The Complete Guide to Caring for Your Velvet

You might think we’ve already reached peak velvet, but this trend shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Nothing is immune to the velvet treatment this winter, as everything from boots to coats to skirts is coming in a rainbow (and we mean rainbow) of velvet. And we’ll be wearing this fabric right through to spring too—even Victoria Beckham is behind this trend, as crushed bright velvets were at the heart of her S/S 17 collection. 

There are a number of advantages to wearing this material—it looks luxurious, it helps you to dress more like Alexa Chung, it keeps you warm and it will make you look super cuddly. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t want to stroke a velvet sleeve? It also has longevity and is worth investing in, but there is one practical downside to wearing this trend.

Velvet can mark easily, and you can’t just throw it in the machine, meaning it can be an impractical fabric to wear every day throughout winter. Especially if, like us, you had plans of wearing nothing but velvet shoes till March. There are a few serious no-nos when it comes to treating your velvet, and so we have turned to a fabric expert (yes, that’s a thing) to help you make sure yours lasts the season. 

>“The tactile nature of velvet means it is also very sensitive,” explains Neil Smith, fabric technologist at Johnson Cleaners. “Drink spillages can lead to sugar being absorbed into the fabric, which causes the yarns to stick together, and storing velvet carelessly and wearing velvet regularly can leave a flattened appearance on sensitive areas such as elbows.

See below for his rules for giving your velvet some TLC this winter…

1. Never iron velvet.
Photo: Style du Monde

“Do not iron velvet, as even low temperatures can cause damage to the soft texture,” Smith advises.

2. Be careful with how you store velvet.
Photo: Style du Monde

“Store with some space around it—do not let it become crushed in a wardrobe. Do not leave it in a cover or polyrobe, as it will sweat and damage the fabric,” says Smith.

3. How to wash it…
Photo: Getty/Christian Vierig 

“Always check the care label. If it advises hand washing, it should be done inside out with a delicate non-biological liquid detergent. Gently squeeze out some of the excess water, but do not wring it. Hang to drip dry and do not use pegs as they will damage the pile,” Smith told us.

4. Be careful when it comes to drying.
Photo: Style du Monde

“For a coat, jacket or dress, always hang the piece on a hanger to dry. If stated on the care label, a cool tumble dry would finish the pile of nicely, leaving it soft and crease-free,” Smith said.

5. How to minimise damage…
Photo: Style du Monde

>“Damage is inevitable as it will occur through general wear and tear—the collar will rub against your neck, the sleeves will wear through bending and flexing, the cuffs will wear through contact with hands and wrists, sitting down in a dress and skirt on a long coat will crush the pile on the seat area. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to prevent this, however ensure any damages are repaired by fabric specialists who can recover these flattened patches,” said Smith.

Ready to buy into this trend? Shop our edit of the best (affordable) velvet shoes…