Velvet = Instant Elegance


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]— Kiffer Creveling
My parents had a mysterious cynicism toward daycare, and I was a year too young to haul myself off to pre-school to educate myself on the pressing topics of ABCs and 123s, so the only option left for me while my mother was on bed rest and my dad worked was to introduce myself into a group of boisterous septuagenarian women who lived for floral prints, cat sweaters and crocheting. These women worked strenuously to assimilate me into their post-retirement culture of the mid-1990s. That winter I learned to knit, crochet, bake and babble like a wrinkled pro.
Most of the ladies’ efforts to morph me into their shiny prodigy of the domestic arts have worn off in the 17 years since we parted ways. I regretfully admit that my baking skills are now so far below standard that I can probably file for disability in some states because of it. If you asked me how to crochet a simple pouch, my response would be to vomit a jumble of haphazard words before fleeing in the opposite direction to avoid the harsh reality — I have forgotten how to.
All tragedy aside, there have been a number of things that stuck with me as well. For example, I can still cut puppets out of paper bags to decent effect, and if you rip a hole in your pants I have the skill set to refurbish them seamlessly. However, their most lasting influence on me is less a matter of silly how-tos and more a matter of the heart.
My antiquated tastes are arguably the most important thing taught to me by the lovely ladies. Since those fleeting years spent with the elderly neighborhood women, I have been bewitched by any article of clothing that recalls the time dedicated to coming to terms with your imminent death. Floral prints never fail to dazzle me, and I can’t seem to separate myself from a sartorial palette of pastels for longer than three days.
These fixations seem inconsequential in comparison to the fatal attraction to velvet I garnered in those months. When I first saw it on the loungy track pants of those golden girls, I immediately knew there was no material more special, marvelous or kingly.
There are very few things on this earth that can get my heart fluttering as wildly and passionately as velvet. The way it glistens when the sun peeks out from behind the clouds can instantly brighten a gloomy spring day, while the soft, fuzzy texture emanates coziness and warmth that fixes even the most broken heart.
Much to my dismay, velvet didn’t officially establish itself into my wardrobe until fairly recently. During a typical meandering through Salt Lake City’s various thrift and vintage stores last winter I came across a delectably regal pair of high-waisted, black velvet pants at one of my favorite shops, Decades (627 South State Street).
Up until that transcendent moment, my belief was that, while infinitely magnificent, velvet had no place in my closet. To me, it was a fabric better admired from afar than actually modeled on the body of someone who at that point hadn’t even survived two decades on earth.
It wasn’t that velvet was too good for me or even that I was too good for velvet. The problem was the simple fact I had never attempted to pull it off so casually in daily life. On top of that, a guy wearing velvet is simply unheard of outside Pinterest fantasies.
The black pants were simple, subtle and an eerily perfect fit around my little waist. Not purchasing the pants would have been more detrimental to my self-esteem than working tirelessly to conjure up an outfit to put them with that didn’t scream transplant from the ‘70s.
Quickly becoming one of the most worn pairs of pants in my closet, those velvet beauties ignited a flame that has lasted the entirety of the 10 months they have been in my possession. Since, I’ve purchased a t-shirt, a button-up and two blazers in varying shades of velvet.
And you know what? They’re surprisingly easy to pull off.
For instance, I’ve paired the famous pants with a black and white leopard print shirt from Topman and navy blue Doc Martens in a look that juxtaposes a minimalist and industrial silhouette with the luxe details of the animal print and sophisticated black velvet.
If that’s too much for your taste, the outfit donned by my pal Sophie might be a better fit for you. I topped off the outfit she wore to the office earlier that day with a vintage navy blue blazer I snagged from my grandmother’s house in a recent trip to Southern California. This ensemble is a far more toned-down effort more suitable for a day at work, an internship or even a job interview. The velvet adds flair to the outfit and is an easy option when you want to express yourself and stand out without going too far and doing yourself more harm than good.
Needless to say, my white-haired comrades would be exceptionally proud of my recent efforts. Why don’t you take a stab at it and see what you can create?
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