Adventures in suit design: vintage style unconstructed corduroy suit

Corduroy suits had piqued my interest for some time.

I admired them almost right from the beginning of my deep dive into menswear.
Here was the idea of a suit, made from a cloth that tended usually to be more at home with casual clothing.
Five pocket pants, trucker jackets and sportcoats.
In my mind, it was a step up from wearing a trucker jacket and jeans cut from the same cloth, at least in terms of formality.

Tailoring that fits in with a more contemporary, practical and usually dressed down life is where I think the industry is headed.
There has certainly been a trend towards this in the last decade and before, with the likes of tees and tailoring, as well as suiting in casual fabrics.
Corduroy isn’t the only one, with cotton twill/chino being another popular option, and a particular resurgence towards linen suiting in the summer with its lovely characteristic wrinkles and lack of stuffiness.


Inspired by some of my peers, I decided I’d have a crack at designing my own corduroy suit.
Given my penchant towards wearing denim and western inspired clothing for casual wear, particularly western shirts, I wanted to include some western style details on this suit.

I chose a caramel brown mid weight pure cotton corduroy from our house cloths for this experiment.
The intention was to create a suit that could easily see wear as separates, a task for which I deemed this colour wonderfully viable.

Unique stylistic choices for the jacket include a western inspired chest pocket, patch hip pockets with button-through diamond shaped flaps, a western back yoke and a belt back. I also lowered the gorge and chest pocket positions 1cm from my previous suit, however I’ve noted a further drop for the next iteration of my pattern.
Details carried over from my last design include the signature 3-roll-2.5 fronting with 10cm lapel, open quarters and longer than usual rear vents.

I opted to try making this one mostly unstructured, with no chest padding. There is some slight padding in the natural shoulder, just enough to remove the natural dimples.
Hence this jacket hanging more messily on me than my previous ones.
I learned from this jacket that I prefer a more structured garment for myself, but will enjoy wearing this one as it is regardless.

For the trousers, I learned from my previous mistakes of ignoring how much my body fluctuates, and added double belt loops to these ones. I also reduced 4cm from the waist measurement, though this still is a touch too roomy.
I also perfected a ratio for an ideal grade to remove the bagging at the knees seen on my previous made to measure trousers, widening the knee measurement significantly. I slightly reduced the U-rise and altered the grade which also helped clean it up.
The result is a lovely full cut trouser with deep (3.8cm) pleats and the straight, flowing drape that I always desired.


Ironically, I’ve hardly bothered to split this suit into separates.
I think I’ve worn the jacket on its own all of twice, and am yet to wear the pants as separates.
It’s simply too enjoyable wearing it in its combined glory.

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With content features ranging from occasional appearances on popular menswear hub social accounts (The Rake, Styleforum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is an enthusiast, designer and writer in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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