Corduroy. So cool in the summer. So warm in the winter. If denim is the fabric of the working man, corduroy is that of the thinking man. Almost as comfortable as sweat pants and with the right shirt, it can be worn at even the chicest of parties.
Miles Rohan is the founder of the Corduroy Appreciation Club, a members-only social club for people who feel just this way about the fabric.
"Emulating old, secret societies and social clubs, the Corduroy Appreciation Club seeks to create a community and, in turn, a sense of fellowship rooted in the historic and culturally significant fabric known as Corduroy. As a social club, the CAC has membership cards, traditions, by laws, strange rituals, a secret handshake and meetings."
Meetings at Brooklyn's Montauk Club have been attended by cord-aficionados like Jonathan Ames and Lord Whimsy, while awards have honored "exemplary usage of corduroy" by the likes of Betsy Franjola (Manager of Fabrics at Karl Lagerfeld), Chris Lindland (Inventor of Cordarounds), and Vahram Mateosian (Tailor of the corduroy suits for The Royal Tenenbaums).
For information on Miles Rohan and the Corduroy Appreciation Club visit the club's website.
FAMOUS CORDUROY WEARERS
Henry David Thoreau - "Thoreau was a famous corduroy wearer and one of my favorites. He was wearing corduroy even when it was out of style."
Paul Newman - "I've seen so many wonderful photos of Paul wearing cord at so many different times in his life. You know, cord goes in and out of style, though I'm not exactly sure why. Still, Paul Newman was a great cord wearer and always pulled it off."
Woody Allen - "As far as corduroy wearers go, Woody Allen is probably one of the most recognizable."
Wes Anderson - "Wes is sort of the poster child for corduroy wearing in Hollywood. I think Wes Anderson's films have done a lot for cord in the past couple of years."
There's a long list of great cord wearers throughout history; Chevy Chase is on that list, Bill Murray is there too, Composer Erik Satie apparently wore seven cord suits, Gertrude Stein was a great woman and a great cord wearer, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse wore cord. There's a great big list of the great lineage of cord wearers.
Cordarounds - "The best cords should be purchased from a tailor but I suppose if you had no other option, an off-the-rack cord will do. The best in that catagory are cordarounds. They make an excellent product."
J. Crew - "I'm really fond of the J. Crew cord. Their styling is really thoughtful and they sort of harken back to the heyday of corduroy wearing, which was in the 1970s. You know, a lot of times people say that those were the best days for cord but I like to think that now is sort of the Golden Age of corduroy."
Bonobos - "A fairly new company on the scene based out of New York is Bonobos and they make some really nice cord pants."
Micrometer - "When buying cord, I recommend that you actually carry a device called a micrometer with you. Generally, it's considered a scientific device but you can use a micrometer to measure the width of the wales or rather the depth of the wales. I think you want a deep wale, because although cord is an incredibly durable material, it does wear down over time. Now that I mention it, I think cord is an excellent recession clothing because it lasts a long time."
BARS & RESTAURANTS
Freddy's - "I'm spoiled in that most of my bar time is spent at the Montauk Club where I don’t have to wade through the crowd to get a drink. Although, if I'm not at the club, there's a spot in the neighborhood I like called Freddy's".
O'Connor's - "This is a good bar off of Flatbush Avenue. The drink prices are just right."
James - "James is on my street in Prospect Heights. It's on the corner of Carlton & St. Marks. They have a great atmosphere, excellent wine selection, great dishes and a hospitable staff. I highly recommend James."
Montauk Club - "The Montauk Club is an old social club in Park Slope that was founded in 1889 by wealthy Manhattanites who moved to Brooklyn after the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. My impression is that a lot of these guys were involved with social clubs in Manhattan and wanted to have one out here. I've been a member for a while. One of the reasons I joined the Montauk Club was because it seemed like the type of place the Corduroy Appreciation Club could meet. It evokes the caliber and standard that we're hoping to raise the club to".
The Back Room - "Actually, our inaugural meeting was held at The Back Room in the Lower East Side. We chose it because it's a really clandestine spot and we felt that members would feel comfortable there because there's lots of nooks where you can be closed off and protected".
NEIGHBORHOODS & PLACES
I think Brooklyn is probably the cord borough. Here in Park Slope you see a lot of cord. I know in Williamsburg there’s a lot of cord wearing. I see a lot of cord in Lower Manhattan like the Village and the Lower East Side. Interestingly enough though, I'm seeing a lot more cord in Midtown as corduroy becomes a more acceptable business fabric.