It’s been a while since I had a proper obsession. Last year I had the maroon suit and the uniform dressing. Those were true obsessions. Wake up, thinking about maroon suits and uniform dressing. Go to sleep, thinking about maroon suits and uniform dresssing. Talk to my Mum on the phone… about maroon suits and uniform dressing. This year though, while I’ve gotten quite into those blazers that button all the way up and everything forest green, nothing’s come along and slapped me in the face, knocked me off my feet and taken control of my mind. Until now. It’s official. Corduroy suits are my new obsession.
It all started last Wednesday when I walked into Crane Brothers to check on the status of a pair of pants. The pants were AWOL, but the news was delivered to me by staffer Chris Vovan, who, on that day, was wearing a navy corduroy suit. It had all the aspects of a normal suit – jet pockets on the jacket and pants, two buttons, narrow lapels, working buttons on the sleeves, side vents – but it was a casual suit. Casual and English and professorial and old worldly. The pants were rolled up above a pair of tan desert boots. It was the kind of suit you could imagine wearing while sitting in a stately library, smoking a pipe and reading 19th century first editions.
I have a bit of history with corduroy – as an eight year old I had a pair of particularly tight brown corduroy pants with patch pockets on the front and back that, as I remember, matched a pair my Dad owned. I hated those pants, and made the mistake of wearing them to mufti day at primary school one time. Predictably, I spent the whole day feeling appalled at my choice of trousers, and when it came time for assembly, I just about passed out with the fear that I would be called upon as the recipient of a certificate, and have to walk onstage in front of the entire school. I needn’t have worried – certificates weren’t typically given out to naughty boys who spent most of the day jumping up and down on other students’ desks.
In January 2009, I was rummaging through a second hand shop in Paris when I came across a beautiful navy corduroy blazer (pictured above). It was 35 euros, it fit me like it was tailor-made, and I bought it and wore it just about every day for the next nine months. I still have it and love it, but it’s been a bit too hot recently to dust it off. But it’s not a suit. And I need a suit. Imagine a full wardrobe of corduroy suits – tan, navy, forest green, maroon… The possibilities are endless.
If you’re in New Zealand, I’d recommend purchasing corduroy suits from the following retailers:
Crane Brothers – Two piece made to measure suits in Holland and Sherry cotton corduroy from $1695.
Working Style – Two piece made to measure suits in Larus Miani cotton corduroy from $1490. Two piece Dormeuil cotton/cashmere corduroy suits from $4200.
Wunderkammer – Comme des Garcons corduroy blazers from $1400, Ann Demeulemeester corduroy blazers from $2200. Bespoke corduroy suits from $3000.
Photos: The Sartorialist, GQ
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