Velvet, even the word is smooth and alluring. It evokes feelings of comfort and luxury. It is an ancient textile that has maintained its presence in the market for centuries. People have always sought out velvet to add class and refinement to spaces and garments. Modern times are no different and advances in science and technology have made it more accessible than ever. Everyone can enjoy adding some velvet to their home and wardrobe, it is a classic that never truly goes out of style.

 A Lesson in Velvet

When I stated centuries, it wasn’t a joke. Velvet can trace its roots back to 2000 BC. The earliest known producers were the early Egyptians.(1) They began producing velvet textiles by weaving with an extra set of yarns. After weaving the extra yarns, known as “pile” yarns, are cut on the surface side of the fabric. The cut yarns create a hair, or furlike finish of short, dense yarns that stand erect. The word “velvet” actually refers to this structure.(2)
From Egypt, velvet made its way to Asia, the Middle East and then on to Europe.(1) These early textiles were all made from silk fibers and were very expensive and delicate. Which explains why, historically, it was a textile reserved for the elite and royal. To this day, it still carries a reputation of luxury and comfort.

 The Rise of Modern Popularity

Unlike in ancient times, today velvet is much more accessible to the average user. Of course, much of the “velvet” in the market is actually “velveteen” or “velour.” Velveteen is a faux velvet mostly made from cotton, and velveteen from cotton-blends.(2) The use of these alternative fibers has increased the durability of velvet-looking textiles. Gone are the days when all velvets would bruise and blemish from slight mistreatment. Another factor that has increased accessibility by decreasing cost is machine weaving. 

Velvet for Your Home

There are many other contributing factors to velvet’s current popularity, especially within the home. Note that the below products include velvet and faux velvet.
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The boom of transitional (modern mixed with traditional) styling in homes. More than ever people are gravitating towards the aesthetics of bygone eras. In uncertain times, it is very comforting to surround oneself with the comfort fo the velvet armchair

The jewel tone trend. Rich, saturated hues are all the rage and velvet has the uncanny ability to take on these deep tones. Pinks and Purples are heavy favorites.

The deep tones get enhanced when lighting gets involved. The nap and texture of the surface cause the light to reflect differently off of curves. Highlights and shadows get created that have a dramatic effect. This phenomenon is why tufted (drawing the fabric together) velvets are so widespread.

Dramatic velvet can look particularly lovely against a dark backdrop. With black, navy and other dark tones being popular paint colors, jewel tone velvets are a perfect accompaniment. The result is a very decadent feel.

Lux finishes are also currently in vogue. The trio of marbles and precious metals would not be complete without velvet.

modern chic interior purple velvet

Used elegantly and sparingly the addition of this ancient textile in your home will not date. Do be careful though, because using too much will look like you raided a medieval castle.

Velvet for Your Wardrobe

The use of velvet in your wardrobe may not be as long-lasting as using it in your home-but who can resist?

Velvet dresses and skirts are the perfect go-to for party wear this winter. The soft texture makes it warm and cozy, while the overall look is elegant and sophisticated.
Velvet blue dress

If you already have an outfit in mind, invest in some luxe accessories. Chokers, shoes, and bags in this luxurious finish are great options.

Men and women both can add some flare to the closet with a velvet blazer. Day to night, the look is classic.

men's velvet blazer

For men, a tie or pocket square is a small addition with a big impact.

No matter how you choose to incorporate velvet into your life, I would bet that you will have no regrets. Velvet is a tried and true textile staple.

(2) Fabric Science [9th Edition] by Allen C. Cohen, Ingrid Johnson, Joseph J. Pizzuto [Fairchild Pubns,2009] [Hardcover] 9th Edition

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56 comments on “Style Spotlight: Velvet for Your Home & Wardrobe”

  1. I love the way velvet comes in and out of fashion but it’s lasting charm never fades. I want a pair of velvet bell bottom pants in that gorgeous ruby red color on your post… now that would be rad. 🙂

  2. I don’t think I have a lot of velvet elements in my life, but I do love the texture and the look. I don’t like it so much in clothing though – I don’t know why. Maybe one day my mind will change. I love the velvet furniture and accessories! Maybe I should add some to Christmas wish list last minute!

  3. I am kind of obsessed with velvet right now and love that it is back in style. We have a yellow velvet couch in one of our rooms and I just bought a black velvet dress. 🙂

  4. Mmm not sure what to think about this. I had a velvet Christmas dress when I was younger and it was my favorite! But I’ve really tried to avoid it since then. Maybe I’ll try again?

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