Adding a couple of classic knits or some corduroy to your closet may be all it takes to look cool without trying.
Even in summer, it’s OK to mix and match corduroy, wearing it from head to toe. The key is to wear differing but subdued shades. Choose a neutral color for one item and a much darker color for the other. (For example, these dark blue cords with a relaxed brown cord jacket.)
OLD NAVY TANK TOP, $9; LEVI’S “559 RELAXED STRAIGHT LEG” CORDUROY JEANS, $40; VINTAGE CORDUROY JACKET, STYLIST’S OWN
2 > Jean Therapy
Cords are ultimately no different from jeans, and that’s how you should treat them: Buy yours pre-worn, or toss a pair into the wash a few times for that vintage faded color. And, like jeans, pair them with whatever you want—a sporty blazer for a traditional look; a faded T-shirt for urban, club-friendly style; or your favorite sweater for basic, weekend casual.
JOHN VARVATOS STAR USA CORDUROY CARDIGAN SWEATER, $298; CONVERSE BY JOHN VARVATOS CORD PANTS WITH SUSPENDERS, $145 FEATURED THROUGHOUT STORY: JOHN VARVATOS KNIT HAT, $98; VINTAGE BOOTS, $350, BLANKET, $35, AND BAG, $20
3 > The Right Fit
For sweaters, the fit is the key. Just because you’re wearing something someone knitted, that doesn’t mean it should hang on you like a Hefty bag. Even a chunky cable-knit sweater (like the one shown here) can show off a fit body. To look your best, think of a sweater as a jacket. It should fit comfortably at the shoulders. If the sweater you’re trying on doesn’t, put it back on the shelf.
NICOLE FARHI “BIG SOFTY” SWEATER, $295
4 > Rugged Rules
All corduroy is not created equal. There are dozens of styles out there, and they don’t all make that swishing sound when you walk. Take fine-wale corduroy pants. Since the cords (or wales) are thinner, the pants look sleeker and less bulky than regular cords. Pair them with a button-down shirt and your favorite henley, and you’ve got a rugged, laid- back look that’s easy to pull together.
DOCKERS SHIRT, $42; AMERICAN APPAREL HENLEY, $26; CALVIN KLEIN CORDED PANTS, $78
(See full photo spread below)