Giovanna Battaglia photo: Style du Monde

Continuing the Casual Glamour conversation, the best way to wear velvet is 1970’s style; as dressed-up daywear. Giovanna Battaglia sets the tone with her velvet blazer, bright accessories and kick-flare jeans. And I’ve recently rediscovered one of my poshest, posh sweatshirts, again. Blimey, this photo is four-years-old, wish my face had retained the same, lush quality as the velvet:

Photo: Dvora @Fashionistable

The word velvet comes from Latin vellum (or fleece) and the best version has always, historically, been made from silk. Though obviously that comes at a price; Toast has a selection of lovely velvet-y items in a silk viscose mix (available HERE) including a wonderful silk velvet kimono gown that’s just asking to be worn outdoors, and a Pull-On-And-Go tee, that I’d pair with black jeans and Whistles’ velvet trainers.


Should you want to swing your pants, & Other Stories has black velvet culottes that could ‘cut a rug’ on the dancefloor. While Boden’s velvet trouser suit (in burgundy, cotton elastane: jacket HERE, trousers HERE. And navy, HERE) or stretch velvet jeans bring a little chic to the fleece factor.

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Boden velvet

Has anyone checked out M&S’ velvet offering? At the press day, the eye-catching pink velvet trouser suit was highly-flammable-looking (I’ve just checked and it’s a flush-tastic 100% polyester). Must make an effort to actually visit a store soon, the Bordeaux velvet jacket doesn’t look bad and comes in a cooler, silk viscose mix (available HERE). Just add stretch, black pants and velvet ballet pumps:

M&S velvet01_T59_4004J_ZH_X_EC_0

And, one of the best ways to wear velvet…

Keith Richards "Purple" London 1968
Photo: Ethan Russell

Here’s a, um, velvet goldmine:


35 thoughts on “The best way to wear velvet

  1. I used to have quite a few velvet blazers, but alas I gave them all away when they didn’t fit anymore!
    I may have to replenish my stock.
    Both my mom & Nancy (the other models on my blog) have some items in velvet—so I’ll just have to get something so I can do a blog series on this!!
    Thanks for the great inspiration!

  2. I can give you an M&S review! After repeatedly looking at them and expecting them to be awful, I went ahead and ordered the Autograph velvet wide leg trousers in a dark olive colour – they are amazing! Sumptuous velvet, they drape beautifully an are so flattering. I had to have them taken up like everyone else, but a small price to pay for this season’s favourite trousers. I’m a real velvet freak so this season is heaven for me – I’ve also bought the Archive by Alexa black velvet trouser suit, which fits me like a glove and is also incredible. There!

  3. In the late 1990’s I had a pair of fabulous black velvet jeans by Melbournian designer Bettina Liano. I saved for ages for those jeans & wore them bare, god I felt sexy in them.
    I’d go for the slouchy pyjama type these days

  4. Ooooh velvet! There is something so decadent and sensuous about velvet. Like Jodie I gave all my velvet jackets and trousers away years’ ago. I remember I had a three velvet jackets in burgundy, bottle green and chocolate brown and I loved them to bits. (Don’t get me started on the velvet flares). Silly me! Velvet is also incredibly soft and comfortable. On the lookout now – you have firmly planted a ‘bee in my bonnet’.

  5. I’ve just bought a fab pair of velvet trews from Finery. I think they’ll be the bees knees at Christmas when I want something sort of festive but loose and comfortable. I feel a Slade song coming on Oh please no!
    Love the blazer in the first pic.

  6. Timing! I broke my Retail Shopping Fast today while checking out the new & Other Stories shop in Bordeaux. . . proud new owner of said black velvet culottes. Not sure how many rugs I’ll be cutting, but I’m hoping to manage some Casual Glamour, at the very least…

  7. Just bought that M and S Bordeaux jacket – hangs beautifully and conceals waist or derriere deficiencies, whilst being low enough at the front to cope with a bosom! And no expensive so an easy way to nod to a trend.

  8. Love velvet. Can’t bear to part with it. Just realized I have 2 pairs of velvet brogues. One in black the other brown. Bought them in Italy. Must wear now with jeans or leggings. Would love a velvet sweatshirt. You’re very inspirational. I wore a Nike jacket this weekend with the grandkids and they gave me a 9,000 swag ratting. Brought out that jacket because of you.

  9. Wish the high street would offer a velvet sweat shirt; if anyone’s seen one, please post here — the Chloe one is sumptuous but out of my price bracket.

  10. These items are v tempting – and I agree with above – it would be great to find an affordable sweat shirt while the blue one you are wearing is fab and reminds me of a beautiful blue boat necked mini velvet dress I bought from Whistles 20 (!) years ago. I just worry as a tall person, now size 14/16 I might look like a walking pair of velvet curtains if I were to wear too much velvet…

  11. These items are v tempting – and I agree with above – it would be great to find an affordable sweat shirt while the blue one you are wearing is fab and reminds me of a beautiful blue boat necked mini velvet dress I bought from Whistles 20 (!) years ago. I just worry as a tall person, now size 14/16 I might look like a walking pair of curtains if I were to wear too much velvet…

  12. I’m sitting here in my pomegranate (?) red silk velvet dressing gown (Toast sale a few years ago). It has never occurred to me to wear outside of the house……..shame, I had a wedding a while back and it would have looked fantastic with the Sahara black dress…………….maybe next time.

