Fashion & Beauty

Crushing on Velvet

November 14, 2023

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The velvet touch, from left to right: Lauren Ralph Lauren’s sleek, straight-leg pants, a bow-adorned crop jacket from Boden, floral pattern loafers from Talbot, Balenciaga’s hourglass wallet and Dries Van Noten’s opera gloves.

By Janet Kelly

SOFT, silky, buttery, plush—so many tactile terms to describe velvet. A historically expensive fabric once associated with royalty, it still connotes luxury, but it’s now available at a range of price points. As we go headfirst into the holidays, we say yay to its comeback for the season synonymous with festivity and sartorial splendor. Velvet is stunning worn in a matchy-matchy set—say a blazer and pants in rich maroon from that arbiter of elegance, Ralph Lauren. But it’s not just for special occasions. Johnny Was serves up a relaxed, boho chore jacket in a deep green velvet. What’s more useful than an accessory that adds the necessary spice to your look? Think Cornelia James’s sumptuous opera gloves, floral pattern loafers from Talbots and oh-so-cute, petite purses in vibrant red or pink from Boden and Balenciaga. Versatile velvet has also stepped into the bedroom with gorgeous print slippers and luxe robes, worthy of making an evening at home a party.

Below, see what spoke to us:


Few items of clothing look more elegant than a velvet suit. We especially like this one from Lauren Ralph Lauren because it’s in this rich burgundy, less expected than the traditional black but every bit as chic for an upcoming party, holiday dinner, you name the occasion. The lined, long-sleeve blazer with shoulder pads is darted at the waist and vented at the back hem. It sells for $325 at Bloomingdale’s. The matching, straight-leg pants are $195.


Printfresh, a favorite of mine for its cheery, colorful patterns on loungewear and apparel, has recently introduced its luxe velvet and satin sleepwear collection, including this Big Cat Energy reversible quilted velvet robe. Plush and warm, it’s designed to make any morning or evening feel like a special occasion. Available in fuchsia above or  “starless sky,” it sells for $298.


Take lounging to a new level and match your robe with Printfresh’s fancy slippers ($168) with velvet uppers, microsuede lining and non-slip bottoms. Faux fur ensures a cozy fit for your tootsies.


Long gloves have been around since the 15th century and gone in and out of fashion; think Jackie Kennedy’s long white ones, Audrey Hepburn’s long black ones, celebs (Jane Fonda, Lady Gaga) on the red carpet. For putting’ on the ritz, consider these Dries Van Noten’s crushed velvet elbow-length gloves with an abstract, one-of-a-kind print. They sell for $215.54, reduced from $290.78, at Italist.


Designer duo BruceGlen is better known for their brightly colored separates. Here, though, they give a gleam of glitter to a velvet long-sleeve turtleneck, which sells for $195 at Shopbop. You can’t see the rest of the photo, but it’s shown with a denim maxi skirt in black that subtly switches to green at the hem.


Velvet is not just for chi-chi occasions. Embrace your boho side with Johnny Was’s Frankie chore jacket, made from a blend of silk and velvet and accented with floral embroidery. Give your everyday jeans and T-shirt a treat by pairing them with this pine green jacket.

The antidote to the winter blues—slipping your toes into Talbots plush Ryan velvet loafers ($139). The foam inner sole will make your feet feel as good as they look.


We’re not done with Barbie pink. In this case, though, the big silvery B stands for Balenciaga and the tiny purse in velvet jersey is an “hourglass wallet.” With a removable chain strap, an inner pocket and six interior card slots, it will set you back $1,550 at Saks Fifth Avenue.


The holidays are coming. Put a bow(s) on it. That’s how Boden updates the classic black velvet jacket. Plus, it’s collarless and cropped, with the hemline of the jacket meeting the waistband of the matching pants. A modern look without betraying a bit of belly, it sells for $250.


Even a little red can add energy to your look, especially as the days get shorter and darker. Simple and compact, the Cece hobo velvet bag is the right size for toting your essentials whether you’re celebrating an occasion or just another Wednesday. It sells for $398 at Frances Valentine.


The design of these velvet opera gloves owes a debt to The Three Musketeers, who, during their storied adventures, wore like pairs with a three-button opening on the inside of the wrist called a mousquetaire. (We doubt Athos’s were this glamorous or had sparkly buttons.) According to the Cornelia James (glove maker for the late Queen Elizabeth II) website, should you need to eat while wearing these, “unbutton and remove your hand from the glove whilst leaving the sleeve of the glove on the arm.” Hmm. They sell for $287.


How to dress for Christmas eve at home? Wrap up in Natori’s midnight-blue Natalie velvet robe ($150). Even if you’ve spent the past weeks rushing around, buying presents, preparing dinners, you’ll look calm and collected, which might even translate to feeling that way.


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