We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Bedford Cord?

By Elizabeth Kelly
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
BeautyAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At BeautyAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Bedford cord is a specific variety of durable, woven fabric. It is similar to corduroy in that the weave has raised ridges running in a lengthwise direction. The fibers that make up the material typically are wool or worsted, but the cloth also is sometimes made of cotton, rayon or silk. The ridges occasionally are made more pronounced with stuffing.

Sources disagree about whether Bedford cord was first named for the town of Bedford, England, or for New Bedford, Massachusetts. Bedford which has been in the cotton textile industry since 1846, and New Bedford also has a textile history that dates to the 19th century. Both cities have produced corded fabrics known as Bedford cord, and both claim the name as their own.

The ridges in the material and other corded fabrics are called cords or wale, and the size or thickness of the ridge is measured in wale numbers. Higher wale numbers indicate the thinnest cords, and lower wale numbers signify a broader cord width. Particularly broad cording is usually referred to as wide wale.

It is a particularly durable fabric, so Bedford cord's use in the fashion industry predominantly is in the construction of outerwear, winter trousers or garments that do not require a fabric with draping ability. Blazers, heavy jackets, coats and suits are typical uses of this somewhat inflexible cloth, and trousers of this material are ubiquitous enough that the slacks themselves often are referred to as Bedford cords. The material is also used in the construction of jodhpurs or riding breeches and can be used to upholster furniture that requires a hard-wearing cloth surface.

Bedford cord can be woven from pure wool, cotton pique, silk, rayon or blends of fiber. Its name sometimes is used interchangeably with other corded fabrics, such as corduroy, Manchester cloth or corded velveteen, though there are slight variations between the various corded fabrics that are of little consequence to those outside the textile industry. In terms of clothing and fashion, the term "cord" generally is specific enough to be understood.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Rotergirl — On May 31, 2014

@Pippinwhite -- Never heard that, but it's an interesting hypothesis! I'd always heard the term Bedford cord, but never really knew what it was. Now I have a much better idea of what kind of fabric it actually is.

By Pippinwhite — On May 30, 2014

I smiled when I saw this. A Bedford cord dress actually figures into the Lizzie Borden murder case. She probably changed her dress (the one with blood on it) for a Bedford cord that was the same basic color as the one she eventually burned.

I'm sort of a student of the case, and one source, "A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight" by Victoria Lincoln is the definitive work in many ways, in my opinion.

BeautyAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

BeautyAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.