I’m personally not one for unusual trousers. Some men can pull off loud colors and vivid patterns with aplomb, but they’re few and far between, and I’m not one of them. The one exception I make, however, are green corduroys in the fall.
If you’re just getting your first pair of corduroys, I recommend ones in a dark shade of russet brown. These can be successfully worn with almost any kind of autumnal clothing you can imagine – grey shawl collar cardigans, green waxed cotton Barbour jackets, navy flannel shirts, and brown suede shoes. They’ll be soft, comfortable, and a touch warm.
If you’re getting your second pair, I recommend wheat. Anything that resembles something like the muted color on your standard pair of chinos to ones that are just a touch more golden. If you hit the right shade, and be sure not to veer into something too yellow, these should be about as easy to wear as your dark brown pair.
Once you’re on your third, however, I suggest considering green – something like British racing green or olive. These are slightly more daring colors, but still feel reasonably conservative. Like dark brown and wheat, green is an earthy color that feels very seasonally appropriate in the fall. I wear mine with navy or grey sweaters, the kind with a very heavy texture such as Shetland or lambswool, or with a gun club sport coat, pale blue oxford cloth shirt, and brown slip on shoes, like you see above.
If you’ve never bought corduroys before, take care in paying attention to the size of the wales. These are the ribs that make up the fabric’s signature texture. Something with thicker, more widely spaced, plush wales will look a bit more old-fashioned; something very fine will look close to velvet. A mid-sized wale is a safe bet, though I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wide wales either. Those will look quite comfortable and traditional, and if you don’t wear them in an overly baggy cut, they won’t look too frumpy. My green corduroys are somewhat wide waled, actually, and cut on the fuller side of slim. Corduroys are of course a country garment, but in green I think they’re especially rustic. Country clothes, in my opinion, always look better when they’re cut slightly fuller than city clothes.
You can pick up decent corduroys at any number of places. Cordings, Pakeman, and Hoggs of Fife have very nice traditionally cut models, while Epaulet’s and Howard Yount’s will run slim. There’s also Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers, who will have different models for different fits. The upside to them is that you’re more likely to live near one of their stores, so you can check out their products in person. However, I’ve also found that the other suppliers are happy to give you measurements if you enquire.
(As an aside, if you haven’t read Jesse’s address to the Corduroy Appreciation Club, you really ought to read it. It stands out in my mind as one of the funniest clothing-related things I’ve ever come across. Corduroy Now, Corduroy Forever!)