My current commute from Wales to London (long story, longer train…) is typically uneventful: corporate suits all looking down at their back-lit screens. Occasionally, there’s a spattering of more creative types in Breton stripes, corduroy jackets and designer trainers. One commuter, wearing a midnight blue bomber jacket, caught my eye this week, not because he was reading an actual book, but because of his velvet jacket.
Velvet has been growing in popularity with designers over the last couple of seasons, who have taken it out the confines of eveningwear and opted to use it on everyday pieces, instead. Garments like bomber jackets, shirts and utility cut trousers have all been given the velvet treatment, and it’s also been used as panelling on trousers, coats and trainers.
Wearing velvet straight after your morning cornflakes feels super decadent, and rightly so, but the trick is to wear it in a way that doesn’t look like you’re on a walk of shame, instead of your morning commute. Here’s my top five picks of the best velvet pieces around this autumn, and how to wear them.
1. Oliver Spencer velvet Judo pants
The Judo-cut trouser has become a staple in Oliver Spencer’s collection over recent seasons, thanks to its laidback versatility. The relaxed fit with its dropped rise that tapers gently through the leg looked great in this sumptuous velvet for the colder months. Spencer has a clever eye for detail, drawing on utility features such as the side pockets and cropped hem. Embrace the deep velvet texture and team with a cashmere claret rollneck, a pair of black leather boots and one of Spencer’s Bermondsey suede bombers, for a look that’s strictly street wise, rather than strictly ballroom.
£219, shop now
2. Richard James velvet bomber jacket
Celebrated tailor Richard James caused the old guard on Savile Row to turn their noses up when he first arrived in a flourish of pattern and colour over 20 years ago. This old gold velvet bomber demonstrates how the label’s casual offering continues to grow and deliver touchy-feely pieces like this. If you go in for this strong mustard yellow hue this autumn, team it will similar tones and play with the textures. A knitted brown or camel polo top, paired with a pair of toffee coloured cords would do nicely, for example. Finally, dress the bomber’s after-dark feel down with a pair of dark chocolate suede trainers.
£525, shop now
3. Stella McCartney ‘Dicky’ velvet jacket
There’s a renewed energy to Stella McCartney’s menswear line since she took back full ownership from Kerring, following a 17-year partnership. The tailoring and outwear is as razor sharp as ever, but it’s the evolving casual pieces that are noteworthy for their easy wearability. Not always as obvious a statement as it would seem. This velvet trucker jacket has grabbed our attention, not just because Stella launched it in Hollywood with her dad Paul playing a music set midway through, but because we love its classic denim style and utter softness. It will work seamlessly into your casual wardrobe, and is best paired with dark raw denim, trainers and a marl sweat top underneath. Alternatively, you can dress it up a little with a chambray shirt, slim black denim and Chelsea boots.
£530, shop now
Gucci velvet side stripe trousers
Under the creative eye of Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s love affair with loud pattern and print continues on an upward trajectory. As well as the richly flocked coats and embellished silk bombers, there are also more sober pieces to mix into your wardrobe with just enough design detail to give it the Gucci nod. These dark grey cotton drawstring trousers come with a military style gold and red velvet side stripe detail. The trousers taper neatly through the leg, giving a more tailored effect. Surprisingly versatile, you can dress them down with simple trainers, a navy suede bomber and a white T-shirt. Alternatively, dress them up with a black or charcoal double breasted blazer and a pair of velvet loafers.
£670, shop now
Sies Marjan ‘Sander’ velvet corduroy shirt
Mr Sander Lak, the Dutch creative director behind Sies Marjan infuses his collections with a smorgasbord of kaleidoscopic colour and texture. This stand out ‘Sander’ shirt hits two trends at once, with the fine raised corduroy texture in a velvety smooth cotton and silk mix fabric. Since the label launched only two years ago, Marjan has gained a loyal following with his colour-loving fan base. This shirt has a wonderfully relaxed fit and an easy drape, and would look great partly buttoned up over a simple white t-shirt. Wear it untucked or with a French tuck, with pleated wool trousers and navy suede loafers.
£460, shop now