The velvet jacket. This season's answer to texture, the plush blazer is witnessing a renaissance, propelled in recent seasons by Dolce & Gabanna, Haider Ackermann and bringing-sexy-back designer, Tom Ford.
Velvet has featured heavily on the red carpet too as Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Douglas Booth captain their fellow recruits into the vampy, velvet army. But before you sign up, let's look at the prerequisites.
The velvet jacket is having a 'moment'. That's great news, meaning you get to have fun with it; experimenting with a soft-touch fabric that doesn't normally feature on your torso. But there are limitations. To help you adapt to velvet wisely, pick a jacket colour and style that goes well with your current wardrobe. And, of course, your personality.
Because velvet is a trend in itself, mixing the fabric with timeless black or navy is a foolproof option. But for the more avant-garde, why not try a Tom Ford-inspired velvet jacquard (a raised pattern that gives height to the fabric by the way it's weaved) in a blood red or neon blue?
Or for the rocker and dandy among us, glaring pastels and deep purples are your go-tos. Let's learn properly the pleasures (and limitations) of the soft, luxurious cloth - before anyone dare leave the house.
The rules for velvet as a formal jacket are simple: keep it slim, trim and taut. Perfect as a dinner jacket, velvet adds a touch of plush to a standard tuxedo look but only if you let the fabric be the leading star. This means a sharp silhouette must come into line as the best supporting act.
Black velvet is the ultimate colour for super formal events, keeping the shirt, trousers and accessories relatively neutral and clean. Midnight blue, dark purple and then other earthy colours such as moss green, red and brown are safe hues, too.
Pair velvet dinner jackets or peak lapel ones with a black bow tie (in velvet for extra some matchy-matchy) over a crisp white shirt, black slacks and patent leather Derbies. No luxuries spared.
The chicness of European style goes hand-in-posh-hand with velvet. Emphasising a less is more approach to the jacket, even the more dapper smoking coat looks easy to wear, when paired with a flat roll neck in black to make the coloured velvet pop.
Europeans like their sweaters, so go cashmere under the velvet jacket to give some more natural texture. Rich red or sapphire blue keeps the outfit elegant without appearing too nighttime like heavy black would. And accessories are everything, so go big and light with scarves and pop on some matte-black shades to cement the sleek attitude.
For those rock moments when you want a little edge that doesn't scream punk or goth, velvet offers a touch of glam to a jet black, skinny jean-ed, floppy-haired dude. A great alternative to a leather jacket, velvet blazers play a melodic rock ballad without all that metal and unnecessary zip detail.
Printed silk scarves work well with velvet; the flat sheen of the silk complementing the gloss of the velvet, without stealing the limelight. Then, add some leather Chelsea boots, a gold chain and belt to make up for the metal-less jacket.
Casual velvet? Yes, sir. And it's easy to do, when you approach it, effortlessly. There isn't too much think-work involved, so place the jacket succinctly over a streamline, street look. Slim jeans and plain tees (always untucked and slightly oversize) is an easy outfit, made super sports-luxe with stark, white sneakers.
For winter, take a bigger fit velvet and layer it like a topcoat, working underneath tweedy waistcoats, cable knit sweaters or a washed-out denim jacket – always buttoned-up, creating a tonal look with the blue between the two pieces.
You better work
Velvet is very workable in the office, provided you aren't breaking a corporate dress code with the sheeny jacket. Those creative agency types have this look in the bag, pairing it with a crisp white shirt (no prints and patterns needed with velvet here) and a business tie in silk – woven, for extra texture.
The jacket needs to be ultra fitted, like any office piece would, matched with a pair of wool trousers or if you're a little more corporately liberal, cotton chinos or the super radical – yes, corduroy.
Nothing inhibits or embarrasses the modern dandy. So don't hold back. Go hell-for-velvet with vibrant lighter colours – be it rose, mint, or yellow – for a super dandy, star-of-the-show effect. Or, opt for an on trend jacquard brocade in stately black, letting the illustrious pattern and plush fabric peacock its way around the party.
Meanwhile, the plain velvet jacket is the perfect printed fashion companion. Opting for a rich blue or forest green, the absence of pattern leads the dandy to lash out on prints elsewhere: a neckerchief in paisley, a polka dot pocket square and a droplet-print button shirt – worn all at once.
Leather loafers and a contrast pop-coloured brogues in suede bounce off the velvet jacket and the elimination of socks gives back even more quirkiness. Now go find a fellow gent to discuss the life and works of Oscar Wilde.
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