Ah, whipcord and gabardine, two of my favorite fabrics to stumble across on Goodwill racks. Most people who are thrift store junkies like me are likely familiar with these two classic fabric styles, but here’s my lowdown for those of you not in the know.

Both gabardine and whipcord are used in certain styles of vintage clothing, with whipcord (wool or cotton) being primarily used in outdoor and workwear, and gabardine showing up in lightweight jackets or - more commonly - button-up shirts. Gabardine is a favorite of rockabilly fans. Whipcord - usually wool or cotton, as mentioned above - is generally for outerwear; specifically, work wear, jackets, military uniforms, etc.  You can see the ridges in the fabric and it has a rougher texture than gabardine.

So, why buy it? Personally, I like vintage American workwear and men’s attire, largely because it used to be cheap at thrift stores, and affordable mens clothing back in my day (90s/early aughts) was usually cut really big - and while I may not be as slender as I used to be, I liked a trim cut that wasn’t available. Also, gabardine is a luxurious looking fabric that is still breathable and nice for summer shirts.

If you want to pick up a few whipcord or gabardine pieces to call your own, some good places to check are local thrift shops, vintage shops, and garage sales. These fabrics may not be as popular as they used to be, but you can definitely still find them in the wild if you really look.