Happy New Year my friends – may it be a fabulous one for us all!

I’m slowly getting back to my fighting weight, after what has been a particularly sinful Christmas, and am delighted to report that business has got off to a cracking start.

There’s a real Seventies vibe going on at the moment, with bold checks, wide lapels and deep collared shirts increasingly featuring in the armoury of my victims.

Charlie Anderson cordMy apprentice, Mr Anderson, has fully embraced this nod to the days of helmet-hair and flashing dance-floors, with the addition to his wardrobe of this plush, burgundy corduroy suit.

Back in the days of disco and devilment, corduroy was worn by the likes of Jagger and Dylan, but has also been embraced by the landed gentry and Oxbridge professors.

Whilst I have nothing again brains, or blue-blood, we wanted something sharp, more strutting rock star, than fusty fuddy-duddy. So, we’ve turned up the volume, put on our platform shoes and given it the right royal Michelsberg treatment.

It’s skin tight, fitted to the max, with one button to fasten, flamboyant four-inch peak lapels and a turn-up on the (very slim) trouser.

The look has a raffish air about it – perfect attire for deflowering a fur-clad lovely in St. Moritz, rather than taking tea and crumpets with Stephen Fry in West Bilney.

Corduroy has a wonderfully soft, luxurious and indulgent handle. Together with moleskin and velvet, it was part of a group of cotton and linen based fabrics, known in the Nineteenth Century as the ‘fustians’.

Today, it’s usually made of 100% cotton, although the cloth company Scabal have a lovely bunch blended with 10% cashmere.

In terms of its manufacture, the loom is set up with a higher number of weft threads (running left to right) than warp threads (running up and down) so that a dense, smooth, fabric is produced. This is then cut using special machines to form ‘ridges’ of raised pile down the length of the piece.

Cord is classified according to the size of the ‘wale’, or the number of ridges per inch.

I prefer ‘needlecord’ or ‘pincord’ which has a finer amount of wales, meaning the cord count is higher. It’s softer and more subtle than the brown ‘jumbo’ cord trousers of my youth 🙂

Another trend that’s very popular at the moment, is ‘separates‘ – mixing up jackets, trousers and vests in different materials, colours and textures.

Scabal JacketingOne of the benefits of investing in a corduroy suit is that you’ll have a sharp jacket to wear with jeans, flannels, or, cotton chinos. Alternatively, you can wear the trousers with knitwear, or, a closely fitted wool blazer, or, top-coat.

It takes a certain degree of style and flair to get it right, but that’s all part of the fun. Bringing together a selection of garments and accessories to create a look that is harmonious and unique.

We’ve just taken delivery of a stunning new Italian jacketing bunch, as well as Scabal’s Spring / Summer collection in cotton, linen and silk.

Whilst most will work with jeans, they are just crying out for that perfect pair of strides. Whether that’s a light grey shade of cool wool, or a seriously bright gabardine is up to you.

Roll on Spring and let the dressing up begin!