Wednesday, 26 September 2012

How to Wear... Velvet

One of the few redeeming qualities of sub-15C temperatures is the fact that they legitimise decking yourself from head to toe in velvet - and no, you don't have to wait for a Christmas party!

The Skirt

A high-waisted skater cut adds cuteness to a velvet mini, making it easy to style for day as well as night. I like to team mine with a tailored shirt, opaques and heeled brogues for a smart daytime look, with a hint of berry to soften the monochrome palette. It would also work well with a sleek tucked-in knit for a vintage chic feel, or a slouchy studded jumper and chunky ankle boots for a hint of rock chick.

Skirt and Shirt: Primark (Past Season)
Belt: H&M (Past Season)
Shoes: Dorothy Perkins (Past Season)

For a luxe ladylike vibe, a velveteen pencil skirt would look lush, paired, again, with smart or casual daytime pieces, or with sexy bodycon tops for a glamorous evening look.

The Dress

A smock or skater-style velvet shift makes the perfect base for a decadent yet quirky daytime look, dressed down with opaques, boots, chunky cardis and gilets... and maybe a statement hat. Great for minimising tummies, this printed Chelsea Girl at River Island dress, £30, references this year's enormous Baroque trend, and could also be dressed up for evening in a flash with skyscraper heels and an armful of bangles.

No need to stick to black either - rich berry shades look amazing toned down with a casual jacket and tights, a la Kelly from A Twenty-Something.

Day to Night
Velvet looks amazing mixed in with sheer panels, lace and chiffon - and you get all of the above in this stunning midi dress from Marks and Spencer, £45. Layer on a long cardi, belted slightly open with a chunky waist cincher, and team with opaques and flats for day, then whip off the cardi and swap the flats for Loub-a-likes for night.

For optimum glamour, go bodycon, and make it full-length and fabulous (or stop below the knee for a slightly less high octane, vintage-style feel). I love black and gold for AW nights - all a velvet maxi dress needs is one statement accessory to tease out its full potential, plus some fabulous shoes, of course. If you're not confident enough to go bodycon, look out for a fuller-skirted version, or team a velvet body (see below) with a flowing chiffon skirt.

Dress, Cape and Shoes: Primark (Past Season) - originally featured in How to Wear... the Maxi Dress

The Top

New Look boasts a phenomenal range of velvet separates this season. This classic body, just £7.99, will look great with a leather skater or pencil skirt, chiffon or lace maxi, or lantern style skirt, topped off with statement accessories.

For added drama, a velvet peplum, like this one, £9.99 and also from New Look, is perfect for channelling the Edwardian, glam goth or rock chick vibe - team with a pencil, midi or maxi skirt, shorts or skinnies in leather or lace fabrics, or matching velvet for a one-piece look.

This version has a stunning lace back, but an all-over velvet version is also available.

Velvet also makes a stunning accessory to sheer fabrics, leather and embellishment, as in the stunning River Island top I featured in yesterday's How to Wear... Leather post.

Trousers and Shorts

Velvet leggings give a luxe, romantic twist to a casual look, teamed with chunky boots and a loose-fitting shirt, blouse, T-shirt, jumper or boho layers (I'll be channelling Marlenka from The Girl Never Gets Older), but would equally make for a glamorous jumpsuit effect paired with a peplum top, like the ones above. The pair below left is £18 from River Island, whilst the ones on the right are £7.99 from New Look. I haven't had the good fortune to come across either pair in real life yet, but the River Island pair look to be slightly higher-waisted, and possibly slightly longer - whether this makes them worth the extra £10.01 depends on your body and what you plan to pair them with - I think it's an only-really-know-when-you-try-them-on job.

Velvet shorts look great with chunky knits for day, and glamorous bodies and peplum tops for evening. I prefer high-waisted styles for a bit of a sophisticated vintage twist. These Baroque-embellished, sheer-panelled knicker shorts from River Island, below, are about as knockout as you can get, but try a plain A-line or knickerbocker style if you're less bum and thigh confident, or after a slightly subtler look.

Look out for playsuits too, to make a real statement, or create your own by mixing and matching separates.


A velvet coat adds pizzazz to boots, courts, sandals and wedges, which look great teamed with other velvet garments, as well as leather, denim and chiffon. I think velvet might be one of the only things that could possibly tempt me to pick up a pair of creepers - I really don't like those orthopaedic-style corrugated plastic soles... but a velvet platform does put a different complexion on them... The beautiful berry pair below are from Rocket Dog at New Look, £54.99 (also available in black glitter). Come on, bring out a pair for under £30!

Tomorrow: How to Wear the Kimono

See more posts featuring velvet here

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  1. this is the post I´ve been looking for! thank you! you´re beautiful =)

    1. Aw thank you :) More velvet coming soon, I'm a little obsessed atm!