May 13, 2014 by Ville Raivio
Keikari readers will likely know the heritage of Cordings, its relationship with Eric Clapton, the vast selection of very English country clothing and the beautiful store that has no peers, so I won’t even mention them. This sentence, too, has no message (Ceci n’est pas une pipe, and so on). Instead I offer a presentation of tweed trousers made in the Cordings house style, which has several pleasant factors that produce a unique whole. A pair of trousers was shipped to my door for sensations drawn from careful perusal. All trousers from Cordings are made in the UK and all tweeds are woven in Scotland for the company alone. The firm has one concession at Orvis Harrogate, but no other stores except the Piccadilly address from 1877.
The example pair is titled 21oz. windowpane tweed trousers; that is, made from tweed with a windowpane pattern in the weight of 595 grams. Cordings insists on button flies for all men’s trousers, and most models have no belt loops, instead attaching with plain waist bands with tunnel top side adjusters. In practice, this means that the customer must have his waist tailored close or wear braces, and all trousers have brace buttons on the inner waistband. Not a common feature on men’s trousers of 2014, and a thrilling surprise for me. The trousers have deep pleats, one whole inch, and the fabric is as tough and heavy as the weight implies. The windowpane tweed will not stretch in any direction and is likely to outstand the common European marriage duration. It is scratchy, coarse and lovely, with a motley of threads in yellow, green, brown, grey. While the fly buttons are firmly attached, the buttonholes seem rather sparse. All buttons are urea instead of horn. Patterns are matched precisely around the legs. Details also include one jetted back pocket with button, and hook and bar plus button fastening on waistband.
The waistband lining and pocket bags are coarse, light-yellow cotton; the trousers are lined to the knee in plain cupro. If the reader has dry or sensitive skin, it’s best to wear the coarse Cordings tweed with long johns or long socks. The pockets are around 20 cm deep and the cotton feels strong. The plain waistband has a nice height of 4 cm with a very soft inner fabric; the side adjustors are black metal and have cotton backing. The most striking feature of Cordings trousers, apart from the mostly rare button fly with adjustors, is the cut. They are slim. I really should repeat the word for added effect, but tautology really is a sign sign of poor style. Instead I will state that most British makers of traditional country clothing have a nasty habit of cutting loose and blobby clothes. Cordings is different: their trousers really fit the male figure. The leg girth is 30 cm just below the crotch and only 21 cm around the ankle. While the waist is cut high for a traditional look and feel, the legs are narrow. This won me over.
I feel Cordings offers excellent off-the-peg trousers. The house cut offers a button fly, slim legs, high waist, brace buttons, strong and unique tweeds, side adjustors, clean waistband and strong pockets with British make. The prices reflect this: at around 150 pounds for a pair of tweed trousers, the reader can expect, and will receive, much. As all tweeds are woven for Cordings and the company has but one store along with their virtual one, these trousers are also an uncommon sight on the high street or country setting. Many a trouser maker can, and should, learn a thing or two from Cordings. While I’d prefer deeper pockets, some nice horn buttons, more seam allowance and denser buttonholes, these are small things to pick on. All’s well in Piccadilly.