Heavy brown Brisbane Moss cords

Friday, December 11th 2020
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The main reason I shot this outfit with Milad last month was to talk about the cords - a heavy Brisbane Moss brown that has both its pleasures and its weaknesses.

I’ll run through the rest of the outfit too though, because there are a few things to highlight, particularly given our recent article on the ‘cold-colour wardrobe’

The cords are 8 wale, 550g, which is the heaviest Brisbane Moss does by the cut length - it’s Brown 100 from the GS2 bunch

I’ve always had a thing for heavy trouser fabrics, because they wear and drape so wonderfully. You get a straight line without the fragility of a worsted, and they keep their shape better than a lighter woollen. 

Cotton has the added bonus of strength and a nice patina of wear, which is nice in cord until it starts to really wear down, and even better in cotton twills like my Fox trousers here. 

The only other cloth that’s really comparable in terms of performance is the tightly woven wools like cavalry twill or covert. 

But I’ve also had my problems with heavy trousers. 

I had two pairs made in the ‘Pardessus’ bunch from Holland & Sherry, which was really more of an overcoating - and indeed, is now only available as a few colours in their overcoating range. 

The problem there was that the cloth wasn't really woven tightly enough to make a good trouser. Fine as a coat or even jacket - when sharp lines are less of a priority - but too soft for trousers. They bagged a little and lost their shape as a result. 

(If anyone wants more detail on this cloth geekery, it’s all in the Guide to Cloth here.)

Given that history, I was a little worried about going for the heaviest Brisbane Moss. But most of the cords I’ve had in the past have been rather lighter and softer - eg here from Scabal - so this would at least give me the context of the opposite extreme.

The trousers were made up by Whitcomb & Shaftesbury in my normal pattern from them, flat fronted with a mid-rise, 5cm turn-ups and 19cm opening.

Interestingly, the thickness of the cloth made an unexpected difference to that trouser opening. Having four layers of the cord (as you do on proper turn-ups) made the opening almost too narrow to easily get over my calves. Certainly 1cm narrower would have been tricky. 

The trousers do wear wonderfully, and I think look great. They keep a great line, have a pleasing lustre without being too velvety, and the colour feels more modern that most cords. 

You get rubbing on the knees and seat that makes them look worn, but as with suede brushing the nap back up* removes that. It will be a long time before the nap actually starts to wear away.

The downside of the material is that the trousers are heavy and tough, which can be a little tiring on the legs. Not something you’d feel in the morning but - rather like shoes with a slight niggle - certainly noticeable by the end of the day.

So if you wear heavy materials like this, and are happy doing so, I can thoroughly recommend the cloth. But if you don’t and haven’t, I’d approach with caution. 

The dark shade of brown means the trousers are as useful as my charbrown Fox flannels, and fit into that cold-colour wardrobe very nicely. 

They do work with brown-calf shoes when there’s some variation in the colour, but look best with black - either black suede (as here), black calf (as with my EG Shannon boots) or in fact black cordovan (which I have in an EG Belgravia loafer). The soft glow of the cordovan seems more pleasing against the shine of the cord, compared to highly polished calf. 

Grey is the other dominant colour in the outfit - my Anthology tweed jacket. And the shirt is in our Lighter Everyday Denim.

That shirt could have been white or indeed cream, picking up on the other cold-colour options. But the pale denim is softer and more casual. 

The scarf too could have been cream, and would have looked very nice. But I wanted a more tonal look, and so went for a dark-grey instead. 

The handkerchief is an old cotton bandana, and is also useful here as an illustration of the point in that cold-colour post about pops of red, yellow or indigo. 

The scarf is the Arran from Begg, with its luxurious ripple effect. I remember so clearly watching that process being done at the Begg factory, with the dried teasles being carefully arranged. You’d think there would be an artificial equivalent, but then if it works, why change it?

The socks are a grey/brown from Anderson & Sheppard. The notebook is my cordovan one from J.Girdwood

Photography: Milad Abedi

*The nap runs up the trousers, so they feel smoothest when you run your hand up the leg. Interestingly, Italians often cut the cloth the other way, so the nap runs down. It's barely noticeable until you get to this thickness of wale though.

 

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Winston

Hi Simon,
thank you for the interesting post. Until my first pair of trousers in a really heavy cloth I’d never thought that weight can make such a big difference, but it certainly does. I wear 400g Cavalry Twill and Cord trousers, and do feel the weight.
Regarding durability – “until it starts to really wear down”: In my experience, this will never happen. Not even patina, although I wear my old ones for gardening and regularly wash them by machine.

Lindsay McKee

Another superb post again, Simon.
I think it is Brisbane Moss that Cordings use for their Needlecord and Corduroy trousers.
I have a number of their Swatch Cards which can be ordered from their website.
Per metre it is one of the cheaper fabrics out there.

