Party season is in full swing and, for the brave among us, that means license to go a little more Liberace. To stand out from the black-clad masses, this season the smart man should be experimenting with texture.
Our advice? Velvet. It’s time to ditch the regular wool dinner jacket and opt for a sophisticated spin that is luxuriously smooth, surprisingly versatile and, dare we say, Bond-esque.
While many men have attempted to go ‘hell for vel’ with a full velvet two-piece, we suggest you keep it up top and ensure the rest of your outfit remains understated; your jacket should be the standout.
Paul Smith London Black Soho Slim-Fit Velvet Blazer
When we say velvet, we mean velvet. Not close-but-no-cigar fabrics like velour and velveteen. Few understand the elegance of the real stuff better than Sir Paul Smith and he’s put that knowledge to impeccable use in this single-breasted black Soho blazer, cut slim to avoid the smoking jacket feel.
Punctuate with a sharp poplin shirt or a merino wool roll neck for a look that’s as refined as it is rakish.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £545.
Jack Willas Alyward Tuxedo Blazer
Richard Nicolls’ appointment as creative director of Jack Wills was, shall we say, unexpected. But Nicoll’s brought a sense of fun which, though now departed, maintains in the checks that cover this season’s collection, from onesies to this velvet tuxedo blazer.
Pair with black trousers to let the jacket do all the talking.
Available at Jack Wills, priced £198.
ASOS Skinny Blazer In Velvet
Velvet is more versatile than ever. Meaning it isn’t just for black tie affairs anymore. There’s never been a better time to turn convention on its head by pairing a velvet blazer with jeans, nor a better shade to do it with than rich blue.
This skinny shawl lapel iteration from ASOS looks great with denim and tees. Just remember to keep your jeans dark and slim with minimal distressing.
Available at ASOS, priced £80.
Burton Black Velvet Printed Blazer
Normally, the rule is to make one statement at a time. But Burton’s subtle paisley print is just about subdued enough to pair with velvet, so long as the rest of your outfit is silent; stick to monochrome all over rather than risking any whacky bow ties.
The pattern also helps move it away from solely formalwear. If your denim’s dark and slim enough, it makes a more interesting pairing than an ordinary blazer.
Available at Burton, priced £60.
Balmain Velvet Blazer
If the occasion calls for black tie, a peak lapel is always preferable. This sharply cut version from French fashion house Balmain features silk peak lapels as well as embossed gold-tone button detailing, making it ideal for separating you from a sea of penguin lookalikes.
Available at Harrods, priced £1,599.
Reiss Magnum Velvet Blazer
Make the most of monochrome separates by combining black trousers with a grey velvet blazer, such as the Magnum model from premium high street favourite Reiss.
Featuring bold peak lapels, an extremely soft handle and single-button closure, it’s sure to play a key role in your occasionwear wardrobe for many years to come.
Available at Reiss, priced £275.
Noose & Monkey Carroway Velvet Skinny Jacket
Up-and-coming menswear brand Noose & Monkey is known for its twisted take on tailoring, and its Carroway jacket is no different. The skinny-fit style ventures into double-breasted territory, meaning the wearer should be prepared to keep it done up all evening.
It earns points for its all-over printed construction and skulls and stars lining, both of which offer a youthful edge.
Available at nooseandmonkey.com, priced £140.
Favourbrook Grosvenor Jacket
Favourbrook, which was established by none other than Oliver Spencer on London’s Jermyn Street in 1990, is known best for its traditional occasion attire. As such, it delivers polished versions of the velvet jacket, like its Grosvenor style in racing green, which features an elegant fastening and contrasting black velvet lapels.
Available at favourbrook.com, priced £690.
Caring For Velvet
- Use a steamer to remove light creases. Similarly, you can hang it in a steam-filled bathroom. Just be careful not to get the fabric wet.
- If your velvet gets wet for any reason, do not blot it as this will flatten the pile. Shake it dry and hang it up immediately.
- Never iron or fold velvet or you will crush the pile. Always store velvet in a horizontal position in your wardrobe.
- Lint brushes are good for keeping velvet free of debris and dust. Most heavy duty cleaning is best left to the professionals but some polyester-mix velvets can be put in the washing machine.