Corduroy Buffs Turn Nov. 11 Into 'Corduroy Appreciation Day' (VIDEO)
Think of corduroy and you get all sorts of visual images. Some might think of the greasy-haired 1970s-era stoners from movies like "Dazed And Confused" in their bell-bottomed light blue cords, while others might picture pipe-smoking preppy English professors who seduce grad students in a chocolate brown cord jacket with leather patches.
As disparate as both of those admittedly stereotypical descriptions seem, there is a common thread between folks who love corduroy according to fashion blogger and corduroy fan Brittany Martin.
"There is that 'Dead Poets Society' thing, but in a great way," Martin told HuffPost Weird News. "I think corduroy appeals to people who want nostalgia and durability."
They apparently also want a good time. At least on Nov. 11, which has been celebrated as "Corduroy Appreciation Day" since 2005 by a group called the Corduroy Appreciation Club.
Why Nov. 11? Well, when written out as 11/11, it resembles the familiar pattern of corduroy. Members consider this year's Corduroy Appreciation Day to be the most important day in history because the number pattern 11/11/11 -- or, as they prefer, 111111 -- is the numerical pattern that most resembles the wales that give corduroy its unique look.
Corduroy Club spokesman Kurt Schlachter said there will be celebrations all over the world including New York, Washington, D.C., Montana, Oakland, Calif., London and South Africa.
Although the the word "corduroy" looks and sounds like it should be linked to the French phrase "corde du roi" (cloth or cord of the king), the word and the cloth are both English in origin. It's also not as highfalutin' as the name sounds -- and that's what gives corduroy its appeal, according to Schlachter.
"Most people feel corduroy is as utilitarian as denim -- only more sentimental," he said.
Each city's corduroy adherents celebrate in their own way, but Schlachter says the New York "'roy ragers" are changing their usual ceremonies slightly.
"Usually, we insist people wear at least two items of corduroy, but we will have a three-item rule," he said.
Meanwhile, Martin's crew in DC will celebrate with a special corduroy-themed cocktail called "Hail the Wale," that is being served only at Room 11, a local bar. The drink includes Rye, lemon juice and Sixpoint Brewing Righteous Ale.
But for every person like Martin or Schlachter who get nostalgic feelings when they wear corduroy, there are others like fashion writer Rebekah Sager who feel, well, fleeced.
"Growing up poor in DC, kids would be made fun of for having to wear their cords past winter," she told HuffPost Weird News.
Fellow fashionista Cristin Anelysse agrees that many people don't cotton to corduroy because of bad memories.
"I think an entire generation has memories of corduroy that aren't good because they think back on photo days at school when they had to dress up and couldn't wear jeans," she laughed. "So they wore these hideous pants."
Although corduroy is appropriate casual wear in places that aren't appropriate for jeans, Anelysse says the fabric isn't very forgiving to people with full-figures. "I'm hippy and ribbed corduroy accentuates it."
Gillian Flynn, editor of Riviera, a luxury magazine in San Diego, is of two minds about the fabric.
"To me, guys in cords are a real turn-on. They wear well and ooze old money," Flynn said. "However, it's a fashion crime when your corduroyed thighs make plastic instrument sounds, like, 'Is that a kazoo in your pants... or, um?'"
The tell-tale "thwick-thwick" sound associated with cords may come in for a ribbing, but Schlachter believes "the sound is a mating call" to the corduroy convert.
However, modern science is apparently tackling the "thwicking" noise with the same dedication a previous generation used to figure out how to put cheese in pressurized cans.
Chris Lindland is the inventor of "Cordarounds," a brand of cords that flips fashion on its side literally by making the wales -- or ribs -- horizontal.
Lindland, who is based in San Francisco, says sideways cords present a production problem ("You can't make the inseams beyond 36 inches," he explained), but says the upside is that his cords produce less noise than the kind with vertical wales.
"We're also more aerodynamic," he boasted. "You can get somewhere three nanoseconds faster in our cords than the traditional kind."
Whether the cords have horizontal ribs or vertical, Martin hopes that Corduroy Appreciation Day strikes a chord with people who may have given the material a dressing-down.
"I think there's a return to stylish casual wear," she predicted. "That means a return to corduroy."