The vertical ribs of corduroy fabric are called wales. Their thickness can determine how the cloth is worn. Pinwale, which is dressier than the wider wale, has 16 ribs per inch. Corduroy suits are usually pinwale.
Casual corduroy trousers usually have 8 ribs per inch. The thicker wale has a richer color.
Corduroy looks better as it ages, but it tends to lose its pile. A suede or leather elbow patch can lengthen the life of a jacket, while also personalizing it.