What to wear with a velvet jacket

Photo: Claire Pepper

Steer clear of pleats and for God's sake avoid ruffles. Frankie Graddon's tips for wearing velvet jackets

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By Frankie Graddon on

You know that thing? That thing when you just really, really want something and you’re not entirely sure why or where it came from? Yesterday you were happy with your lot but today… today you’ve spent the whole of shower-time fixating over the bag/top/shoes/dress and strategising how you can acquire it before lunch. Well, I have that thing and it’s all because of a velvet jacket. 

Last spring, when the autumn shows took place, it was clear that velvet was going to be a thing. Never having a natural affinity to velvet (unless it’s on a pair of ankle boots or a sofa cushion) I put it into the Trends I Won’t Be Trying Next Season box along with stirrup leggings and corset belts. (Christ). But after seeing a friend look fantastic in a burgundy velvet trouser suit, I have reconsidered and convinced myself that purchasing one is instrumental in making the rest of my clothes ‘work’ for the next few months. 

Surprisingly there is some rational here. Velvet is indeed a wonderful thing; sumptuous and luxurious, it is the fabric of red wine, lipstick, Film Noir vamps and after-dark cocktails. A little bit of velvet can spruce-up a pair of jeans/tailored trousers or turn a plain T-shirt into something more interesting. 

Wear with a T-shirt and jeansBoden velvet jacket, £129

On account of velvet’s bulk-making abilities, my one styling suggestion is to keep whatever is happening in the rest of your outfit fuss-free. My attempt to wear a velvet jacket with a pleated midi-skirt went disastrously (far too much fabric) as did pairing it with a ruffle-front shirt. My boyfriend quite accurately told me I looked like Austin Powers which is, you know, far from ideal.

With a pyjama shirt and trousers

Instead I would suggest T-shirts and fine-knit jumpers with a V, boat or crew-neck (high neck-lines looks too stuffy). Skinny, straight or – my new obsession – kick-flare jeans with a low heel or trainers. Or pyjama-style shirts which, when worn with tux trousers, make a nice take on trousersuits (as demoed above). 

After purveying the high-street I can tell you that Boden do a cracking velvet jacket  which comes in both navy and burgundy. It’s not cheap (£129), but the velvet is good quality – not shiny or rustly – and it’s properly made so is both warm and fits well. The latter I have found helps when you have big boobs as ill-fitting velvet makes them look positively ginormous.  

With a Breton and black trousers

Elsewhere, Whistles have a tie-waist jacket to die for but on the more affordable end is Marks & Spencer's single button style. I would also recommend looking in Monsoon – a phrase I am unused to saying, but their winter stuff is really nice and includes several velvety jackets, some with matching trousers.

Five of the best velvet jackets 







Photos: Claire Pepper
Photo: Claire Pepper
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