If I had a nickel for every time I pulled a random velvet holiday top out of the back of a client’s closet after 19 years, I’d be a very rich woman. Owning the obligatory velvet holiday top is such a pervasive wardrobe item I’d bet money that you have one hanging in your closet too. I’d double down and also say you haven’t worn it in ages yet can’t let it go because somewhere in the back of your mind you believe that you might just need it someday. Tell me I’m wrong.

How did this happen? How did the velvet top become the universal holiday fashion item? Seriously, I want to know this because, apparently, I missed that article. The holiday velvet top seems to be on the list that also includes things like a black blazer, pearls, and black pumps; you know all those uninspired lists that tell women what she must own…the lists that make me shudder. I really can’t explain the phenomenon but what I do know is that I dig them out of closets constantly and rarely get a client to part with them despite the fact that the only thing these tops really do is take up hanger space.

It’s not that I am opposed to a velvet holiday top. I think velvet and the holiday season is a match made in heaven. What I find perplexing about the whole thing is the lack of thought that usually goes into the purchase. Little consideration is taken as to whether this person actually likes velvet or what said person will wear with their new velvet purchase. To them, buying the velvet top is like taking out holiday season insurance. “Well, if all else fails, I have this velvet top,” they figure. But rarely do they need it so the top just stays there in the closet, year after year —their little insurance plan— until I come along to find the top has dust on it and is incredibly outdated. Rarely, can I talk it out of the client’s hands. The lack of logic slays me especially considering the only time any of my clients really see wearing these tops is during the short holiday season window.


So, look, I could just tell you to let it go already. Give up on that velvet holiday top because if it hasn’t happened in three, five, ten years, baby, it’s not going to happen. But I’ve tried that and, clearly, that strategy hasn’t worked. Instead, I’m going to give you some ideas on how to style them for the holidays. So get your velvet tops out from the back of your closet, or shop for some styles, if and only if you actually plan on wearing them, and check out these looks and shop for some more styles at the end of this post.

Outfit #1

Head-to-toe black can be a lot more challenging than it seems. Matching black shades is laborious and the lack of dimension can often loo heavy unless you play with different textures. Velvet can be a real help here to break up the monotony of too much sameness and it can also look more rockstar and less depressive funeral outfit. I styled this black velvet top from L’Agence with faux leather pants from Paige. I finished the look with black booties with gold detail from Aquatalia and caviar teardrop earrings from Lagos.

Outfit #2

This burgundy velvet top from Chiara Boni La Petite Robe has a forgiving and relaxed shape that is perfect for that holiday party where you are stressed from the holiday season but must make an appearance. I styled it with slim black pants from Rag & Bone and burgundy patent leather booties from Madewell. The look is finished with embroidered ornate chandelier earrings.

Outfit #3

There is something quite versatile about velvet. It can look rockstar, feminine or girly, hippie, romantic, and even loungey. I created this loungewear-inspired holiday look by pairing velvet with silk in a regal gold. Both the top and pants are from Lafayette 146 and I finished the look with cinnabar flats and a Tassel pendant from Tory Burch.

Outfit #4

For more of a night out holiday look, this navy plus velvet halter from Ramy Brook pairs beautifully with a silk slip skirt from The Fold. I styled the look with festive pumps from M.Gemi and tassel chandeliers.

Outfit #5

My client, Mrs. Radiant, texted me in November asking me to help her find a velvet top for her office holiday party. Her strategy made sense: throw a velvet top on with a pair of her work pants. Done. It required little bandwidth and got the job done. See? I’m not anti-velvet holiday top if there is some reason behind it. In the look above, I styled this red velvet top with an asymmetrical neckline from Nicole Miller with wide-leg black trousers from Veronica Beard. I finished the look with ruby red pumps from Sam Edelman and drop earrings from Kendra Scott.

Shop for Velvet Holiday Tops

I’m all on board with keeping a velvet top in your closet. Just check in on yours every once in a while and make sure it’s not as old as dirt and that you actually have some sort of plan for it. And maybe ask yourself if you even like velvet tops in the first place. Here are some additional styles.