With the season of celebrations in full swing, there’s no better way to add instant luxe to your look than with the most aristocratic of fabrics: velvet. Not to be confused with its less glam cousin velour (think leisure suits), velvet is often thought of as the fabric of kings and queens. But this season we’ve seen it reinterpreted in the most swoon worthy way.
No longer just reserved for the classic velvet blazer that makes its debut every holiday season, it’s now reinvented in unexpected hues, cut in modern shapes on clothing and ingeniously used on shoes, boots, handbags and this season’s must have—chokers.
Perhaps its use everywhere is a reflection of the fashion industry’s homage to the singer/songwriter Prince, who was a big fan of it in various shades of regal purple. But the fabric gets its elitist reputation as it was originally only made of pure silk and by a labor intensive process that made its production expensive. Creating the material’s distinct sumptuous feel requires large quantities of thread for its looped pile, that are usually cut to reveal its rich texture. Although it’s now a more egalitarian fabric, there are still differences in quality.
It’s like drinking Scotch, although enjoying it is usually a process, it’s hard to downgrade once you’ve tasted a dram of the real deal. The same holds true for this fine fabric. If you have trouble knowing the difference, the price tag is often a good indicator. The superior kind is lightweight, drapes perfectly and won’t stick in all the wrong places. That’s not to say there aren’t economic merits to the less expensive type—velvet that is. Use your sense of touch to determine how the fabric feels, as it will ultimately influence your experience when wearing it.
For this holiday season if you want to dazzle during the festivities, invest in one or two signature velvet items that won’t leave you with regret. This usually translates to well-made items you’ll cherish and proudly wear, albeit sparingly (one item per outfit), time and time again. If you’re a velvet novice and still unsure about this plush fabric, accessories can help ease the introduction. But if you’re smitten with velvet, you’re spoilt for choice. The only problem you’ll have is restraining yourself from wearing it, head to toe.