KONSTANTINOS BOIS

Dear Sir , could you please advise me if they sell direct to individuals customers ? Thank you.

Kenny

The Cordings website says that the corduroy are 17oz, 482g, and are made in Portugal from Lancastrian cotton. Brisbane Moss is based in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. I am very happy with mine (several pairs bought in the bi-annual trouser promotions) which are fine for autumn and winter in London.

Kenny

Brisbane Moss 8 wale cords, are available from Charles Wall’s Ratcatcher website – https://www.ratcatchertweed.co.uk/collections/heavy-8-wale-corduroy-trousers. The RTW cost £130 a pair and made in England. MTO is available at the same price. MTO cavalry twills are only £139. I’m planning to give them a try in January.

Kev F

There’s something very comforting in cold weather about a pair of thick corduroys or moleskin. I’m ambivalent though about your choice of shoe – still not convinced about the black/brown combination; I’ve tried putting a pair of black suede boots with brown cords. Doesn’t look right to me though I take your point about cooler tones of say a grey-brown. The loafer as well – I associate them with warmer weather and they are a lighter shoe which seems incongruous with the heavy trouser material.

L.deJong

I have to very heavy trousers. Made bespoke and I wanted to wear them with braces. Maybe not the best idea because they are so heavy that my shoulders hurt at the end of the day. They are from Huddersfield fine worsted. Cords 600gr/m and moleskin 700gr/m. Best trousers for cold weather and really nice to wear. The drape so well. But I needed some extra shoulder and back exercise to make them work. Hahaha. If you want to go heavier have a look at that cloth. Especially the moleskin is really nice and soft!

oli

Thanks for the mention, been looking for heavier weight moleskin hard to find

Luca

Hi Simon,
Could I ask how much Whitcomb & Shaftesbury charges for bespoke trousers?
Thanks.

MB

I think it might have gone up to £585 plus VAT (although that could have been for a more expensive fabric but I believe it was the standard price).

MB

It could also be a calculator error or typo as I was looking at a price including VAT and reverse engineering!

Karol

Yes, the dark brown cords are very nice. They can go with brown suede as well, but only loafers I think, with some contrast from the sock. It’s the problem I have with dark brown trousers in general. They are very appealing, but they aren’t all that easy to wear.

Ben R

How do you cinch the waist on heavy trousers, especially with a cloth with such a nap? Do you use side adjusters? Or specific type of side adjuster to allow for the dense/thick cloth?

I went with some Brisbane Moss T1 Cords (315g) and I’m not that happy with the side adjusters I’ve used. Might need to switch it out to something else and I was looking for suggestions.

Jtkuga

I love DAKS style side adjusters. When I got my first bespoke suit over the summer I got two pairs of trousers, one with normal side adjusters and one with DAKS. I will definitely be a minority but I prefer DAKS all the way around. Mainly I think they look nicer, without any piece of fabric flapping around. It is true they aren’t as adjustable as a slide buckle variety, but neither are belts (which I still wear with two of my older suits) and that has never been a real problem for me. To be fair, my weight hasn’t fluctuated more than a few pounds since I received them, so maybe I’ll change my mind should that happen. I wish they were easier to find in RTW trousers…

Dan James

Another really nice looking and (of course) well put together outfit. A bit off point but the more I see that herringbone jacket, the more I like it and am strongly tempted to get one like it.

Joseph Leftwich

Thanks, Simon. I love wearing corduroy trousers and jackets, but I find it’s a real dirt magnet. The second I put it on, I find new bits of grime. And it’s hard to clean when the dirt gets into the grooves. Do you find this? It puts me off buying more to be honest.

Peter Hall

Simon.

What is your experience, with cords this heavy ,in wet weather? Living in the Netherlands,heavy rain can sweep in quite quickly? I really like the look of these cords.

Peter Hall

Thank you.

I have a very nice Private White ventile Mac which will be wonderful to go with them (when cycling).

My experience with PS has convinced me I need a pair of black suede loafers(not when cycling).

Pyc

Cords, tweed & suede is a stylish combination.

Jtkuga

Simon,

Slightly off-topic, but you mention in the article two fabrics I’m considering for my next pair of trousers, cavalry twill and covert cloth. I’ve done some research on this site and others, and I can’t seem to find a good comparison between those two fabrics. Is one more or less formal than the other? More durable? More matte? What are the practical differences, or are they really pretty much the same with slightly different weaves? Thanks as always.

Kenny

Covert cloth is for coats or jackets and cavalry twill is for trousers. In cold weather, I pair my cavalry twills with a dark navy peacoat and they don’t look too smart, especially if worn with boots rather than shoes.

Kenny

I was stating my preference, based on personal experience, rather than being prescriptive. I have only seen charcoal covert in coats, e.g. from Cordings. For me, it is easier to get a variety of colours in cavalry twill, hence my comment.

