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)