Rich luster, soft pile, deep colors, royal history… You must be talking about velvet. During the Renaissance, velvet was the signature fabric of both Henry VIII and Venetian aristocrats; here in the twenty-first century, it features prominently in closets of dapper gentlemen. A staple of formal fashion for centuries, velvet has a glorious history and an even more exciting present. A well-constructed velvet jacket is a surprising new wardrobe staple, adding a hint of contemporary elegance to streetwear and formalwear alike.
Finding Velvet Blazer Inspiration
Wearing a velvet blazer links you with royalty as far away as China during the Qin dynasty and Cairo circa 2000 BCE—but it’s also a decidedly modern choice, not tied down by fashion rules. These days, we’re wearing velvet in formal ensembles and pairing it with sneakers. All that matters is that you don your velvet blazer with confidence. Wearing velvet brings serious éclat to your look—and to the entire room.
For inspiration, reach beyond your memories of the crushed-velvet craze of the nineties and look to those who’ve recently dazzled crowds on red carpets. Notable examples include the following:
Eddie Redmayne at the 2015 Golden Globe Awards
This look featured a traditional black tuxedo, made contemporary with the use of luxurious velvet. Thanks to Gucci, Eddie looked flawless—and provided a perfect example of how to rock this glamorous twist on the classic tux.
Kanye West on the streets of New York City
Always taking things to a new level, Kanye demonstrated how to dress down a Tom Ford blazer in teal velvet by pairing it with an oversized tee, jeans, and bright white Vans.
Ryan Gosling at the Place Beyond Pines Premiere
This look featured a Gucci suit in head-to-toe velvet in a striking shade of dark green that left Ryan standing alone as the fashion winner of this premiere. Wearing a full velvet suit requires more confidence than just wearing a blazer, but as Ryan ably demonstrates, it can be well worth the risk.
Douglas Booth at the 2015 BAFTA Awards
There’s a great deal to admire about Douglas Booth’s sage green velvet jacket by Dunhill. The unexpected shade contrasted beautifully with his traditional black tuxedo trousers and bow tie, elevating his look and making him stand out in the best possible way.
Choosing the Perfect Velvet Blazer
As designers release their Fall/Winter collections, August is the perfect time to start hunting for cool-weather staples. Finding velvet on a department store rack this time of year will be difficult, if not impossible. That’s where custom clothing designers come in. If you’re looking for an impeccable velvet blazer that fits you precisely and comes with all the details you want, you may need to go the custom route.
A great custom menswear company will take exacting measurements, create a pattern based on those figures, and sew together a garment that fits you better than anything you could buy in a store. A high-quality custom clothier will feature a wide assortment of velvets from the finest fabric mills in the world. Whether you’re looking for a 1920-style Devoré or a seventies-inspired brocade, you’ll be covered.
A velvet blazer gives you a perfect opportunity to experiment with color. Rich, saturated shades, such as forest, merlot, or midnight blue, look especially luxurious in velvet, though it’s also hard to go wrong with classic black. When designing your custom velvet blazer, feel free to go crazy with the color, pattern, or fabric of your lining—a lining in a contrasting shade of satin can give your jacket an unexpected and delightful visual pop—though you may want to show restraint in your selection of outer details. Matching velvet-covered buttons are a subtle touch that will make your blazer more versatile outside of traditional formal attire.
Styling Your Velvet Like a Pro
If you’re not sure how to put together a velvet-crowned outfit without looking out of place, don’t worry—we’ve done some of the work for you. Here are three tried-and-true velvet looks that are simple to pull off:
Try a bright blue velvet blazer with dark wash jeans and a white v-neck. Accessorize with camel leather shoes for a preppy vibe. For variety, try switching out the tee for an untucked white dress shirt or a lightweight pullover sweater—or pair the whole look with chinos or cords instead of jeans.
Go bold in a merlot statement blazer over not-so-subtle tartan tuxedo trousers, accentuated with a white tuxedo shirt and black bow tie. Feeling less adventurous? Switch out the tartan trousers for a pair in light grey, worn with a white dress shirt and a black grenadine tie.
Put together a classic tuxedo with a twist by pairing a dark forest green dinner jacket with black tuxedo trousers, a white tuxedo shirt, and a black bow tie. Pair with patent opera shoes, of course, and feel free to experiment with other deep jewel tones in place of the green—midnight blue, amethyst, or a dark ruby shade would all work well.
Staking Your Claim in History
Velvet has led a charmed life as the preferred fabric of the elite. Today, this style is more affordable and accessible to the masses—no royal title required—but it still provides a lingering feeling of luxury and richness. Whether you’re pairing a velvet blazer with jeans for brunch or impressing your wedding guests in a velvet tuxedo, this is a style choice worth making.
Make an appointment today with one of Knot Standard’s personal stylists, and we’ll work with you to create the velvet blazer of your dreams. Using a mixture of centuries-old custom tailoring techniques and state-of-the-art technology, our custom process will leave you feeling like royalty in a velvet blazer fit for a king.