What are corduroy pants?

Corduroy pants are trousers or jeans made with corduroy fabric, a cut-pile fabric like velvet with ribs (narrow, medium or wide). From a distance, narrow wales corduroy look like velvet. Pants or jeans made of corduroy are called corduroys or manch (in Britain). The word "corduroy" was inspired by the French words "corps du roi" which meant it was an garment of the king. It was worn as pourpoint (wide wale velvet quilted doublet : close-fitting jacket without sleeves especially during cold months) Nowadays, French call that fabric "velours côtelé". Translated in English word for word, it would mean "corded or waled velvet". Up to recently, corduroy was usually made 100% cotton. (All those words : doublet, justaucorps come from Latin and Old French). It was also used as leggings (culottes) for the French stable lads and young countryman.

Corduroy pants were worn for a few centuries by workmen in many countries because it was a durable fabric for active men. It was used by Englishmen and Frenchman alike for riding breeches and knickers. In Western Europe and North America, some working men wore corduroy breeches. During WWI, a lot of soldiers wore corduroys as part of their uniform. In the second part of the 20th century, corduroy pants and corduroy jeans were the most popular for college and university students. Scouts wore corduroy shorts and it was part of the uniform in a lot of private school especially catholic schools. Workman still wear corduroys in some countries such as Germany (Zunftcordhose or Zimmermannshose) and France where countrymen usually wore brown corduroys (marron). Since those pants were made in Manchester during the first part of the 20th century, the word Manchester was used in reference to corduroys and many countries in Europe used «Manch» almost as a brand name. As an example, that word is used by Czechs for corduroys (Manchestrove). Some british lads would call corduroys by the word "Manch".

For the same reason some men have developed a leather fetish, a few men have a velvet fetish or a corduroy fetish because of an accidental connection made between sexual pleasure and wearing corduroys. Many stories were reported in the end of the 19th century or the beginning of the 20th by psychologists. The famous british actor John Gielgud had such a fetish for corduroys. It was publicly known when his diary was published after his death. Erik Satie, the French composer, wore only gray corduroys suits. When he died he had a closet full of corduroy suits. Such a fetish was common amongst gay men but there are also heterosexual men turned on by corduroys. The belgian author Georges Eekhoud wrote in 1904 a book named «Voyous de velours» that is «velvet or corduroy rogue» were it is obvious he had a special attraction for poor young men who wore faded corduroys. In French, the word «velours» is often used either for «velvet» or «corduroy». If a young frenchman says : «Je porterai mon jeans velours marron», he probably means «I will wear my brown corduroy jeans» and not «my brown velvet jeans».