How to make velvet your strong suit this party season

It’s a luxurious fabric — but rarely seen in suiting. Here’s why you should take a chance on velvet this Christmas…

Ah, the velvet suit. The plush, crushed dark horse of the formalwear family. That most spangly of garments that, despite its innate extravagance, remains hidden in your wardrobe year after year because you think it’s just a little too flashy.

Well, no more. It’s high time you braved the bright, alternative option you’ve avoided for the last five Christmas parties and finally take ownership of its exuberance. Thankfully, design-led British brand French Connection are on hand to guide you along the rocky road these smooth suits present — and these are the shirts, shoes and other accessories you may need to make them work.

Get the suit right

The first step along this road is obviously the hardest. Choosing the ideal velvet suit is the make or break of your plush outfit and, to this end, we’d suggest opting for a darker colour. Navy is ideal, as it won’t attract too much attention, but will still stand you sartorially away from the crowd.

Try this classic tailored option from the brand, with a super soft velvet finish and warm, textured look. And, if you’re still apprehensive about taking the leap into such a striking suit, here are the pieces that you need to ensure your outfit falls on the right side of flashy.

How to make velvet your strong suit this party season

French Connection Plush Velvet Suit

£250

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Don’t let your shirting shout

First things first, your shirt should be reasonably quiet. When you’re going so daring with your suit, your shirting should be reserved to temper all that vibrancy and vivacity. Go for a subtle, classic colour such as white or blue. Or, if you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, a darker shade such as green or purple.

Whichever shade you plump for, ensure that it’s block colour. Patterns will clash with the texture and interest of your suit, and you need to keep attention on the velvet.

How to make velvet your strong suit this party season

End on End Cotton Shirt

£55

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How to make velvet your strong suit this party season

Yarn Dye Cotton Shirt

£45

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How to make velvet your strong suit this party season

Stretch Poplin Shirt

£50

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Or do away with shirting altogether…

If you’re treading off the beaten suiting track already, why not forge a whole new path? To pair with your velvet suit, eschew your shirt altogether and go for something a little more casual.

You could opt for a long sleeve stretch cotton polo shirt in a neutral colour, a roll neck jumper in a darker hue, or just slip on a classic cotton t-shirt to pare your outfit back. Worried it’ll look too casual? Don’t worry — you’re wearing velvet.

How to make velvet your strong suit this party season

Cotton Long Sleeve Polo Shirt

£55

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How to make velvet your strong suit this party season

Classic Cotton T-Shirt

£15

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How to make velvet your strong suit this party season

Cotton Roll Neck Jumper

£55

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Accessorise simply and tastefully

Your velvet suit should remain the main attraction. So do away with any flouncy flourishes such as pocket squares or bright socks and keep the rest of your get-up on the down-low.

That means black socks, a simple tie (if you’re going to wear a tie at all) and a watch that whispers the time rather than shouting it from a bold, brash dial. Follow these rules and your suit will do the talking — in a plush, luxurious and velvety baritone.

How to make velvet your strong suit this party season

Fencing Basics Socks

£15

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How to make velvet your strong suit this party season

39MM Black Leather Strap Watch

£55

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Want more from French Connection? Check out their new season’s collection here…

Further Reading