Corduroy pants have earned an unfair reputation for being stuffy and stiff — less stylish, less comfortable, and less flattering than jeans. But none of that’s true. A good pair of cords is not only a cozier alternative to denim but also a much cooler-looking one. So, in an effort to dust off this oft-overlooked pant, we asked 16 cool people — including stylists, designers, and several corduroy-obsessed Strategist staffers — where they found their favorite corduroys. And while you’re probably wondering why you’d invest in pants that aren’t sweatpants right now, many of our experts assure that these are every bit as soft and stretchy as your favorite loungewear.
Best corduroy pants under $75
“Thirty-dollar corduroy pants that are both size inclusive and stylish? What more could you want?” asks Austen Tosone, beauty and fashion content creator at Keep Calm and Chiffon. She thinks these are an excellent alternative to denim and particularly likes the emerald green, calling it “perfect for fall.” This pair goes up to a size 18 for regular sizes and 26W in plus sizes. The plus-size range is almost sold out, but there is a skinny fit still available in a wide size range.
This budget buy also comes courtesy of Tosone. She describes these as being “perfect for women working from home who miss the office life,” because they’re slouchy enough for WFH but are nice enough to wear in professional settings (whenever we return to those). These corduroys are available in khaki and ecru, and Tosone is partial to the latter because it lends itself to “epic autumn styling,” she says.
“It’s superhard to find good-quality corduroy pants, but these BDG cords stretch and are great for curvy girls,” says Tyla-Lauren Gilmore, a digital content creator. BDG offers lots of different corduroy pants, including a flattering wide leg that comes in bubblegum pink and a slouchy retro-looking style in a pleasing teal, but this pair offers the most colors — from chartreuse, to bright blue, to dusty coral — and sizes go up to 34.
And then, of course, there’s Old Navy, which has previously been recommended to us as a great place to buy pants. Kristine Thompson, founder of Trendy Curvy, calls this pair a “classic corduroy pant.” Because they’re a pretty basic style — skinny with a neutral color and high waist — Thompson notes they “can be interchangeable with denim and add more dimension to your looks.” They also come in tall and petite inseams and are available in straight sizes, too.
Gilmore says, “Levi’s always fit perfectly,” and while the brand is better known for denim, she thinks its corduroys are just as good. This pair isn’t identical to the ones she owns, but it has a similar high-rise fit and comes in the same burgundy color she thinks is “perfect for fall.” Much like its jeans, Levi’s offers four inseam options, and the cords also come in khaki and pink.
“I have always found that thin wale corduroys (especially slim-fitting ones with stretch) create the illusion of curvier, plumper thighs. Since that’s not my goal, the only ones I feel confident wearing are a baggier vintage pair of high-waisted corduroys from L.L.Bean in the ’90s,” says Strategist writer Liza Corsillo, who describes these vintage ones on Etsy as “medium wale.” As she explains, they’re “not so thin as to look like velvet, but not so fat as to look like something the Big Lebowski would wear.” While these aren’t the exact pair she has — they’re vintage, after all — she says these are pretty close and have the same pleating and high waist. “I pull them out as soon as the weather gets chilly, dressing them up with heeled No.6 loafers and white socks for a flirty-librarian look.”
Best corduroy pants under $100
Strategist-favorite brand Everlane offers several corduroy options, but this wide-leg pair in particular received high praise from two of our resident Everlaneologists. Strategist staffer Mia Leimkuhler says that, while she doesn’t own these cords yet, she’s intrigued by their shape and stretch factor. “They look really soft and comfortable, and the wide-cut legs mean I can wear them over tights or leggings when it gets really cold,” she says. Elizabeth DuBois, strategic account manager at Justworks, bought them after what she tells us was a long hunt for the perfect pair. “I couldn’t really find any corduroy pants anywhere, which I find bizarre,” she says. “They were such a thing when I was growing up.” Finally she landed on these and loves them. “Cords are such a classic, and I feel a bit dressier when I wear this style,” DuBois says, even though she’s mostly just wearing them while working from home. She also confirms that they’re just as comfortable as Leimkuhler predicted. This wide-leg pair comes in four different colors — acorn, black, blue, and sandstorm — and goes up to a size 16. The inseam is just under 29 inches, so if you’re on the taller side, check out this pair that has a 31-inch inseam.
