The best thing about corduroy sport coats is that they can make you look smart without seeming pretentious, honest without looking hokey. A longtime staple of the academic look, they go as far back as the 1920s here in the US, being a popular choice among students studying at mid-Western universities. Built with natural shoulders, soft fronts, and slightly nipped waists, those jackets gave their wearers the kind of casual tailored style that Americans have come to champion (or at least, used to champion).
If you’re getting a corduroy sport coat for the first time, consider something a rich dark brown or wheat-ish tan color. The first has the advantage of being easier to wear with khaki chinos, which are the perfect complement to these sorts of things. You can also wear your jacket with jeans or flannel trousers, along with a shirt in oxford cloth, chamois, or plaid cotton. Shoes can be boots or plain toe derbies in almost any kind material, although I’ve been enjoying napped suede lately.
Should you be able to splurge, you can also go for a corduroy suit. The jacket and pants can be worn together when you’re feeling jaunty, but also be very useful as suit separates. Corduroy pants go great with oxford cloth shirts and tweed jackets, or with Shetland sweaters and a waxed cotton Barbour jacket for a more causal look. These things, along with a couple of tweed sport coats, are the only things you really need for a fall wardrobe.
(photos via Voxsartoria)