I also have heavy flannel and whipcord trousers but find that they are too warm for London even in January. For a more casual look, it has to be cords or moleskins, especially in lockdown. Sadly, my budget does not stretch to over £500 a pair.

WK

Hi Simon,

I always think black and brown do not go well together but you have chosen a black suede shoe. Wouldn’t your dark oak or dark brown suede belgravia be a better choice? Or are there any better choice of shoes? Thanks for answering.

Toby

Hi Simon

Would you ever machine wash corduroy trousers, MTM or bespoke?

Dr Peter

Nice combinations, Simon, especially colours — the grey jacket and brown trousers. They look great on you. I think the reverse also works beautifully, for instance, a chestnut brown corduroy jacket with heavy grey flannels.

In a couple of photographs, the shoulders of the nice jacket you are wearing appear to slope much more strongly than in the others. I wonder if that was just the photo, or the way your stance was at that point in time. Or perhaps a difference in padding, somehow?

Last point: I usually avoid turnups on corduroy trousers, even though I like them on most of my other trousers. The reason is the thickness of the fabric, as you suggest. They tend to get out of proper shape in the wash, and ironing mid-wale cord turnups is not easy. Even some of the medium-weight cords are problematic. Pinwale cords do carry turnups fairly well.

I recently acquired a gorgeous pair of vintage Brooks Brothers midwale chestnut cords (the cloth is from France). Also another vintage muted olive green pair from Eddie Bauer. Just the right weight, and they both drape beautifully. No turnups. Since these were from a thrift shop, they were about $6 per pair.

John

Hi Simon,
I find this outfit very chic! It reminds me of a conversation over cord trousers you once had with Michael Drake at the early stage of PS.
Here, I think you’ve really succeeded in incorporating the dark brown cords into a set of items that turns out to produce something very urban, despite the countryside origin of the trousers.
As you now, cord lovers usually end up pulling off outfits that ultimately anchors the whole they wear on to the country, despite the accessories they may choose to mitigate such an attraction.
So, this post is a must read for all those who might have been thinking about how best to tame dark brown cords in the city!
John

Russ

I also have two pairs of the Cordings heavy corduroys. The flies drive me nuts – they are buttoned rather than zipped and come undone while you are walking ever so easily! And you tactfully avoided, Simon, referring to the obvious wear that occurs at the front of the crotch while one fiddles with that part of the trouser. The Cordings trousers are lovely and warm, but lacking in certain practical necessaries.

Kenny

Cordings will fit zips, if you ask nicely, at a reasonable additional charge. The alternative to try another brand with zips, e.g. Captain Currey (same weight and wale but with belt loops) from A Hume in Kelso – https://www.ahume.co.uk/captain-currey-coloured-corduroys-p4. They are only £95 compared to Cordings £110 plus alteration charge. Oliver Brown and Ratcatcher (see my earlier comments above) are other options.

Aaron Daniels

Not the best way to buy trousers, but on the Cordings website you can choose a zip fly instead.

RTK

I find wool cavalry twill or covert cloth much better for traveling. They hold a crease and do not wrinkle. Wool is much warmer in damp weather and does not hold onto odors like cotton. Turnups or “cuffs” as we call them in the states are problematic on corduroy trousers. They are often too thick for a Corby trouser press and must be pressed with a hand iron.

Marcin

Hi Simon,
I have trousers from the same Brisbane Moss bunch (dark grey). I must say that when I first held them I was a little bit scared of the weight. The more surprised I was when I put them on – the cloth drapes SO well without signs of heaviness/bulkiness. I wear them mostly as ‘after-work’ ‘cold-days’ evening ‘home-clothing’ but I didn’t find them too heavy at the end od the day on weekends.
So overall I’d recommend this bunch to anyone looking for cold climate cords.

PS
And last but not least let me congratulate you on this post as well as your fantastic work on Permanent Style.

Jordan Healey

On Brisbane Moss website, they list all of their fabrics in grams per square metre. That bunch as 550gsm, wouldn’t that make it almost 800g at 1.45m width?

Tim

Strangely enough, chocolate brown cords and a grey tweed jacket has been one of my go-to looks this winter. I find even more than grey, brown trousers go with almost every odd jacket I own – even other brown jackets, if the fabric and color vary enough. And with those hard-to-pair grey odd jackets, brown trousers are the best.

Ajbjasus

Personal taste, I know, but I really don’t like loafers with heavy trousers, and especially with turnups – it’s a bit unbalanced, and functionally contradictory – a bit like wearing a pair of country brogues with a business suit.

Ajbjasus

No, I think loafers are fine with jeans. I guess I see the cords as a heavy, more formal trouser, which needs a shoe with a bit more heft. We’re all a bit different I guess.

