Thursday, September 15, 2011

Feeling Plummy, Plus a Rant

Half a day foggy, half a day sunny. That's Northern California for ya. I kept taking this jacket on and off, which I suspected would happen, and that's why I wore my favourite sleeveless top. Not generally a fan of sleeveless in the office (even tho' this is the most casual office ever), but when it has ruffles and looks this sharp, I'll accept it.

What I'm wearing:
Plum velvet jacket, gift from Lisa | Black sleeveless ruffled top, Michael by Michael Kors | Black gauze peasant skirt, Rampage
Black tights, unknown brand | Burgundy faux suede boots, DSW
Pink & gold earrings, | Burgundy flower hair pin, random accessory store

While it's not quite the weather for a full day of velvet, I was a bit surprised that one of my favourite sewing bloggers, Peter of Male Pattern Boldness, decried velvet entirely in his post today.

He recounted the tale of fabric shopping with one of his blog's fans, where she wanted to sew something out of velvet. First, he was horrified that she'd go against the pattern's recommended fabrics (which is silly, imo, those are just recommendations, not the gospel or something!). Next, he was horrified by the suggestion of velvet, and I quote: "Seriously, though: who wears velvet these days other than Goths and Gothic Lolitas?  (And yet fabric stores are full of the stuff.)   So Phantom of the Opera."

Obviously, us goths do wear velvet, but surely other people are too. The vast majority of my velvet clothing is from mainstream U.S. stores like Macy's, Newport News, Coldwater Creek, and NY & Company (as a rule, I do not shop from gothic brands because I find the quality low or I just don't like the designs). The places I buy velvet are making velvet garments for average American women, and velvet tends to come back in fashion most fall/winter seasons. Amirite? Yeah.

And here's just a tiny bit of proof that goths aren't the only ones who wear velvet -- two of my favorite fashion bloggers, last fall, wearing smart, sassy velvet items in their ensembles:  Sal of Already Pretty in October 2010, and Audi of Fashion for Nerds in December 2010. Not a hint of Phantom of the Opera there.

While goths may love it, we're not the only ones. I'm a little irked at Mr. Pattern Boldness for being a bit stereotyped in his fabric associations.


  1. Gorgeousness beyond gorgeousness! Everything about this outfit is absolutely perfect. That velvet blazer is just delicious.

  2. I freaking LOVE velvet more than any other fabric, and I wear it as often as possible in all sorts of ways. To me it is just a 'winter' fabric; it doesn't go out of fashion. I think his opinion is out of touch, very subjective, and also very male--velvet is, after all, mostly a woman's fabric. Men rarely wear it and when they do they look like dandies--I freaking love the dandy look. So >:P to his not so humble opinion!

  3. I saw that comment, and laughed! I LOVE velvet, velveteen, anything pettable. I don't live in a climate where I can wear it that often -- I do think it has a seasonal limitation and works best in cooler climates. But never mind that because I have decreed that I WILL be sewing some velvet (or velour, or velveteen, or crushed velvet) this fall/winter. So there, Peter!

    I'm on his side as far as garment/fabric recommendations, though, because it takes time to be able to move outside of the "recommended" fabric limitations. If someone isn't familiar with the properties of different fabrics, trying to sew something lightweight out of velvet will be a disaster. I've been sewing for 20 plus years and I'm still figuring out how to pair materials with patterns. Wandering the fabric district (where there are no labels) and trying to identify what would have been made with each fabric -- this would have been sleepwear, this would have been a dress, this is swimsuit material, etc, has definitely helped.

    That jacket is sumptuous and the color is just perfect! Who could object to a velvet blazer?

  4. And I'm wearing my cosiest velvet pants today. Actually Im home and sick so not dressed for the office. Love that skirt!

  5. Wait, this guy sews but has never heard of using a fabric other than what's recommended on the pattern? I don't even read what they recommend.
    You look fab! I'm glad to see it's cool enough to wear velvet there already. I'll be there soon, wearing mine!

  6. Hah! I'll admit to relegating velvet to colder temps than these, but definitely not averse. Especially to a really GOOD velvet. So plushy.

  7. I am in love with that outfit. The color, the shine, the tucking, the fuzziness...

    I almost broke out a velvet skirt today, the high will be in the low 60s. I have a rule that the high temp has to have not been >70F for a couple of weeks to put velvets into rotation. It just feels kind of wrong to wear furry-type fabrics when it's still warm out.

    I can see where switching to another fabric could mess with the garment, if the weight, stretchiness ect. is very different. Imagine taking a pattern that calls for a spandex mix and using a stiff cotton or wool instead. Disaster for the seams.

    Sometimes when people don't personally like something, they will declare that no one should ever use, have or like it either.

  8. I <3 this outfit! I just learned machine sewing this summer, and am in the process of making a brown velvet jacket for the fall. I'll be lucky if it looks half as nice as yours ;-) And I also found the quality of goth shops kinda lacking, which is why I started learning to sew my own.

    I'm kinda flabbergasted by the blogger guy. I could understand an anti-velvet sentiment if he lived in a part of the world without winter weather, but he's NYC-based like me, so... whuh? Maybe I'm more into velvet than an average person, but it is still typical cold-weather wear in NY.

    And as for treating the pattern instructions as written in stone... more whuh? Does that mean I'm also not allowed to take in the bust line if its too big for me? Following the instructions more closely for a first attempt can be helpful, but once one has a sense of how the pattern works it is much more fun to experiment.

  9. You look stunning and I love that jacket. I began my love afair with velvet as a gothy teenager, and have now moved on to rainbow colours everyday and still love it. Then again, I don't consider myself an "average american" (or canadian really) dresser. I work(ed) in the fashion business and I am considered a bit strange. Imagine that!

  10. You look amazing, and that jacket and skirt were made for each other. I'd wear more velvet myself if I could figure out what the heck you are supposed to pair with a velvet skirt.

  11. Gorgeous outfit! Some people just have to be against something, especially if it's associated with nonconformists. Every velvet piece I own is from mainstream stores, as well.