19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Red Carpet

Velvet.

The mere utterance of the word can send shivers up the spine of even the most savvied dandy. It’s one of those rare fabrics that has both low- and highbrow connotations—and you wouldn’t want to be pegged to either—but if there’s any time of year you could get away with donning the dandified older cousin to corduroy, it’s now. So we’ve put together this handy guide:

The 10 Commandments of Velvet.

1. Know Thy Velvets. The first step to velvet enlightenment is knowledge. Velvet is a method of weaving that involves tufting the yarns into a dense pile. And that means velvet can be anything from silk to linen to the terrible synthetics that have given it a bad rap over the years.

2. Less Velvet Is More. A deep-emerald velvet blazer is a nice way to mix textures into your holiday party circuit ensemble. A deep-emerald three-piece velvet suit with matching velvet slippers is a nice way to look like an elf.

3. But Thy Velvet Suit Is Permissible. A nice two-button jacket in a dark oversaturated hue with a well-tailored pair of pants can be an incredibly sharp winterized look when done right.

4. Thou Shall Not Mix Corduroy and Velvet. One or the other should suffice in any situation. You’ll never need both. Ever.

5. Red Velvet. … is for mall Santas and cupcakes. This applies to any color that can be too bright, for that matter. A deep burgundy or wine is what you’re going for. (As for blue: think “midnight,” not “robin’s egg.”)

6. Thy Smoking Jacket Is Not a Toy. If your life has ascended to Hefner levels of genuinely requiring a velvet-lined smoking jacket everywhere you travel, by all means: enjoy. But in most cases, this is a glorified housecoat that shouldn’t see the outside of your mahogany-lined home bureau.

7. Thou Shall Velvet with Discretion. Not every occasion calls for the most sumptuous of fabrics. And because wearing it too often would dampen the thrill.

8. Thou Shall Not Go Full Wonka. Willy Wonka is a caricature of everything you don’t want to look like when you’re wearing velvet.

9. Prepare for the Wonka Jokes. It’s still possible that the doubters will be confused and possibly jealous to the point of name calling (especially if your deep wine hue skews more merlot than cabernet). Accept their ignorance and just know this:

10. Haters Gonneth Hate.

—N.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Najib Benouar