Two of our experts love Madewell’s classic Emmett wide-leg pant in corduroy. “It’s one of my hero pieces,” says Laura Supnik, a Brooklyn-based illustrator. “I can count on the Emmett for a consistently great fit, and they look good on a lot of different body types,” she adds, noting notes that the corduroy version is no exception. Andrea Hartman, founder of Seasons + Salt, specifically mentions the “butt-enhancing back pockets” that make the pants extra-flattering. Hartman suggests pairing them with “high-top Chucks and a ruffle blouse.”
These J.Crew cords are pretty similar to the Madewell ones — cropped, wide-leg pants with just as flattering back pockets that stylist Ansley Morgan describes as “like having built-in Spanx in your pants but more comfortable.” Morgan thinks these — which are a bit more flared than Madewell’s — are ideal if you want to “sneak corduroy into your workwear.” She adds that they even come with a matching blazer that’ll “take you to the next level.”
To Janie Medley of Medley Style, the best part of these Free People cords is the color selection. They come in 20 different colors — “Yes, 20 colors,” reiterates Medley — including orange, emerald, and a raspberry shade called “fairytale.” Aside from the color selection, Medley loves the pronounced flare. Plus, she adds, if you’re not ready to transition to real clothes after months of loungewear, these don’t have a button closure — you just pull them on, kind of like sweatpants. But Medley promises the fit is still perfect. “I’m in heaven,” she says.
We’ve talked about Warp + Weft before as a particularly great place to buy denim if you’re on the tall side. Morgan, who says this brand is indeed one of her “favorite places to buy denim,” also loves its cords. The company offers a few styles, including a wide-leg pant, but she likes these best because the “flare and split leg give a boho-inspired look.” Similar to its jeans, “the fabric has a slight stretch to it, so they move with you and not against you.” There are also plus sizes in both styles.
We’ve already thrown around the word retro, but if you want to really lean into the trend, Thompson says “these pants give a nod to the past, but in a modern and chic way.” They come with a matching blazer, for those looking for a complete look, and though the pants look slightly dressy (especially with the blazer), Thompson promises they’re still plenty comfy.
Best corduroy pants under $200
Two of our experts already raved about Madewell’s corduroy Emmett pants, but if you’re looking for something full length, Morgan suggests this longer version. “The width of the leg is just the right amount, and the silhouette and high waist is reminiscent of the ’70s,” she says. Because they’re full length, she says they’re “perfect for winter,” and the corduroy makes them especially comfy. She suggests pairing them with “a black turtleneck, gold statement jewelry, and some chunky boots.”
Medley appreciates the “’70s vibe” of these pants and loves that they can “be dressed up or down.” She says they’re “super-comfy,” due to the “slight stretch in the material,” and thinks the cut is superb. “The high-rise cut makes my legs look even longer, which I love,” she adds. These come in pink, navy, moss, and cedar — the variety of colors, Medley says, is “the best part.” These are also available in a number of inseams, as well as plus sizes.
We already mentioned J.Crew’s cords, but this recommendation is straight leg and full length. My high school had a strict “no denim” policy, so corduroy pants became a standard in my wardrobe. I owned a handful of pairs of these from J.Crew — and years later, I still wear them. They’re slim cut and fit well yet don’t feel bulky or heavy on. They come in six colors and three inseam options (classic, petite, and tall), and they go up to a size 37.
“These pants are my absolute favorite right now — the high waist, the pleats, the notch at the center back, the English-menswear vibe,” says Rachel Vineyard of Fallowfields Clothing. She likes to pair her pants with “a chunky fisherman sweater and lace-up oxfords” to, as she explains, “channel my inner English grandfather.” And if you really want to go all out, Alex Mill also has a matching blazer to give you “a comfortable, functional, classic power suit for whatever life throws in your direction this autumn and winter,” Vineyard adds. Right now, for most sizes, you have to “join the waitlist” to snag these pants, but they’ll be back in stock soon, and the brand will email you once they are.