  13. I love velvet and always have done. I was a sixties girl and had my velvet jacket. It looked great with just about anything. A little mention here as well for velvet’s sister – crushed velvet. A maxi dress in that was the bees knees.
    Yes, the best way to wear it is to be Keith Richards.
    These days I would stick with the velvet sweatshirt as styled by Alyson. It looks fab. (another sixties word).

  14. I absolutely adore velvet, but only good velvet, not the horrible polyester stuff. Over the years I’ve had many gorgeous velvet things, but sadly am down to one pair of black velvet jeans. I NEED more.

  15. My favourite charity shop buys back in my poorer students days were three velvet smoking jackets in navy, burgundy and bottle green. In a tiny men’s size (smaller than a small) they fitted really well around the shoulders. Wore them to death, usually with 501’s, white tee and heeled boots. ‘sigh’

    1. Sarah, what a wonderful look that is. Thanks for that description. Makes me want to go thrift-shopping to find small men’s coats for myself. Great post, Alyson. Am a new reader and have bookmarked your lovely blog.

    1. Hi Maudie, it was early/mid 80’s when everyone was wearing stonewashed denim and dayglo socks – I like to stand out from the crowd!

  16. Ahh! brings back happy memories of my 70s velvet jackets… Moving forward, I can recommend the one size velvet shirts from Wall London, they make great loose fitting jackets.

  17. Time to get my big orange Georgina von Etzdorf velvet stole back into daylight. It cost a fortune, and I justified it by rationalising that I would never be too old or too fat for it…. about 25 years ago. The vintage stuff I’ve had since the 80s is now being worn by my teenage son., such as our brocade tux! (He is tall and slight, and I am smaller. No prizes for guessing which of us looks wonderful!)

  18. So many beautiful choices. Still waiting for Finery to bring the velvet jumpsuit back into stock but love the M&S velvet jacket and thank you to Sharon for the review. Also the Whistles high waist black pants.

  19. Who remembers those tight velvet hipsters ( no hint of a stretch ) from the 70’s?. Usually from Kensington market, how I loved that place. I remember wearing them on a long train journey and arriving with a terrible stomach-ache from being so constricted.
    Then there were the Toast brown velvet trousers that were too big so I sold them on e-bay, I wish I hadn’t. Now my only velvet garment is an M&S silk velvet shirt in midnight blue which is rather beautiful and is my go-to for a winter night out. LOVE Keith Richards in that suit !

  20. There’s obviously a lot of us women of a certain age reading this. Yes, I remember the velvet flares with no stretch whatsoever from Kensington market! And I’ve just remembered my Selina Blow velvet jacket lurking in the back of the wardrobe. Mid thigh, sharp cut, bought when it was drastically reduced in Harrods sale who knows when. I thought I was the bees knees. Still fits, as long as I leave it unbuttoned! And Georgina von Etzdorf, still got the velvet scarves but why did I get rid of the velvet coat?! Anyway, I’ve just ordered the Whistles velvet trainers whilst this Cyber Monday thing is still going on AND the M&S velvet trousers. Although I promise I won’t wear them together.

  21. I have kept my Georgina Von Etzdorf velvet scarves and one by English Excentrics. I kept two velvet Blazers one a black brocade one which I had shortened and a teal stretch one by Essential Antwerp. They both still look good and are worn frequently. I recently revived an olive panne velvet top from 90s by washing, and having sleeves shortened to bracelet length and hem taken up. Glad I kept it since it is so of the moment. Hope the pair of black velvet jeans I have retained still look okay. Trying to still fit into these clothes a good incentive. If too small, I send them on to a new home.

  22. I love velvet so much and am happy that it’s a trend today. I’m writing about it myself. You look lovely in that top. I missed you, you got sick. And yes, you did sneak Keef in there. xx

  23. Thirty years ago I bought a 1950s black silk velvet swing coat in a village jumble sale visiting the in laws in the depths of rural Dorset. The quality of the velvet is sumptuous and I have to be careful not to sit stroking myself when I wear it. Once I was no longer an impoverished student I was happy to pay for the professional cleaning and bit of repair work it needed feeling that was a fair exchange for my original 50p investment! I did have to remove a dead animal collar of unclear origins, sometimes you can only go so far down the vintage road……….

  24. Adore velvet. I’m old enough to have had a pair of velvet loons, purple they were

    I’ve just bought some velvet leggings, love them. And the reduced velvet ankle boots from Top Shop, much as it pained me to give Philip Green my money.

  25. I picked up a nice navy velvet jacket at M&S a few weeks ago but they appear to have sold out of it very quickly. I LOVE velvet so this is one trend I’m embracing vigorously. Once I can wean myself off the festive sequins….

  26. I have a small roll of darkest navy silk velvet – I bought it over 30 years ago and don’t have the confidence to make anything as it’s SO special and gorgeous.
    One reason is, I can’t find a pattern I love, and second reason, silk velvet is not easy to stitch without puckering. I’d love to mix it with another fabric to realise the contrast.

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