Saturday, January 12, 2013

For the Love of Moleskin and Corduroy


It would be difficult to say which fall fabric is better, moleskin or corduroy.  Both are soft and comfortable, looking better broken in than new. (Here is a good history.)


Thesef moleskin "ratcatchers" came from Orvis in the 1970s.    (Orvis was the first to import them in 1976.)   They still fit and are nicely seasoned.


100% cotton moleskin is one of the toughest fabrics, warm and wind breaking.   

These were made in England....
...and have some slight signs of wear.
Lighter weight moleskin is often used for lining pockets, collars, and trim,  as with this John Partridge wool houndstooth jacket above.
Corduroy and Moleskine 

These days it isvery difficult to find corduroy pants for women that have a wide, or even medium wale.  Gone are the days of David Brooks wide wale corduroys, a staple for every preppy female, young and old.  The Country Store of Concord, Talbots and the like all stocked them in the more muted palettes as well as the hot pink and kelly green varieties.

So one must make do with what one can find.

This pair is from Ralph Lauren Sport - not as good.
While the fabric in this pair  L.L. Bean is quite nice,  but have voluminous legs.
These are from J.McLaughlin (last season) and have an awfully good (read that flattering) fit.
Corduroy is famously used on the Barbour waxed cotton jackets, in part to direct the flow of water away from the wearer's neck.
And of course, many summer camp hikers have spent evenings around a campfire cutting out moleskin donuts to layer over blisters.




22 comments:

Cranky Yankee said...

I have some moleskin trousers from J. Press, but they stopped carrying them two years ago. They now sell a heavy cotton twill that are very comfortable and durable though:

http://www.jpressonline.com/trousers_casual_detail.php?id=0400-26R

P.S. Muffy, your readers won't be interested in this, but last year I ran into Etienne on Church Street and asked if the Royal Male was getting any moleskin in that fall. He told me yes, but that I wouldn't like them. He knew that I like tan and drab and he was only stocking brighter colors. Oh, well.

P.P.S. Yesterday I had lunch at Harbor Court. Don't order the Boston Cream Pie.

Kris said...

The vest you are wearing......Barbour?

WRJ said...

I am constantly on the hunt for good wide-wale cords. Brooks surprisingly has for this fall 8-wales in a few fits and decent colors (navy, khaki, burgundy, a green that should be more vibrant). Murray's used to carry even wider wales in tons of colors, but they're nowhere to be found on their site now. Hopefully they just haven't updated for the new season yet. Ralph has one decent pair.

I just can't stand small and medium wale cords--they're wimpy looking and lack the plushness and warmth that are cords' raison d'ĂȘtre. That blue pair from your "Ivy Style" post is still on my mind.

Bitsy said...

Love the John Partridge and green corduroy jackets!

John said...

Ah yes, those sherbet-colored corduroys for gals...I remember them fondly. Always wide wale, sometimes with critters. Things sure aren't what they used to be!

What would you consider to be corduroy season? It probably varies from region to region, but I always figure October through April are safe. It roughly coincides with the time frame in which white pants are considered a no-no.

Anonymous said...

Muffy, those wide, wide legs are built for wide, wide people. . . which, as a group, we Americans have become.

I praise tennis for keeping me slim whenever someone comments on my size. I had a physical this spring and my doctor was astonished to find an American at ideal body weight. He had me do a bunch of bends to see how spry I am.

A sign of our noxious times.

Anonymous said...

Do you have a source for John Partridge? My favorite button down is theirs but it's 10 years old and I don't know where to find more...

diary of a tomato said...

The association of corduroy and fall is so strong that I picked up this seasonal habit while growing up in Southern California, where the weather is far from what we'd call autumnal.

Paul Connors said...

Brooks Bros. has some nice moleskin trousers available this Fall season and one, that I had to order in the Hudson cut in a nice, almost kelly green color. Like Cranky Yankee, who probably would not like these either, the trend seems to be toward brighter colors. However, they do offer khaki and taupe.

Paul Connors said...

@ WRJ:

I just purchased 3 pair of BB cords in yellow, tan and forest green on sale in late August. I absolutely STOLE these cords at $39.50 per pair. I bought them in the non-pleated, non cuffed HUDSON fit.

The rest of their line is now priced at $98.50 per pair and can be bought in ELLIOT, MILANO, HUDSON and Clark cuts.

Paul Connors

Nick M said...

If you're having trouble getting hold of cord or moleskin trousers in the USA, you could explore Marks and Spencer, the good old British standby.

These days their cut and quality aren't up to the standards of former time, but a good tailor can help. Prices are reasonable and they do deliver to Canada and the USA.

http://www.marksandspencer.com/Blue-Harbour-Cotton-Moleskin-Trousers/dp/B0017WFO42?ie=UTF8&ref=sr_1_1&nodeId=42966030&sr=1-1&qid=1347908196&pf_rd_r=0Z0QM7GWJR2AQZAZBT57&pf_rd_m=A2BO0OYVBKIQJM&pf_rd_t=301&pf_rd_i=0&pf_rd_p=321381407&pf_rd_s=center-3

Christy said...

I have de-constructed several pairs of pants/skirts (the style of which flattered me best) and cut my own patterns with them, using the fabrics, materials and colors I like best. This might be worth a try with your very capable seamstress.

sailormadras said...

I like both but moleskin
has the edge for me , I like that is has a bit more formality and goes hand in hand with the best of Barbour

Pigtown*Design said...

My only issue with moleskin is that they attract dog hair like the devil!

Anonymous said...

Hi. Since you mention about wide wale corduroy, can you please be more specific? Some of them are 14 and others 11 or 9.

Anonymous said...

Back in high school in the 80's I had dozens of pairs of wide wale cords, some with critters, some plain. I had one pair of moleskins, in a taupe color, and they were always one of my favs. @Pigtown*Design: no outfit is complete without pet hair. :) --Holly in PA

j.mosby said...

I had some Australian RM Williams moleskin jeans in an off-white color, they're very warm, but watch how you wash them! They have a tendency to shrink badly!

Ben said...

Given that the Orvis Ratcatchers are now made in Imported, can you recommend an American or English source?

Sartre said...

O'Connell's is selling 6-wale corduroys this year for men. Now THOSE are wide wales.

Nick M said...

Britain's always reliable John Lewis chain (knocking Marks $ Sparks off its middle-class go-to pedestal)also does decent cords + moleskins: I saw some in their Sloane Square store at the weekend. They also deliver to the USA.

The photos on their website are pretty awful, but they looked fine for their proce in real life.

http://www.johnlewis.com/Men/Men's+Trousers/Men's+Trousers/Men's+Trousers/4516/ProductCategory.aspx

emsworth said...

I have always been reluctant to throw moleskins in the washing machine. Any recommendations for washable moleskin pants?

Anonymous said...

muffy-
in 8th grade at the old sf brooks (now a Prada , yech) i got some bright green wide wale cords, with cuffs-------- alas, where are they now?-great zamboni