Stretch Corduroy Suits: Frequently Asked Questions

Stretch Corduroy Suits: Frequently Asked Questions

You can't shop for a new suit without considering the fabric from which it's made. Different suits are made of different fabrics. Each fabric, of course, has its own properties. Some fabrics are softer than others. Some fabrics are also lighter than others. In recent years, stretch corduroy has become a popular fabric for men's suits. While stretch corduroy may look like ordinary corduroy from afar, it's a unique fabric with its properties. Below are some frequently asked questions, as well as answers, about stretch corduroy suits.

What Is Stretch Corduroy?

Stretch corduroy is a hybrid fabric consisting of corduroy and an elastic material. There are "stretch" variants of most fabrics, including corduroy. Stretch fabrics are characterized by a small amount of an elastic material. Stretch denim, for instance, consists of denim with a small amount of polyester or lycra. Stretch corduroy, on the other hand, consists of cotton-based corduroy with a small amount of lycra. A typical pair of stretch corduroy trousers is made of about 97% cotton-based corduroy and 3% lycra.

What Are Wales?

When shopping for a stretch corduroy suit, you may come across the term "wales." All corduroy suits have wales. Whether a suit is made of standard corduroy or stretch corduroy, it will have wales. Wales are simply the vertical ridges on the surface of corduroy. Corduroy is cotton with a ribbed surface. The ribs run vertically and parallel. Each of these raised ridges is a wale.

How Does Stretch Corduroy Differ From Standard Corduroy?

You might be wondering how stretch corduroy differs from standard corduroy. Based on their appearance, it may seem like these fabrics are the same. They both feature wales, and they are both available in the same colors and styles. Nonetheless, stretch corduroy and standard corduroy aren't the same. Stretch corduroy lives up to its namesake by featuring a stretchy, elastic texture, whereas standard corduroy is more rigid. All types of stretch corduroy contain a small amount of an elastic fabric, such as lycra. Even with just 3% lycra, stretch corduroy is able to bend and stretch without breaking.

Standard corduroy doesn't contain any elastic fabric in its construction. Instead, it consists entirely of cotton. There's nothing necessarily wrong with standard corduroy. On the contrary, some men prefer standard corduroy suits. But if you're looking for an elastic suit fabric that's able to bend and stretch, you should choose stretch corduroy.

Is Stretch Corduroy Durable?

Absolutely! It's one of the most durable fabrics in which men's suits are made. Corduroy itself is strong and durable. With its wales, it's able to withstand heavy use without degrading. Stretch corduroy is equally durable. You can wear a stretch corduroy suit day after day without fear of it showing signs of wear and tear. Even if you accidentally snag it, the semi-elastic fabric from which it's made will stretch. Stretch corduroy suits typically won't tear or rip -- at least not without extreme force. As a result, stretch corduroy is a strong and durable fabric.

How Many Buttons Do Stretch Corduroy Jackets Have?

Suit jackets made of stretch corduroy are available in different button configurations, the most popular of which is a two-button configuration. They have two buttons on the front. With a two-button setup such as this, you can either leave both of the buttons unfastened, or you can fasten the top button only.

You can still find stretch corduroy jackets in other button configurations. Some of them have three buttons, for instance. The proper etiquette for a three-button configuration is to always fasten the middle button, never fasten the bottom button, and you can either fasten or leave the top button unfastened.

What's the Best Way to Clean a Stretch Corduroy Suit?

While you should check the care tag before attempting to clean any suit, most stretch corduroy suits should be dry cleaned. Dry cleaning is the safest and most effective way to clean this fabric. It involves the use of high-powered cleaning chemicals to eliminate dirt and stains.

Because it doesn't use water -- it only uses cleaning chemicals -- dry cleaning won't shrink stretch corduroy suits. You can get your stretch corduroy suits dry cleaned without worrying about them shrinking to a smaller size. As a result, dry cleaning is the best way to clean a stretch corduroy suit.

What Colors Are Stretch Corduroy Suits Available In?

You can find stretch corduroy suits available in dozens of colors. Beige is a popular color in which they are made. For decades, corduroy suits have been made in beige. It's a light brown color that matches most other colors. And even today, you can find both standard corduroy and stretch corduroy suits in beige.

Beige, of course, isn't the only color in which corduroy suits are made. Maybe you prefer black, or perhaps you want a bold color like red. These are just a few of many colors in which stretch corduroy suits are available. Regardless of your preferred color, there's probably a stretch corduroy suit that features it.

What Accessories Go With Stretch Corduroy Suits?

Stretch corduroy suits support many of the same accessories as other types of suits. You can accessorize them with a tie. A tie is arguably the single most important accessory. You can wear either a necktie or a bow tie with a stretch corduroy suit.

A pocket square is another accessory that you can wear with a stretch corduroy suit. Most suit jackets have a breast pocket -- and stretch corduroy suit jackets are no exception. To accessorize a stretch corduroy suit jacket, you can place a folded piece of cloth inside of the breast pocket. Pocket squares are pieces of cloth that are designed specifically for this purpose. When tucked into the breast pocket, a pocket square will introduce new color that complements and enhances the appearance of your stretch corduroy suit jacket.