How to carry off Velvet in style

Model 4 wearing a Emerald Velvet Jacket from Samuel Windsor

Invest in a luxurious velvet jacket
Image: Emerald Velvet Jacket from Samuel Windsor

Have you always thought velvet is too glitzy for you? Too Liberace-esque and so best left in the closet?

Think again because this suave and swanky fabric is too good to keep under lock and key. But to look good in velvet means wearing it right. Here’s how to look super sharp in this most luxurious of fabrics.

Choose real velvet

man in red velvet suit

Velvet looks great in rich, jewel tones.
Featured product: Velvet waistcoat in wine

Velvet only looks classy if it’s good quality. Daniel Dykes at Fashionising says: “Avoid velvet made from synthetic fabrics, such as those produced in polyester and nylon.” Products like these look cheap and nasty, and don’t wear well either.

Real velvet, woven from silk or cotton, is the only choice for gents with style. It oozes quality and authenticity and as long as you look after it, will keep you looking great for years.

Oliver Franklin Wallis at GQ magazine loves velvet. He says: “Velvet has that smoking jacket feel and a lot of people like it because it has a bit of a vintage look.”

How to wear a velvet jacket

paisley velvet smoking jacket

Try an opulent paisley for a ‘smoking jacket’ feel.
Featured image: Velvet jacket in navy paisley

Velvet looks best when you choose one smart, tailored piece worn with contrasting fabrics, like a velvet blazer.

Grace Opulanza at Men’s Style Fashion loves to see a man in a velvet jacket twinned with a crisp white shirt:

“Velvet materials are very seductive, so wear it with macho attitude. Us women will go gaga.”

“Casual velvet? Yes, sir.” says Benjamin Fitzgerald at Dmarge. For less formal wear he says a velvet jacket makes a great alternative to a leather jacket:

“Velvet blazers play a melodic rock ballad without all that metal and unnecessary zip detail.”

For a dressed down look, pair your jacket with a plain t-shirt, simple silk scarf, dark trousers and a pair of Chelsea boots.

Grey Fox Blog’s David also thinks casual velvet works well. He suggests you wear your velvet jacket with a denim shirt for a shabby chic outfit that still oozes style. For more formal wear, he suggests you team velvet with a roll neck sweater for a jazzy, shirtless look.

Can you wear velvet trousers?

grey fox in velvet

A full velvet suit – a bold cut.
Image source: Nick Maroudias, Grey Fox Blog

The golden rule for wearing velvet trousers is to go for a slim, straight-leg cut. “A skinny fit is too glam rock and anything wider and looser than slim is probably god-awful,” writes Cillian O’Connor at FashionBeans.

He goes on to say that unless you want to look like David Bowie, experimenting with oversize fits and different proportions is a no-no.

Alive Mag’s Justin Whaley agrees with the idea that velvet trousers should be slim fit. He says that when you’re wearing this fabric you want a “modern fit”, slim enough that there’s just a bit of ankle showing, but not not as tight as skinny jeans.

Colour-wise, black velvet will always be the classic choice, but it’s worth considering colours too. The best bet is to keep them dark and plain; Cillian at FashionBeans suggests shades of byzantium purple, navy blue or even bottle green.

Velvet collars

man in grey chesterfield coat

A velvet collar takes your outerwear up a notch.
Featured product: Covert coat in charcoal

If you’re not ready to go for a velvet jacket or trousers, consider some well chosen velvet accessories instead. A stylish velvet bow tie, or pocket square is a great way to liven up a smart jacket or coat.

Talking of outerwear, the Fashion Editors at Esquire magazine say that a touch of velvet on a coat elevates it to something very special indeed: “An overcoat is [just] an overcoat, unless it has a black velvet collar, in which case it’s a Chesterfield. The velvet adds flair.”

Velvet collared coats were first made popular by the 6th Earl of Chesterfield in the 1840s, but the look is still on point now, adding a suave touch of James Bond elegance.

How to accessorise with velvet

velvet bow tie

Velvet accents are classy without going the whole hog.
Image source: The Urban Gent

The velvet bow tie might have been part of the fashion horror show that was the 1970s, but they’re a different animal now. According to Daniel Dykes at Fashionising, they’ve come on leaps and bounds, and are now more wearable than ever. The Urban Gent agrees, urging that: “If you have any black tie events coming up, you should try wearing a velvet bow-tie.”

A pocket square also works well as a first foray into velvet wearing. As Michael at Michael 84 remarks, a tie and pocket square “add a little bit of elegance or colour which could set you apart from everyone else.” Paired with a plain black jacket for evening wear, it will give your look a very sophisticated lift.

red vevet shoes in front of brick wall on a pedestal

Velvet shoes are subtle and classy.
Image source: Shutterstock

Anyone for a pair of velvet loafers or slippers? Belgian Dandy admits you’ll either love or hate velvet shoes, but adds that their beauty lies in the fact that they can be combined with anything from faded jeans through to a double breasted suit and still look suave.

It’s worth noting that velvet shoes need regular brushing to keep the nap clean and smart and they don’t take too well to rain. But, says Daniel at Fashionising, teamed with a velvet jacket or trousers, they look “louche and desirable”.

Top tips for wearing velvet

  1. Make sure your velvet is made from cotton or silk, and avoid synthetic velvets that use polyester or nylon.
  2. Dress velvet up with a crisp shirt or a roll-neck sweater for a distinguished look.
  3. Wear velvet casually with a denim shirt and Chelsea boots.
  4. If you choose to wear a full velvet suit, straight cut trousers are best.
  5. Velvet accessories are a great way to add a luxe feel to your look if you’re not ready for a full velvet jacket.
  6. To keep velvet looking elegant, make sure you brush it regularly, avoid folding it and try to avoid getting it wet.

Have you successfully incorporated velvet into your wardrobe? We’d love to hear your styling tips, so do get in touch via our Facebook page.

Posted in How To - Style.