As young dancers growing up in the competition circuit, my sister and I went through a LOT of costumes. From recitals to regionals to nationals – you name it – I was and in and out of all kinds prints, fabrics, shapes and sizes.
Somewhere along the way, I developed a little bit of a distaste for velvet. I’m not sure exactly what my hang up was, but I think it might have involved an electric purple crushed-style velvet with black mesh and a whole-butt-load-of-rhinestones kind of situation.
It might also have involved shaky double pirouettes, jazz slides and a questionably funky breakdown to the ultimate 90’s favorite “Rhythm is a Dancer” by Snap! …
In case you were wondering.
Needless to say, velvet and I have been enemies for quite some time. I remember loathing the slightly-fitted but somehow slinky dresses that cropped up for Prom and Winter Formals. In college I shunned shaggy or textured velvet fabrics of any sort when decorating my dorm – I even nixed it in apartments later on.
But I have this one chair.
It’s a flea-market antique style arm-chair in a worn, chestnut colored wood, with a low-rounded back, wicker (yes I said wicker) inlays and velvet cushions.
I inherited this chair from my Grandmother when I was in High School. She had wanted to get rid of it (perhaps the fear of velvet runs in our family) but there was just something about it. It is a fairly comfortable chair – naturally worn along the edges and at the arm rests – and it cradles your back in just the right places as you dive into the narrative of a good book. I think it’s pretty sturdy to have withstood years of quiet reading, being used as a stepping stool, Ryan’s epic video-gaming sessions, and Ella’s napping (it’s one of her favorite spots) and I dare say I’ve tried to run it over with a vacuum a time or two – but it dawned on me just the other day –
It’s actually velvet.
There are two cushions in total. One cushion rounds the seat base, the other is a pin-tucked pillow style cushion lining the low-rise seat back. The fabric is a faded, rust-colored hue that blends splendidly with the distressed warm wood, creating a kind of burnt-rose colored ombre effect.
Both of the cushions on this beloved chair of mine, it seems, are velvet.
I don’t know how this happened.
It was a harsh realization at first. Then I understood. It wasn’t the velvet itself, rather the way in which the velvet was “worn”. Velvet fabric outlining the body is (quite obviously) a bit different than velvet outlining a cushion. The body has soft curves, shallow valleys and needs embracing. Velvet needs a sturdy, plump, busting-at-the-seams shape to hug. In a fuller form, when the light hits it just so – we see it’s character. It has dimension.
I like dimension. I like soft and strong. I like juxtaposition.
I don’t like my thighs looking like bright purple pillow cushions.
But really, who does? It would seem that how this fabric is used and the colors you choose are totally crucial. They can make or break a velvet undertaking. I love a good chair – a good pillow cushion or a bolster. I’m expanding my horizons and slowly embracing a new velvety vision.
Velvet, my friends, is coming back into our lives. And this time I’m not afraid – I’ve discovered the key: it’s all in function and hue. Stick to sofas, arm chairs, cushions and throws for a pop that packs a punch! And whether you go cool, warm, or jewel toned it’s got to be worn and faded. Or properly paired with an understated counterpart – otherwise it’s too formal. Like, Prom and Mid-Winter formal.
Think simple. Think plump.
It might just be the perfect way to add a touch of character and a little luxury to a clean, worn, minimalist space.
Please enjoy some inspiration below:
To Source Any of the Kindly Borrowed Images above Please Click the Image