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In 1997 I had two long-sleeved velvet bodysuits – one was a garnet color with a mock turtleneck; the other was royal blue crushed velvet with a scoop neck. I’d pair them with baggy Calvin Klein jeans that were pretty much held up with my hip bones and bum, and on my feet were some well-worn Doc Martens.
When I saw velvet was back in style this season I groaned. Donna Martin graduated and so did I, from wearing velvet bodysuits. I have no desire to recreate the ‘90s even if it’s on trend. But the more I see how velvet is being styled this year, the more I’m digging it. Nordstrom asked me to share with you fall trends and I’ve been so impressed with velvet this fall I decided to feature it. While you won’t find me in a crushed velvet mock-neck body suit, you may find me in some of these wearable velvet trends:
The Velvet Jacket
This summer I attended a fundraising gala for a local theater. It was an Art Deco theater and guests were encouraged to dress in period fashion. My friend showed up in the most glorious beaded and embroidered black velvet long jacket/kimono/cocoon and I couldn’t stop drooling over it. She told me it’s one of the most versatile pieces in her wardrobe; style with a simple dress or pants and you’re ready for a cocktail party, the theater, and yes, a ‘20s inspired costume gala.
This jacket from Eileen Fisher isn’t as blingy but achieves the same effect as my friend’s jacket. But a jacket doesn’t have to be long and drapey to be this versatile. A tux-inspired velvet blazer can create a Le Smoking with cigarette pants and a silk camisole yet dress down with a tee and jeans. A cropped military-inspired jacket looks equally chic with a full taffeta midi skirt as a pair of fluid work trousers. A longer velvet jacket can take your work sheath from desk to drinks and work over skirts from mini to maxi and trousers of all leg widths.
Velvet is a great fabric for more casual jacket styles too. In such a fabric, a bomber or denim-inspired jacket can replace a blazer for a more creative workplace or can make a simple tank and jeans a chic ensemble for a night out.
Shop Velvet Jackets:
This is a trend where you can dig into the dark recesses of your closet or hit your local thrift store to score some fabulous velvet jackets with a history. To keep them looking modern, consider having them altered to narrow the sleeves and maybe the torso. Style with modern touches like crisp narrow trousers, pointed-toe boots, and structural bags.
The Velvet Boot
This season’s short boot makes a statement. Metallics, embroidery (my personal fave), studs, and yes velvet. In fact you can often find all of these in one statement boot.
A statement boot is a great wardrobe addition because it can make your current wardrobe look fresh and on trend. There’s sure to be a silhouette that appeals to your personal style. Chelsea boots, slim heels, block heels, granny boots, and yes those ‘90s staple the Doc Marten are available this season in velvet.
Shop Velvet Boots:
Style such a boot with tights and skirts of all lengths. It looks great under straight and bootcut jeans or slipped over jeggings or leggings and cuffed boyfriend jeans. If your office is more relaxed, it’s a fun way to add interest to work trousers. With a statement boot, don’t worry about matching. With a black base, treat them like solid black leather boots and pair with most anything in your closet.
The Velvet Dress
This is a category where you can easily go into grunge territory. There’s a lot of dresses on the market this season that give me flashbacks to college dated parties. But luckily there’s also a bunch that are beautiful, modern, and very wearable.
Shop Burnout Velvet Dresses:
My favorite way to wear the velvet trend this fall and winter is with burnout velvet. Burnout velvet is unique and elegant and will look chic even after the velvet trend has faded away. It’s artsy, it’s romantic, it’s goth, it’s elegant. It’s usually stretchy and it can make a swing or a-line style look after five. A burnout velvet dress can be worn to all the weddings, cocktail parties, and holiday fetes on your social calendar for the rest of the year.
Tips to Keep Velvet Looking Modern this Season:
If your style is ‘90s, balance it with modern makeup and accessories. Don’t pair your velvet fit and flare dress with chunky Mary Janes and brown lipstick. Keep the look crisp and chic with elegant shoes, a fresh face, sleek hair and by all means do not wear a velvet choker with it!
- Embrace velvet’s texture. Mix textures: velvet with chiffon, silk, distressed denim, cashmere, leather. Go luxe instead of goth.
- Tone down the sparkle. Velvet has its own sheen and doesn’t need a lot of bling. A red lip, a slim heel, a simple clutch and you’re ready for your formal affairs. Keep the sparkle for more matte of fabrics.
- Blend high with low. A velvet blazer can look downtown chic with boyfriend jeans. Pair a velvet skirt with your favorite tee shirt knotted at the waist. Style velvet jeans with Chucks. This is an especially good rule with vintage and vintage-inspired velvet pieces that may look too precious or stuffy otherwise.
- Don’t style velvet with velvet. While it may seem like aa good idea to style that velvet dress with your velvet T-strap heels, this is velvet overkill. Velvet makes a big statement, and does best when tempered with other materials. For dressy occasions, consider shoes in a matte silk or crepe so they don’t compete. Style a velvet skirt or trousers with a cashmere turtleneck or crisp white shirt; pair a velvet jacket or blouse with wool tuxedo pants or a silk faille midi skirt.
Thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. I’m psyched about so many trends this season and it has been fun being able to dig in to a few and show you how to make them wearable for all!