Jonathan

Very nice trousers and the jacket works well. This is a style that I wear in colder months and enjoy the feel of the heavier fabric. However for my taste the shoes that you are wearing are too ‘light’ for the rest of the outfit and through it off balance. I would choose something with a little bit more heft, for instance the Alden Loafer in brown suede to stay with the loafer style or better still the Edward Green Dover in dark brown London Grain.

Jonathan

Yes that makes sense. I have a wide foot so what works for me will not work for you and visa versa.

Jonathan

Correction, should have been ‘throw it off balance’

Jasper

A nice modern take on a very classic fabric. Did you had your eye on other colours? If so, wy did you pick brown?
Thanks very much.

Jasper

Alexandre

Simon,

do you have central creases ironed on your cords or you wear them without creases? It is not clear from the photos.

Anonymous

I have a question about tweed jackets. A jacket like the grey one you are wearing in the pictures above, is it as warm as a jumper over a shirt or warmer? What is the best weight for a jacket that is intended as a substitute for a cashmere jumper?

Ian

I had some corduroy trousers made from a Brisbane Moss cloth a couple of years ago and have been pleased with them. The cloth is soft and washes well. Personally, I prefer a narrow, ‘needlepoint’ wale so I chose a cloth from the Cotswold range (270g/sq.m). It was the Brown 100 as I thought it would be suitable for autumn/winter and would combine with a range of colours, including navy, which it does. Although not the heaviest cloth, it is warm to wear. For a fastening, I chose a single button at the front combined with belt loops because I felt that was appropriate for informal corduroy trousers.

Jim

You’ve mentioned using a Daks / elastic tab system for heavier clothes. Did you do that here, or recommend it? Cheers.

Stanley

Hi Simon

Have you seen the bunch “yew” from Brisbane Moss http://www.brisbanemoss.co.uk/shadecard.php?id=107&type=2

im thinking to get the beige colour from this collection for my next odd trouser

but it seems the colour is too bright for winter?

or i should pick olive 304

Michael

Hi Simon,
What do you think about 5 pockets style corduroy?
I do believe they are more casual a corduroy trouser with side adjusters and pleats.
Pommela Napoli has some pair. But I once read that you said they are not so great tough I don’t remember really.
Thanks

Noel

Hi Simon,

Lovely pair of trousers. I actually have a pair in the same corduroy albeit in dark green. I consulted you (in the comments) about the fabric a while back because I was worried it might be too heavy. If my memory serves me right, you encouraged me to go for it. I do remember noticing how thick the turn-ups were as well when I got them but since then I have gotten use to them.
All in all I have been very happy with the fabric both for the trousers and the corresponding jacket. It hasn’t worn down in the same way as lighter cords might have done.

Pradeep

Just read this article of yours Simon after you adviced me and i must say your ‘personality’ and your sense of fashion is so good that you are making black and brown combination look so elegant. However, after reading this article i tried pairing my black loafers with dark brown chino and failed to pull it off. I was surfing through the internet and failed to find burgundy shoes which would seem darker than my brown chino.
Supposedly Simon, if i purchase a ‘burgundy penny loafer’ which could be a shade or two lighter than my chino but put on dark navy socks with my brown chino (as i feel navy and burgundy could go together very nicely), then would it help in solving out this problem of mine?
Do you think i can wear navy socks with dark brown chino?
There is often a certain bit of gap between trousers and shoes when one is wearing a loafer and therefore do you think socks can help create the balance?

oli

Spencers trouser, based in Yorkshire. They will make you a heavy pair of trousers out of any material for £140. I am not associated with the brand, just want to help keep British manufacturing alive. I work outdoors so I need a heavy pair of trousers other wise I get frostbite on my nether regions.

Substanceoverstyle

Dear Simon,

I am currently looking into getting a heavy weight corduroy pair of trousers. The ones from Berg and Berg weigh 580 gms according to their website. You seem have to worn a pair when you visited them. Could you tell how they compare to these from Brisbane Moss, in terms of the material (feel, weight, wale size and such)?

Mark

Hi Simon
Brisbane Moss cloth looks good. Ratcatchertweed made trousers for £130 and were helpful as regards Individual tailoring requirements to make effective use of side adjusters/brace buttons. The material seems heavy but with trousers hanging straight this leads to a good appearance. Slate Grey required an additional payment of £20 because cloth had to be specially ordered

Duy Nguyen

Dear Simon,

Do you know how expensive the BM corduroy is per meter? Would this fabric also be suitable for a full double breasted suit in this weight?

Sincerely,
Duy

Duy

Thanks for answering Simon. A local tailor offered me a 460g 8 wale corduroy, is this light enough?

Haackk

Hi!

I like heavy tweed jackets weighing between 500 and 650 g. How would a jacket in this material compare? I’m tempted do commission a heavy cord suit.

Thanks