An Oldie but a Goldie: The Return of Velvet
Velvet jackets were once one of the most treasured items in a man’s wardrobe — and they are making a comeback! Regarded as a winter staple by many a brandy-drinking Victorian gentleman for their relaxed, expensive appearance, the velvet dinner jacket is still worn to this day on red carpets and for black-tie events.
With the increase in popularity of velvet blazers in weddings and on red carpets in recent years, it is natural to wonder: “How do I pull off velvet?” In this article, you will learn all about the classic velvet blazer: what they are made of, the reason they’ve endured the test of time and how to wear and style one in 2022.
Velvet: The Nap of Luxury
What exactly is velvet, and why is it so strongly associated with wealth and elegance?
Velvet is characterised by a nap or pile, the term for its fuzzy surface. Traditionally made in cotton or silk, the fibres form loops on the surface, which are then cut to form that distinctive fuzz.
This has a twofold effect: firstly, it means velvet, by yardage, requires more fibre to make than textiles with a smooth surface, to form the loops. The deeper the loops and resulting pile, the more expensive and luxurious the resulting textile. Secondly, velvet is a directional fabric, meaning garments must be very carefully cut to ensure the direction of the pile is consistent. This typically requires a greater length of fabric.
With more time, material, and labour comes a higher price—especially in the days when all of this was done by human hands—which is why velvet is historically associated with wealth and luxury.
The pile is also the reason velvet catches and reflects light so uniquely. Black velvet looks exceptionally dark compared to black wool because the pile fibres create their own shadows, while richly coloured velvets have a soft elegance to them. Worn by royalty going back hundreds of years, industrialisation brought velvet within reach of the average consumer by the mid-20th century, but it retains its elegance and air of luxury to this day.
The Velvet Dinner Jacket: Styling Velvet in the 2020s
After a revival in the 1970s, velvet faded out of fashion for a while until 2021, when it started to make its way back into the spotlight again. Celebrities and influencers alike chose to wear velvet suits and jackets during red carpets and award functions, bringing the rich look and elegance of velvet back into the public eye. Now, velvet is back in a big way.
Here are our top tips for embracing this trend while keeping it timeless, ensuring you have a statement piece that makes the statement you’re looking for for years to come.
The Formality Factor
Formal wear stands the test of time and velvet is at its strongest in black tie and special occasion wear, where it can leverage its elegance. With shawl or peaked lapels and styled with black buttons and bow tie as you would a black tux, the velvet will work wonders for your black wedding or event.
Mix it up
Velvet can easily dominate a look, but looks great with just about any other material, thanks to its unique texture. This is why the velvet dinner jacket is usually made with contrasting lapels and seldom made into trousers — it lets the velvet shine while keeping it in check. With a black satin lapel and your staple black suit trousers, you can ensure that the velvet remains a feature of your look without taking over.
If you’re looking for colour but want to avoid channelling the 1970s – in all of its earth-toned fury – opt for colours with a cool base. Darker sapphire blues and rich purples are a great choice, as are maroons and purple-reds, which hearken back to those effortlessly elegant smoking jackets of the past. If you’re looking for something even simpler, black is a safe bet, given the boldness of the velvet.
Velvet at Briggins
At Briggins, we offer velvet garments at two distinct tiers, including a ready-made jacket and a selection of velvet in six colours for custom-made garments. We’ve got options tailored to the styling advice above in each range, the difference is mainly in variety and the quality of fit and fabric. We can also custom-make black trousers, tailor a white French cuff shirt with black buttons and matching cufflinks, and top it all off with a black silk bow tie for the classic look. That said, if you’ve always wanted a three-piece suit in velvet that puts the red carpet to shame, we won’t stop you. We can make it happen, and it will fit you perfectly.
Ready-To-Wear Black Velvet Jacket – $499
Our Ian Velvet dinner jacket features rich black colour, with a satin shawl lapel. The velvet is made from cotton and has a short pile. Tailoring is included in the price, and it’s available in sizes 38-46. This is a great option for those with reasonably average build looking for the simple black number, without breaking the budget. It’s a popular choice for black-tie wedding parties. It’s also available at shorter notice, and we can alter one for you in 1-2 weeks.
Custom Velvet Jacket – $899
For a true conversation starter, you can opt for a custom-made velvet jacket. Our custom velvet fabric selection is a 420gsm cotton velvet with a deeper pile than the ready-made option, giving it an especially luxurious texture. In addition to the better quality fabric, you can choose a custom lining colour for the inside of the jacket, an embroidered monogram, and whether to have your lapels made in black satin or velvet.
The lapels are also available in three styles—shawl, peaked, and notched—which can also be made in different widths, to the nearest centimetre! Our velvets are available in six colours, the most popular being black and midnight blue, but you can also have your jacket made in a brighter blue, royal purple, maroon, and red.
The best part? It will be made to your measurements and all tweaks and alterations are included. For a truly unique garment and the perfect fit, go custom.
Custom Velvet Suit – $1299
You get all the benefits of the Custom Jacket, plus a pair of custom-made trousers! We can also custom-make velvet vests for $499, which prices the red velvet three-piece suit mentioned earlier at $1798. Fabrics are selected independently per piece, so you can either have all pieces made in velvet or only one, with the rest in wool.
How Does Velvet Compare to Classic Wool Suits?
Cotton velvet blazers are heavier than wool due to their pile, but when properly fitted they do not feel restrictive. Their weight makes them warmer than all but the heaviest wool suitings, another reason they are mainly suitable for special occasions and evening wear. It is difficult to wear a tailored velvet garment casually, due to its elegance. Wool jackets and blazers, on the other hand, can be worn for any occasion, including a black-tie if they are part of a suit. They are also available in lighter or heavier weights, for a variety of seasons and the amount of expected wear. Essentially, velvet is a specialty fabric that gives a distinct impression, while wool is a subtle and versatile staple.
An alternative to the velvet jacket is a wool damask dinner jacket, which has a faintly textured surface that conveys similar luxury and formality. It is characterised by its intricate pattern, created in the weave of the fabric and usually featuring geometric, floral, or paisley designs. Wool damask suitings are styled the same way as velvet and are available at the same price range at Briggins.
Style, comfort, and drama come together in a tailored velvet blazer that opens a door full of new fashion possibilities. Whether you are looking for a subtle touch of glamour or want to amp up your look for a formal occasion, the velvet blazer will not disappoint. However, finding the perfect blazer that fits your personality and budget can be tricky. At Briggins, you can wear your stylish new, custom-made velvet blazer in just six weeks!
We have a skilled master tailor working right in our showroom who will take your measurements and customise the fit of your jacket according to your preferences. From colour choice to jacket length and lapel width, we will work together with you to create the perfect design for your very own special occasion outfit. Get started today by booking an obligation-free consultation; book right here and now on our website, reach us by email at email@example.com or call 1300 452 251.