers comfort when moving around, and it’s much more visually interesting in terms of texture than the boring old cotton twill you’ll find in the average pair of chino shorts. This makes it a great alternative to the more popular short options, helping your summer outfits to stand out from the crowd.
Thinking of adding a pair of corduroy shorts to your summer legwear rotation? We don’t blame you. Keep reading to find out more about this often-overlooked warm-weather option, including what to look for and where to buy it.
As with any garment, fit is the most important factor to consider when shopping for a pair of corduroy shorts. Cuts vary from loose and baggy to slim fitting, but regardless of the style of shorts, they should fit snug in the waist.
This means they should stay up without a belt, but they shouldn’t be cutting off your circulation either. Try a few pairs on to get a feel for the right size.
You probably think of earthy, autumnal shades like brown and burnt orange when you hear the word corduroy. When it comes to shorts, these colours are still fine, but you could consider some lighter options too.
Cream, beige and even pastel tones all work well for this types of garment, so feel free to go a little more summery with the colour palette.
‘Wales’ are the fuzzy strips that give corduroy its distinctive textured feel and appearance. They vary in thickness, which can completely change the look and feel of a garment.
The higher the wale count, the thinner and more closely spaced the strips will be. So bear this in mind when shopping for your shorts.
Shorts length is subjective. Some people prefer something that sits just above the knee while others like the hem to sit high on the thigh.
In the interest of balance, we always suggest aiming somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
Uniqlo is one of a handful of wallet-friendly high-street stores that happens to carry corduroy shorts. They’re loose-fitting, cut an inch or two above the knee and are available in four versatile colours including bevy and cream.
They also feature a sort of hybrid waist that boasts a combo of belt loops, a touch of elastic and a drawstring to dial the fit right in.
Shop now at Uniqlo
Polo Ralph Lauren is always our go-to label when it comes to preppy essentials at mid-range prices, and that extends to corduroy shorts too.
The brand’s Prepster corduroy shorts have a roomy cut and finish fairly high up the thigh for a retro look. They also have a drawstring waist and polo-player logo to the left leg.
Shop now at Farfetch
If you’re not already familiar with Admiral Sporting Goods then now’s as good a time as any to get acquainted. You might recognise the name from cricket kits and football strips, but this pared-back line takes inspiration from the athletic gear of years gone by.
Granted, corduroy shorts were never really all that common on the playing field, but the Leicester-based brand still makes some great ones, featuring a distinctive ‘waffle corduroy’ fabric that gives them an unusual textured appearance.
Shop now at Admiral Sporting Goods
Save Khaki is all about doing the simple things well. It’s the sort of brand you could easily build an entire does-it-all wardrobe out of, and corduroy shorts would slot right in.
The brand’s Easy Corduroy Shorts are comfortable, available in a range of muted colours and readily available from the likes of Mr Porter.
Adjustment is taken care of by a drawstring at the waist and there’s a patch pocket to the rear to finish them off.
Shop now at END.
Scottish label Kestin is a great place to pick up laid-back casual pieces, whether it’s an unstructured twill blazer or a pair of corduroy shorts.
The brand’s Inverness shorts are roomy and comfortable with a drawstring and elasticated waist and a nice breezy cut that puts the hem a couple of inches above the knee.
Shop now at END.
If money is no object, then Drake’s is one of the best brands out there for dapper casualwear, off-beat tailored pieces and quirky prints and patterns.
Its fatigue corduroy shorts aren’t the cheapest on the market, but they are some of the coolest – boasting patch pockets, belt loops to the waist and needle-thin wales for some understated texture.
Shop now at MR PORTER
Don’t let the name fool you, Portuguese Flannel does make all of its clothing in Europe’s textile capital, but there’s far more to this brand than top-drawer flannel shirts.
In fact, the brand’s offering extends to legwear too, including some excellent corduroy cut-offs. There are plenty of understated colour options, or you could go for a more eye-catching multi-coloured patchwork design if you’re after something different.
Shop now at END.
Founded by the world’s greatest surfer, Kelly Slater, Outerknown is a label that places equal focus on aesthetics and sustainability.
The brand is known for its laid-back yet high-quality casualwear, and its corduroy shorts are some of the best in the business.
Shop now at MR PORTER
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