When days are at their darkest and the landscape cold and bare, clothing is at its most luxurious. A soft velvet can be a versatile part of a winter wardrobe, adding a richness of texture and look just when we're in need of a visual boost.
A favorite of royalty and designers of evening wear for centuries, this fabric is a fine choice for festive holiday parties but also lends a touch of elegance to everyday wear.
A menswear-inspired red velvet blazer from The Limited, for instance, with a feminine, shrunken fit and three-quarter sleeves, can top off a favorite pair of jeans for everyday or be worn over a little black dress for a night out. It's $128.
Modern designers have added even more interest to velvet by offering the fabric in unexpected colors and patterns.
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The Etsy shop Oleander features a handmade Lexi Clutch in an icy-blue velvet embossed with a crocodile pattern, a playful but incredibly elegant take on a classic bag ($360 at Shopoleander.etsy.com). The label Free People offers skinny velvet pants in a rustic copper covered with polka dots ($98 at Freepeople.com.).
Even the most common of items can be transformed with a touch of elegance. Eyebobs, the eyeglass retailer, sells several designs of readers featuring velvet fronts with nylon temples, including the hipster-style Velvet Underground available in basic black or red ($75 at Eyebobs.com).
The familiar sneaker gets a fashionable makeover at American Eagle Outfitters with a glittering canvas and dressy velvet laces ($24.99 at Ae.com). It's just the bright accent needed to carry us through cold winter days to come.