Trends for 2019: How to Wear Velvet
From it's conception, velvet has always given the impression of a luxurious and classy fabric, turning a dull outfit into a chic and sophisticated one. Velvet is a trend that has popped up again and again throughout history, especially in the fashion industry, and this season is no exception! Nearly every brand has utilised velvet throughout the years, and most recently this includes Hell Bunny, Collectif, Madcap England menswear and Pretty Green. Everything can be made from velvet too including velvet dresses, velvet jackets and even velvet shoes! So what makes velvet such a popular fabric and where did fashion's obsession with this decadent fabric start?
What is Velvet?
Velvet is a woven tufted fabric in which threads are cut and distributed in an even manner in a short dense pile giving the fabric a very soft and smooth feel. Velvet fabric is traditionally made with silk but can also be made using cotton. Recently, synthetic fabric has also been used for velvet which is cheaper to produce but looks just as good!
The History of Velvet and its Importance Through The Decades
There is some speculation that the origin of velvet comes from the orient and then was brought over to Europe, where it was treated as an aristocratic luxury. In Europe, velvet first flourished in Italy and then caught on in France and other regions where it became an instant classic, associated with the rich, and weaved with a mixture of precious metals. Velvet continued to grow in popularity and with the industrial revolution it became more accessible and cheaper to make, thus it boomed in the fashion industry. Velvet has always been a popular fabric throughout the decades due to its versatility and continues, even now, to be the fabric of choice to add a touch of elegance to an outfit, especially around winter.
Velvet in the 1920's
The 1920's were a time for elegance and luxury, continuing the trend for velvet clothing. For men at the time, the must have garment was the smoking jacket, a classy blazer jacket made from a soft velvet that a gentleman would wear to smoke their cigars. This jacket was widely popular as velvet fabric masked the smell of cigar smoke, but made one look luxurious and gave a certain classy appearance that would be respected at social gatherings.
A Madcap England Mod Suit Blazer adapted from the 1920's smoking jacket – note the velvet collar and velvet accents to the ticket pocket.
Women also were allured by the charms of velvet. Flapper dresses and evening dresses could be made from velvet, making them perfect for parties and the opera coat was also a favourite velvet item of clothing. Devore, or burnout velvet, was also invented around this time in which the velvet is chemically burnt leaving only the silk fibres in a semi transparent design behind.
A vintage style Devore Dress from Bright & Beautiful – A 20s style dress perfect for parties and to add a bit of elegance to your everyday.
Velvet in the 1960's
The popular dandy fashions of the 1800's had a revival in the 1960's in Mod and Sixties Dandy fashion. Dandy style, also known as 'peacock style', heavily relied on flamboyancy which equated to velvet jackets, cravats and smart suit trousers. Mods adopted this fashionable dress code and made it their own: jackets and blazers were made from luxurious velvet with uniquely contrasting collars, Teddy Boy style Creeper shoes and Cuban Heel Chelsea boots were given a velvet upgrades, and even trousers were made from velvet fabric. Rock n' roll musicians in the 60's and 70's also adopted velvet as their fabric of choice now that it was easier and cheaper to do so. David Bowie, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix were seen frequently wearing all velvet ensembles. Women also turned to velvet in the 60's with velvet mini dresses and mini skirts.
A Madcap England 1960s style Mod Velvet jacket – A style adapted from the well dressed dandy.
Madcap England Velvet Creepers – an update on the creeper, now in velvet to imitate the vibes of the 60's.
Madcap England Velvet Chelsea boots – Retro 60s velvet goodness.
Velvet in the 1970's
Fashion once again shifted in the 70's. Mini skirts and tighter clothing were swapped for more free flowing and looser fitting garments. Bellbottoms and flares became the new trend, starting tighter at the top and flaring towards the bottom. People wanted comfier clothes and velvet was there to meet their demands. Crushed velvet also became very popular during the 1970's and had a revival once again in the 1990's, where major stars were wearing the fabric almost religiously.
Pretty Green 70s style velvet jacket from the Pretty Green Black Label range – A retro style jacket in a beautiful green proving that anything can be made out of velvet.
Velvet Trends in 2019
Velvet continues to be a popular fabric, especially for the winter season and it's back on trend for 2019. Velvet luxury adds a certain elegant quality to an outfit and for winter it's certainly lovely and warm which is needed to combat the cold. Velvet dresses, velvet shoes and velvet coats are certainly a must for winter; cosy, comfy and they look absolutely fabulous.
A vintage style short winter coat from Collectif – In a gorgeous and sumptuous velvet to keep you warm and looking fashionable at the same time.
A velvet track top from Fila Vintage – A retro style track top perfect for winter sports.
Velvet Hell Bunny party dress – A festive and glamorous dress, perfect for parties!