For those looking for wide-leg cords, these are one of the most voluminous pairs that came recommended to us. Jonne Amaya, a sustainable fine jeweler, appreciates the “high-waisted structure cut with muted tones” of these “soft birch” colored pants — but if you want something a bit more vibrant, they also come in navy and dark gray. Because they are so wide legged, Amaya suggests choosing something that’s “very light on top” to balance it out. And while there are definitely cheaper options out there, Amaya concedes, she tries to “buy less but buy better-quality items.”
Like the Free People cords, this pair from small sustainable brand It Is Well L.A. have an elastic waist in case you’re not ready to give up the comfort of your sweatpants quite yet. Vineyard describes these as a “creamy, dreamy neutral” piece. She explains that the “brand really prioritizes ease and simplicity in its pieces, which is evident here in a loose, casual option for cord-lovers-to be.” The specific pair that Vineyard owns is nearly sold out, but the ones featured here are nearly identical, though with a wider leg instead of tapered. She plans to wear them with a cozy turtleneck or button-up oxford shirt. “This is an outfit that is perfect for picking up that novel you’ve been meaning to get to on the couch, baking your umpteenth loaf of banana bread this year, or taking a (socially distant) walk through pumpkin patches and fall forests,” explains Vineyard.
Paige Auber, Portland-based social-media coordinator, likes these cords from Paloma Wool. “These hug in just the right places, allowing for an effortlessly flattering fit,” says Auber. She’s picturing them “with a warm-colored beret, delicate white blouse, and ankle leather boots.” Strategist writer Lauren Ro also owns a similar pair — hers are a few years old — and likes that “they are a wide, straight-leg pair that have a wale that’s not too fine and not too chunky but somewhere right in the middle,” she says, so they’re actually very flattering. Plus, Ro adds, “They are slightly high waisted and hug my ass in a way that’s super-flattering.” Because the brand is European, the sizes differ a touch from U.S. ones, but the brand provides a helpful size chart to figure out what would be best for you.
Best splurge-worthy corduroy pants
Sure, these are a true statement piece (and a bit of a splurge), but Tosone says that’s kind of the point — though she adds that they’re much more versatile than you’d think. She wears them with “cropped sweaters, turtlenecks, and cardigans,” and the golden-yellow color will brighten any mood as we enter what may be a very gloomy winter.
“I’ve had two pairs of A.P.C. cords — one pair navy, high waisted, with a full-length wide leg, and one pair salmon in a trouser style — for years, and they’ve both held up so well,” says Strategist writer Hilary Reid. She bought hers at the A.P.C. surplus store where “everything is half off the tag,” but even though these are “a little pricey,” she swears they’re “a worthy investment because navy, velvety, high-waisted cords really do go with everything.” And hers still look “barely worn,” even after three years of lots of wear. The exact pair she owns is nearly sold out, but this cropped pair is similar. (Although she does suggest going “full length if you can find it” because they feel “more elegant and dressed up to me.”)
Supnik also likes these, which “fall at a nice point on the waist and are roomy and comfortable,” she says. Aside from the attractive fit, she also appreciates Toast’s ethical practices: “They put a lot of thought and care into each of their pieces, which is a big deciding factor for me when it comes to shopping,” she says. Plus, she notes that they’re “extremely well crafted,” so you’re sure to have them for years.
For those not ready to give up sweats, Hartman notes these actually have an elastic waistband, making them “particularly comfortable” to wear, even if you’re just lounging at home. “They are truly business in the front, party in the back,” she adds. She wears these cords, which she calls “a fantastic modern take on an old-school style” because of their “pleats and voluminous shape,” with Dr. Martens and a turtleneck. They’re slightly cropped, but they also come in petite and long sizes.
