Velvet Sportcoats: Kick up your Smooth Factor!

Your Formal Wear and Socializing Change Up

On a recent evening I asked my wife, “What kind of man should wear velvet?” and she said, “An elegant man!” Then she qualified that with, “an elegant man, with a trim torso….you know…like George Clooney!” Well, I’m not sure where that leaves you, but I’m over here in my favorite chair with a glass of red wine thinking I don’t need to be a Hollywood leading man to dress like one.

Let’s be honest. We’re not talking about a blue blazer right now. A velvet jacket is not an “everyman’s” garment. Then again, what is elegance but a state of mind and tailored jacket that fits and is properly worn?


According to eyewitnesses and historical records, President George Washington wore black velvet on the occasion of his Second Inauguration (1973) and his last formal address to Congress in 1796. That gives the cloth instant credibility. Tony Bennett sang about Blue Velvet in the 50’s. In that case it was “she” wearing the velvet, but if Tony was singing about it, there must be something to this whole velvet thing.

It’s the 21st century, and velvet has re-entered the gentleman’s lexicon. The fashion editors at Esquire wrote about How to wear velvet in 2010. With some similarity to corduroy, velvet is a cloth woven with very compact, evenly distributed loops that are then cut to create a short dense pile, giving it a smooth, soft feel. Traditionally woven from silk, today most velvet used for men’s tailored clothing is woven from cotton or some blend including cotton.

Whether blue velvet or black velvet (or one of a half dozen other colors you may want to consider), the time has come for velvet to find its place in your closet and lifestyle. One or two-button. Notch or peak lapel. Keep it simple. The speaks for itself and needs little to no additional embellishment. Maybe a cool lining inside. Yeah, for sure do that if you’re having a jacket made.
Let’s make this easy. It’s not so much “what kind of man should wear velvet?” The questions to ask are “what do I wear it with and when do I wear it?”

  • Instead of your regular Tuxedo jacket, wear it with your formal slacks when the event allows for creativity.
  • Wear it with your favorite pair of dark jeans, when you’re going out for cocktails, standing around looking suave. Yeah, like that!
  • Wear velvet when shooting pool, playing the piano, or when you put on Barry White (“the” velvet voice of love and romance.)
  • Winter weekend in the Wine Country.
  • New Year’s Eve!
  • Any time that you want to get the girl or make the girl you already have feel a little extra special.

Time to get your Velvet on Mr. Smooth,

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