How to wear plush velvet
Time to dust off this winter favourite - the sumptuous fabric is perfect for the party season, writes Meadhbh McGrath
It happens like clockwork - once the temperatures drop, the high street becomes flooded with velvet. Whatever your age, budget or body shape, the plush fabric is everywhere, and is always associated with the colder months, in particular evening wear.
There's something fabulously festive about velvet, and no doubt, you already have plenty of pieces in your wardrobe from seasons past.
On the catwalks, the look was super-luxe. At Saint Laurent, models strutted out in glam mini-dresses with ruched sleeves, crystal embellishment and padded shoulders, while Valentino presented romantic gowns and Gucci offered jewel-toned suiting.
If you want to give your velvet a modern update, try a strong colour. Max Mara and Chloé showcased ultra-rich pieces in this season's bright red, but it can veer dangerously close to Mrs Claus territory at this time of year, so stick to deeper hues instead. Karen Millen's burgundy suit looks effortlessly sophisticated with a gleaming gold pendant and nothing else underneath. Or try one of the other key shades: forest green, midnight blue and rich ochre.
A pleated midi skirt is hugely versatile and very flattering. Dress it up with a silk blouse and jewel-box satin pumps, or give it a contemporary edge with a ribbed roll-neck and kitten heels.
Patterns and florals can risk making you look like a sofa, so stick to block colours and experiment with draping or embellishment instead. Most women prefer to cover up their arms, but avoid looking matronly by opting for ruched detailing like Julianne Moore (below).
Keep the rest of the look simple with a pair of basic black strappy sandals and minimal jewellery.
For day, Zara's midi skirt looks gorgeously indulgent with a chunky knit and ankle boots, or amp your outfit up for evening in a Saint Laurent-inspired dress covered in razzle-dazzle rhinestones. The twist detail helps to accentuate the waist, and you can throw on a pair of black pumps and a box clutch for instant party-ready glamour.
Zoe Kravitz (above) demonstrates a perfect blend of high-low glamour in a ruched-sleeve sweetheart neckline top and classic denim. Follow her lead in River Island's deep blue version and a pair of sparkling statement earrings for an easy dressy-top-and-jeans look.
Add a touch of luxe to your office wardrobe with a pair of velvet trousers, an easy alternative to your usual tailored slacks. The forest green is subtle enough for work with an elegant blouse and loafers, or dress up for drinks with a silky camisole and knock-out heels.
If you'd rather take a tentative approach to the trend, try a velvet accessory like Mango's fabulous beaded bag. The sumptuous fabric and luxurious embellishment are a dream for party season, and it's the ideal size for carrying all your essentials on a night out.