Any suggestions on the complimenting pieces to a “cord ensemble”? I’m a bit hesitant to look into them more without knowing what I should/shouldn’t wear with them.

..and when would you say they are/aren’t appropriate to wear?

The best way to think about cords is to place them into some sort of pants category. From what I can find from fashion advice, stores, etc is that cords fit nicely into the “jeans or khaki alternative” category. Some people say they can be business casual, but I’d dress them up with a nice dress shirt if I went that way.

This means that whenever you might have worn jeans or khakis, you can usually wear cords. Cords come in a lot of different colours. I like the black, grey, dark blue, brown and forest green cords. They seem to be the most colour-versatile.

What to wear with cords:


  • You can do the long or short sleeve look in your casual shirt arena
  • Casual dress shirts are ok – I like those less-starched shirts in paler colours. I have seen a nice combo of brown cords with a light blue check shirt – was very nice.
  • Sweaters look really good – that comfortable, cozy look
  • Casual belts

Cords these days have a softer texture and look, some even with fading. To match this “soft” look, use something complementary on the top. Sweaters pull that off, but so can dress shirts. A “soft” dress shirt would be something with a less bold pattern or a more muted color tone.

What to avoid with cords:

  • Clashing colours – if you choose a more daring pant colour, don’t clash it to your shirt
  • No pleated front cords
  • No casual running shoes – opt for the more dressy casual shoe. Ones in black or brown, thinner soled.
  • Don’t wear tshirts or sweaters that are too baggy – this looks sloppy. Go for slimmer fitting shirts.

Hopefully these tips help. If not, ask me for more follow up!

If you’re not comfortable with cord pants, why not try a blazer?