Velvet: The Fabric of Royalty Comes Down to Earth

Image from
Image from

Velvet, a fabric that has been around for centuries, is returning to stores for the fall and winter seasons.

Velvet was typically seen as a higher end product due to the amount of threads required to sew it. Additionally, the China-made product was usually threaded with silk, a high end product in itself.

People of royalty from all over the world used velvet in their traditional garb as well as in their more formal attire. Artwork shows that women in ancient societies of Egypt, as well as those in the Victorian Era of Egypt, wore the luxurious fabric in robes and dresses.

Today velvet is made with more accessible materials, like cotton and synthetics, which makes it much more accessible to consumers. As the trend trickled its way down from the wardrobes of kings and queens to the closets of everyday people, its uses changed.

During the 70s, it was not uncommon to see a velvet coat or jacket. But with time, people used velvet in more varied clothing styles like jumpsuits, pants, and tops. The trend faded out in the late 90s to early 2000s and was replaced with more modern fabrics.

Photo by Ryan Alphonso
Photo by Ryan Alphonso

Today, velvet is everywhere: velvet slippers with details of dogs and cats, velvet crop tops in various hues, velvet skinny pants in bright and subdued colors. Much of the inspiration for these pieces comes from the olden days of Europe, as the Baroque trend is sweeping today’s fashion scene.

The use of velvet in smaller doses, such as on shoes or in the cutouts of a dress, can make clothing easier on the eyes.

Though the velvet trend is prominent both on and off of the UMD campus, some students, like Jessica Stouffer, a senior education major, are less infatuated with the look. “I’m kind of grossed out by velvet,” said Stouffer. “I think it feels weird. It’s just an odd fabric.”

However, other students are intrigued by the velvet trend. Sophomore psychology major Stephanie Chin said, “It’s cool that people are bringing back a style that hasn’t been active for a while.”

“I think it gives a lot more variety to an outfit,” said Monica Nettle, a senior family science major. “You can have one color of everything, but if all the textures are different, like using velvet, makes the outfit more interesting.”

Because velvet is now easily accessible and found in higher end department stores and in more affordable options, it’s definitely a trend worth experimenting with.



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