Irrational Velvet

Every winter, I face the same dilemma: what the actual fuck do I wear to go to the bar? My gauzy camisoles of the spring and summer look flimsy when paired with my boots, but my heavy sweaters look downright dowdy. Enter my new favorite fabric: velvet.

As with many things in my life regarding fashion (e.g. turtlenecks, overalls, printed leggings, chokers), I have a complicated history with velvet. The thought of it conjured memories of itchy holiday concert dresses, velveteen bell sleeved blouses, and too tight headbands that are all unflattering in that early 2000s kind of way.

But instead of running from the many, many sartorial mistakes of my past, I am choosing to learn from them. Fashion is cyclical (my god, what a hot take) and trends that once made you cringe are suddenly chic.

Instead of evoking images of awkward holiday parties as a chubby pre-teen, velvet now brings me visions of grand duchesses on cold Russian evenings, breezily beautiful hippies lighting incense on New Year’s eve, and Kate Moss snorting coke while Naomi Campbell reapplies lipstick in a New York City club bathroom.

Velvet is luxe, velvet is bohemian, velvet is sitting around drinking champagne while peasants freeze on a chill December night (can you tell I am totally a Romanoff sympathizer). But most importantly, velvet is WARM. Velvet provides a layer of warmth without sacrificing style. I prefer to style my velvet outfits with grungier pieces; a velvet dress with scuffed Chelsea boots and a denim jacket, a velvet jacket with ripped jeans, a velvet choker with a beat up sweater. It injects a little bourjois into the bohemian.

The best way to interpret a trend is to incorporate it into your existing style. My personal style runs the gamut from bougie hippie to grungy classic to bog witch. I was once told I looked like a Fellini heroine if he had shot in 1990s Seattle instead of 1960s Italy. Velvet fits in perfectly to all of these totally made up aesthetics.

My absolute favorite velvet piece is a vintage velvet Ralph Lauren mini dress, a perfect fit for a whopping $8. It appeals deeply to my 90s baby sensitivities. I’ve only found occasion to wear it once, but am longing for another excuse to let out my inner Freedom 90 supermodel strut.

Keeping with the 90s spirit, my favorite velvet accessory of late has been my velvet choker, accidentally stolen from Target but I think retailing for about $14. If you can’t find it in store (to steal or buy, no judgement), you can always make your own. If you think chokers might seem like they’ve edged past the point of cool and are now only worn by thoty 15 year olds, well, you’re right! But also, you’re wrong, because who cares and I look hot in a choker.

And I look hot in velvet. Everyone does. So let’s all embrace our inner grand duchess and bring on the velvet.

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