My very first extraordinary outfit was a custom-made black velvet mock-neck, long-sleeved bodysuit with a full, red, satin skirt layered in tulle beneath and bedazzled with red hanging sequins. It was 1990 and my mom crimped my entire head of light brown stick-straight hair and threw it into a side pony with a sparkling red scrunchee. She let me wear lipgloss too. It was Christmas. I was in Little Girl Heaven.
Of course that sparkling skirt was a must-have for the year, but I have to tell you, nothing made me feel as good as snuggling up in my velvet bodysuit. I felt like a rock star. I was never a fan of turtle necks, being the itchiest-skinned kid on the block. Even the softest wools and cashmeres were annoying and left me blotchy and red, but velvet never bothered me. Same deal twenty years later. Except that I can no longer get away with a crimped side pony tail and a tulle lined skirt. Sigh…
Velvet conjures the most delightful memories, doesn’t it? There’s the Velveteen Rabbit, those fabulous floppy bows from childhood, the figure skating costumes of the 80s… and today (!), and of course for me there was that great bodysuit. It’s a smart fabric too, as it’s warm yet incredibly luxe. Luckily for those of us who are too old to pull it off as seen above, there are so many chic, grown-up ways to don the fabulous fabric nowadays. Here are some spectacular examples that you can afford. The best part? Velvet looks good on everyone. Velvet loves you back.
This wintry Juicy Couture sheath hugs the body in all the right places and the long sleeves render it super-comfortable despite its party flair. Love the length. Style it as seen here with black Wolford Cotton Velvet (!) tights and a great black pump, or dress it down with a nubby legging and flat boots. Personally, I don’t adore this necklace though. A great little staple like this does better with a flashy, dangling vintage earring and a crap-ton of bangles.
Bloomingdales.com, ON SALE for about $160
The fastest path to chic… throw on a velvet blazer with just about anything and instantly look more put-together yet approachable. My current favorite is this absolute steal from the Gap. At a mere $98, the gorgeous jacket is cut to perfection and features a cute notched collar, single button closure and perfect side pockets. It’s offered in sizes 0 to 20, so no one misses out. Pair with a crisp white shirt, skinny jeans and boots or a great dress and tights. Or a nice thick legging and a cute graphic tee. Or, you get the idea…
Beige silk top with Dolman-inspired sleeve and all-over black velvet floral. Obsession. This would be great with a black pencil skirt, tights, and a nice heeled boot, or black pants. It adds a subtle taste of spring to your winter wardrobe and floats gently away from the body for maximum comfort–and the ability to indulge in Chrismy cookies without having to suck in the tummy all night long.
Oh, J. Brand, how I love thee…
When it comes to finding the perfect fit in a pant, J. Brand is your new best friend. Just trust me on this if you have not yet discovered the truth for yourself. I will admit, sometimes it bums me that I have to go up a size in their non-stretchy styles, but whatever. Are you dying over these pocketed velvet legging/pants? I am. They fit like a glove, the tush looks impeccable in them, and at $165, they are a doable staple that you will live in all winter long… and next winter, and the one after that. I would work these in wherever jeans go but since they fit snugly you could get away with a dress too. Rock them at night with a fabulous party shoe and a glittery top, or to the office with a contrasting blazer or a demure blouse and low black pump.
These Alexander Wang come-hither penny loafers are the perfect marriage of fun and sophisticated. The penny loafer front is reminiscent of little girl days, yet the thick heel is powerful and sturdy, suggesting the wearer is no weak damsel. The stretch-velvet shaft dresses them up to nighttime status and is a fun way to work the great trend into footwear without looking too sweet.
Shopbop.com, ON SALE for about $520
The moral of the story is, you can wear velvet, no matter what your personal style. It’s everywhere, it’s affordable, and it is the epitome of cozy-chic. Happy shopping, my little velveteen rabbits!