What to Wear with a Velvet Dress

By Susan Landis-Steward , last updated July 23, 2011

Nothing says winter or holidays like a velvet dress. The rich luster of velvet glows and creates an aura of sophistication. Don't mess the simplicity of velvet up by overaccesorizing. Choose an understated, classic look in all accessories for a touch of class, or go for a romantic look with frills and lace. Whether you choose a solid velvet in black or jewel tones, a jacquard velvet in tone on tone, burnout velvet, or one of the modern velvet prints, velvet can make a significant fashion statement for winter wear. Don't confuse velvet with velveteen. There is no substitute for the richness and grace of real velvet.


Stick with dark velvet colors like black, purple, navy or royal blue, emerald green, red, or maroon for the classiest looks, although an ivory velvet wedding gown may be just the thing for a winter wedding. If you can afford it, opt for silk velvet.


Velvet is its own show, so don't let anything upstage it. A simple pair of black heels, either in patent or matte leather, may be all you need. Although if you have ruby slippers, by all means wear them.


For jewelry, choose simple or extravagant gems or faux gems. Leave the clunky stuff at home and choose a simple solitaire, a diamond tennis bracelet, or a set of stunning drop earrings. Make your dress the center of attention and your jewelry the frosting on the cake.


A simple black satin clutch, or a squishy velvet evening bag will complete your look and give you a place to keep your keys and credit card. For a retro 50s look, wear a paair of wrist length white gloves or enter the time machine to the romantic era with a pair of lace gloves. Keep stockings to nude or black. This is not the dress to match with fishnets. Although a pair of stockings adorned with a simple jeweled pattern could be stunning if you keep everything else simple.

Other Ideas

If your dress has a plain round neckline, you can easily dress it up with a lace collar. Choose ecru over white for an old-fashioned look. Because velvet almost screams glitz, you can dress up a velvet party dress with elegant diamonds or lots of rhinestones. But this is not the time to spray on glitter unless you want to go for overkill. A simple strand of pearls or a cut crystal brooch may take that black velvet dress from lovely to dramatic.

For a more whimsical look, use a ribbon of toile or other sheer fabric as a belt. Even a bright jewel toned grosgrain or satin ribbon in a contrasting color can add a touch of playfulness. Use a long ribbon, tie it in a big bow in back, and let the ribbon trail behind you.

For a holiday party, you might consider adding faux fur collars or cuffs, and a bright shiny belt. If you want a more casual look, pair a simple velvet dress with a pair of velvet leggings.Don't wear overpowering shoes with a velvet dress.

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