Mens Velvet Clothing.
Men's velvet is by no means a new trend; it has been a fabric of choice for the most fashion forward gents for some time now. And yet so many still opt for the wool suit, or sports coat, over the velvet one. To their detriment. Wool, no matter the thread count, remains the safe option. Velvet is the sexualised one.
So here's the challenge for Autumn / Winter 2010: don the velvet. Invest in it. Wear it with confidence. Stand out.
Velvet Suits and Sports Jackets.
If it's standing out and dressing to impress that you want to do, then velvet is your fabric of choice for 2010 / 2011. And it has to be velvet of some proportion. While the velvet bow tie (featured below) is on trend, the coming seasons are about making velvet one of your key statement pieces.
But don't for a minute interpret 'velvet of some proportion' to mean that you can get away with wearing anything made of velvet. Don velvet socks and I'll be the first in line to tell you to take them off, and those standing behind me waiting to do the same thing are likely to be the very people you're looking to attract or impress. Instead look to invest in two key takes on the trend: a velvet sports jacket / velvet sportcoat and, for those with the confidence to pull it off, a velvet suit.
How you interpret these two statement pieces depends on your attitude to life. For those with a penchant for the young-classics or school boy attitude there are those velvet looks below, while those who lean towards confidence of a more masculine or sexual kind will find the top looks, both from Tom Ford, more to their liking.
As for the colour, you'll notice that so far I've only featured a sole black velvet jacket, think dark shades. It's likely to be in the Autumn / Winter evenings that you wear velvet and dark hues will always sit best. But don't feel that dark has to equal black. From navy to plum, the right colours will ooze confidence.
A Subtle Interpretation.
If full velvet suits and jackets aren't for you then, fear not, there is a alternative: velvet lapels. Though an understated take on the suit and jacket element of the velvet trend, they can be as equally as eye catching as the full velvet look. Provided, of course, that they're worn with the right lapel.
And that part is simple: avoid a velvet lapel that is cut into a shawl or notched lapels (unless it's piped, as the Paul Smith piece above is) and invest in a jacket that sports peaked velvet lapels. You're looking for a dominant, eye catching peak, moreover, a peak that is firmly cut and finished. One that says alpha-male.
Men's Velvet Overcoat.
If you're after velvet outerwear, such as a men's velvet overcoat, then you're in luck: the cooler months of 2010 / 2011 are definitely suited to the style. A word of caution, however; an overcoat made entirely of velvet, particularly one with a a high sheen, won't be easy for most to pull off. It's better to be subtle and confident, than standout and be shy. So if you do wish to invest in a velvet overcoat and think confidence might be an issue, aim for something with a low sheen and in a dark hue, preferably black.
If you're after something that plays it safe but still creates a point of differentiation, then consider using velvet as a fabric that adds flair to a wool or cashmere overcoat. An obvious, though eternally refined, detail will be a velvet collar. The Burberry overcoat marries this detail with a Regency-cum-military cut.
The Cut Of Velvet.
Whilst velvet pieces can be liberally spread throughout a chap's wardrobe in 2010 / 2011, the appropriate cuts aren't as wide ranging. Pick a cut too lose or a lapel too soft and you'll end up looking like you've borrowed your father's vintage velvet; yes, your father may have been cool, but it's your job to be cooler. There's a bigger risk of course: velvet in 2010 / 2011 is, in part, about sexual confidence. Thus you're looking for your velvet to convey more trim masculinity and less foppish dandyism.
Most of the tailoring cuts are suited to men's velvet, though I'd personally recommend avoiding the neo-double breasted cut. I'd also be wary of a three piece velvet suit; velvet is not a thin fabric, and the dual layers of a velvet waistcoat and a velvet jacket may add too much bulk to even the most worked of figures. The velvet suit, below, from Dolce & Gabbana illustrates the point, with the trousers particularly highlighting why your velvet needs to be a trim, masculine cut.
If you'd rather a velvet overcoat then many of the fashionable suit cuts will still apply, though my preference would lean towards a double breasted overcoat as a means of conveying a trimmer silhouette. I'd also lean towards a velvet coat that is cut well above the knee, preferably around the mid-thigh level.