Sunday, January 13, 2013

{Style Inspiration} Velvet

One of the best things about winter dressing is the variety in fabric and texture - as if to make up for the cold, the fashion Gods gave us fur (faux or real), wool tartan, mohair and cashmere knits, and luxurious velvet and velveteen.

The feature from 1950 below says, "Velvet is the word that spells enchantment this winter - a bewitching fabric that brings out the deeply-lying richness of a woman's charm. It makes her eyes sparkle, her complexion glow, her hair gleam - there never was such a flatterer, especially in the evening when it looks its elegant best under artificial light..."

"You must judge carefully when it is best to use cotton velveteen or corduroy, or when rayon or pure silk velvet will give you the best results." Traditionally velvet and velveteen have been most popular for evening wear, but can also be worn during the day. It lends itself well to loungewear, or as accents - collars and buttons, for example, or "a plain afternoon frock will sparkle with life if you give it a velvet cummerbund."

Velvet party wear in Everywoman magazine, 1950

Marilyn Monroe wore indigo velvet capri pants in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953

Velvet lent itself well to the fluid fashions of the 1930s - this from Sears, 1938

Velvet for both afternoon and eveningwear, Sears 1938

Ball gown and swing coat in velvet, 1947

Velveteen separates in Sears, 1955

Rayon velvet fabrics in Sears, 1949

This adorable set was available in navy with red plaid or black with red plaid. Sears, 1939


  1. I plan to make a green velvet dress some timein the future (my grandma told me the first thing she made with her sewing machine she got as a wedding present was a greet velvet dress).
    I just worry as a hand sewer it might be too awkward to work with? and do you need to line velvet?

  2. I bloody love velvet. I actually purchased a velvet cape, a velvet bolero, and a 30s velvet dress in the past month! I didn't have any velvet before and have only recently discovered the gorgeous elegance in velvet! This is what happens when you only surround yourself with vintage, I'm so glad I've gotten myself into this amazing new world! And with bloggers like you, so inspiring all the time, it's just so motivating to get into vintage even more!


  3. I have been obsessed with velvet since I was a child and will wear it at any opportunity. I confess to having quite a few velvet coats and jackets, in my defence they are all second hand and therefore didn't cost much. Plus velvet gloves and hats, don't worry, I know when to draw the line and stop myself from going head to foot in it.....just! Green is my favourite followed by purple.
    It can be a bitch to sew with though because of the shedding. That is if you use 'proper' velvet, the velveteen tends to curl, which is also infuriating.

  4. I LOVE velvet! I have a green velvet skirt, black velvet trousers, a black velvet top, a black velveteen dress and a dark red velveteen button down shirt. I so want a velvet vest, black or dark red!

  5. Oh gosh, I love velvet - the images in this post are fab. I have a full length 1940s housecoat in velvet that I haven't worn yet, I've cleaned it (painstakingly) but need to do a few repairs. That'll be another project for cold rainy winter days! Funnily enough I picked up a 1950s velvet evening bag this morning in the car boot sale, it is so pretty but not very me so I am putting it on Ebay so that someone can take it home and love it!

  6. Velvet is one of my favorite fabric! Always so elegant but sometimes hard to store when a wardrobe is really full like mine!!!

  7. I spotted a velvet blazer in the window of my local Goodwill, but had a bus to catch...hopefully I can get it before it's gone! The last image is so nice.

  8. What a lovely post and ode to a marvelous fabric! I love velvet so very much! I have ever since I was a little girl, come to think of it, back when my most special holiday dresses were often rich jewel toned velvet numbers. I have a 1950s black velvet skirt that I wear absolutely all year long (it's not very heavy, so it still works in the summer) and that I love to pair with a fitted black blazer to create an instant, classic suit.

    ♥ Jessica

  9. Really great post Charlotte, fever of vintage dressing is what I'm feeling now. Use of velvet fabric in various products besides clothing gives a great look and smooth touch on hands. I love the velvet use in clothes as well as in furniture. I've all my chairs with velvet covering. Sharing a nice post on vintage fashion is really amazing.


I'd love to hear your thoughts!


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