“Over the summer, I found a pair of dirt-brown ’90s Gap corduroys at (where else?) a dusty junk store run by a cowboy in Wyoming. (A cowboy asked me if I was there shopping for Kanye.) Those corduroys immediately became my favorite pair,” tells Mallory Rice, freelance writer and editor. And while hers may be one of a kind, she says these pleated Noah ones are just as good. “The shade of brown is so deep and rich, more ‘cozy British holiday velvet’ than ‘English teacher hand-me-downs,’” explains Rice. These are technically men’s pants, but Noah provides a size chart on its site so you can figure out what size will fit you best. They also come in gray and black, and Noah offers a thin-wale corduroy pant in a handful of unexpected colors, like bright blue.
Another vintage-inspired option, Vineyard likes these from Nashville-based brand Imogene + Willie. “The ultrahigh rise paired with the clean, straight lines from the wide-wale corduroy make this pair equally perfect for lounging at home the day after Thanksgiving with an old thermal and beanie or dressed up with a black ribbed turtleneck and matching beret and your loudest shade of lipstick for holiday parties,” she says. And though we likely won’t be attending holiday parties this year, she adds, “The good news about Imogene + Willie pieces is that they are made to last a lifetime, so they will be here for you on the couch this year and at big, important events in years to come.”
These pants are pretty low in stock, so you better snag them quick if you’re in the market. Auber says they’re sure to be a “permanent staple in your fall and winter wardrobe,” and she is keen on “the slim fit” because it “feels incredibly timeless.” They’re also easy to style, Auber notes: “Picture these with a classic trench coat and loafer and sock combo.”
“The most outrageously fun yet simple pair of cords, starting snug at the waist while continuing to billow, creating quite the statement,” says Auber of this Esby style. Even though they’re perhaps not the most versatile pair, Auber says to “picture these with a sheer turtleneck and a pair of your favorite heeled clogs for a bit of height.” They’re only available for preorder now, but they’re expected to ship next week, so you won’t have too long of a wait.
“Cords get a bad rap for being uncomfortable and stiff, but these are buttery soft, both in texture and in shape,” says stylist Patricia Lagmay. They’re definitely an investment, but you’ll have them forever, and because the cut is so classic, they won’t go out of style anytime soon. Like the Esby cords, you have to preorder these, but they’re expected to ship within a few weeks. Don’t dillydally, though, because some sizes are already sold out.
These are the most expensive ones on the list, but, as Lagmay explains, “corduroy tends to be kept to the more casual cuts, so it’s refreshing to see it done in such a sleek way.” They look light and delicate, cutting out the issue of corduroy being too bulky, and even though they’re a splurge, to be sure, they’re versatile and timeless enough to be worn all the time for years to come.
And a few corduroy jumpsuits …
We don’t blame you for wanting to cover your whole body in corduroy this fall. And what better way to do that than with a jumpsuit? Vineyard, who is a proponent of the head-to-toe corduroy look, had nothing but good things to say about Alex Mill’s corduroy pants — which are unfortunately largely sold out right now. Instead, can we offer you the brand’s corduroy jumpsuit that has something of a cult following? It comes in all of the same colors the pants do, but, well, it’s a jumpsuit.
I own and wear this jumpsuit often — it feels like pajamas but looks a whole lot nicer. To keep from looking too bulky, the jumpsuit features built-in pull tabs in the back so you can cinch the waist, and I’ve found that it keeps me very warm in cooler temperatures if I go for a walk with my dog or go out on weekends. It has a button closure, which can admittedly be annoying sometimes when getting it on and off, but it’s easy to look past that because I love how it looks. I own the powder-blue color, but the black and nutmeg colors are just as nice if you’d prefer something a touch more neutral.
This jumpsuit came recommended to us during our search for the best jumpsuit for tall women. Not only does it work for those over five-foot-nine, but it also goes up to a size 20 and it’s extremely good-looking for how affordable it is. One expert described it as “the love child of a henley and a utility jumpsuit” with a “fall twist,” thanks to the corduroy material.
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