Velvet is a divisive material for a lot of people; two qmunicate writers defend both sides of the debate:
Velvet made an astounding comeback a few years ago, along with platform sandals, mesh everything and taking bad quality photos of ourselves wearing someone else’s bucket hat. Unfortunately for me, I could never quite achieve the teenage Kate Moss aloofness that you needed, at least to some degree, to pull these off. All bar one trend and luckily for me, that was velvet.
My sordid love affair with the fabric began two years ago, when my Belgian auntie dropped round a pile of clothes from when she was a student and I had a rummage until I pulled out a short, black velvet miniskirt. Miniskirts had not made it into my fashion repertoire just yet so I was sceptical but tried it on anyway. It fitted like a velvet dream. The main thing separating it from so many of the fitted skirts in shops at the time was that it did not cling; it did not hug every roll and crease of my very un-Kate Moss thighs. It smoothed over every nook and cranny like no pair of control pants could ever hope to do. Where had this magical fabric been my whole life?
Since then, I have amassed velvet items of every category and colour and therefore find it wholly appropriate that I should get to share my top three reasons for why it is the ultimate fabric of choice.
- (As previously stated) It comes in every shape, size and colour.
Black has been perhaps the most widely sold colour but even at that, you can buy a rainbow of velvet anything if you look hard enough. Thankfully, you usually don’t have to. Velvet shirts, skirts, trousers, socks, scrunchies, scarves, underwear (yes underwear) are all readily available and as proof I can proudly say that I have at least one item from every category listed above.
- It feels flipping delightful.
I know there is controversy surrounding this statement but unless you have a particularly severe dislike for the fabric, it cannot be denied that wearing something that tactually pleasing will brighten up the most dismal of days. Next to silk, you cannot get a more decadent fabric to put on your body; it just looks and feels so indulgent, even if you are wearing a marginally less luxurious pair of stained sweats with it.
- It’s eco-friendly
It might sound unconvincing but compared to other every day fabrics like cotton, wool, lycra or nylon; the beauty of velvet is that it very rarely needs washed. I could count the number of times I’ve washed my black velvet skirt on one hand and this is also partly due to the fact that most stains disappear into its mysterious folds. Plus, it removes the need for drying your hands under a dryer/using paper towels after using the bathroom as it is extremely absorbent. It’s the little things, you know?
Whilst it might not appear to be the most practical of fabrics to the unassuming eye, velvet is undeniably versatile when it comes to clothes. Whilst cotton might not make some people cringe at the touch, who ever got excited about a pair of cotton underpants?
Velvet is vile. The thought of it alone is enough to make my teeth itch and my toes curl. It hails from the same harsh land as squeaky cotton wool, fingernails down blackboards and glasses that have just come out the dishwasher. It is NOT smooth, it is NOT sumptuous, and it is NOT something I want any-god-damn-where near me.
A quick Google seems to provide the answer that there is no recognised scientific reason for this aversion to velvet; yet it also throws up various freaked-out forum-users who similarly detest the feel of this fancy fabric. Like so many others before me, the internet has confirmed that, for better or worse, I am not alone in my abhorrence towards velvet.
For those who are inexplicably unaware of this effect that velvet can have on an unfortunate soul, imagine a static electric shock (the type you always seem to get off Tesco trollies) – now imagine a flurry of much weaker, yet just as annoying, shocks in quick succession, every time you run your fingers along this rotten material. Prolonged contact is out of the question – you zap your hand away from the offensive textile, give it a shake to clear it of the sense memory which is still setting your teeth on edge and, inevitably, exclaim something along the lines of, ‘nnnguuuuurrrgghhhh’ (often accompanied by an intense, full-body shudder).
This is the burden of every person who, for no apparent reason, cannot stand the sensation of velvet. Personally, I find I can live without the fabric quite comfortably – I’m much more of a corduroy fan myself – but my heart goes out to those poor unfortunates who dream of cladding themselves in the stuff yet can only stare wistfully from afar as their fingers twitch involuntarily, remembering their last contact with velvet.
Sort-of imitations of velvet are available for those of us who can’t stand the original – fabrics like velour or velveteen. I’ve never felt velveteen myself so am not sure if it would incite the same crappy, crackly reaction as velvet, but velour is disagreeable for an entirely different reason; it just looks shit.
So there doesn’t seem to be much hope for those of us who can’t stand the feel of velvet – our suffering is not deemed intense enough to merit any kind of medical recognition, and ways around our aversion to the fabric are just not suitable for everyone (velour is NEVER ok). I suppose we’ll just have to gorge ourselves on red velvet cake and laugh at velvet for not having been able to ruin that too.
[Caitlin Walker, a.k.a. Auntie Velvet]