Vogue graduate and luxury vintage merchandiser Jesseca Jones shares her style moves that “feel enveloped like you’re wearing your favorite blanket, while still looking totally put together and fabulous.”
Remember that scene in Clueless where Cher walks into a party and sees Amber wearing the same maroon velvet minidress that she’d already sported on the quad? It’s a now-iconic look — and one that Jesseca “JJ” Jones styled first. “It was a maroon babydoll dress with a scoop neck and a bow,” JJ recalls of the first velvet piece she can remember wearing — though the photo below proves she’s been in the fabric since her arrival on the planet. “I think I wore it with patent leather Mary Janes on a dressy 4th grade day — perhaps picture day, but who really needs a reason?” Looking at the runways today, it’s like she’s always known.
Jesseca Jones, in velvet since birth, held by mom Rhonda
TOO COOL TO FADE
JJ, a Vogue graduate with over a decade of styling experience in the City That Never Sleeps, spends her days as a merchandise planner for one of New York’s most exclusive luxury vintage retailers. It’s the kind of position that gives a unique window into what’s really happening in fashion for insiders steering clear of mainstream marketing hype. In the business of timeless archival pieces, velvet is booming. “We’re already noticing a shift to those cozy, lux fabrications and velvet is a HUGE part of that, not only in classic jewel tones, but also in ultra-brights like pink, yellow, and orange,” says JJ of the head-to-toe move that’s being seen reappearing in surprisingly airy adaptations of late.
It’s high season for plush fabrics of every era. Still, there’s something adorably familiar — even for generations born too late — about the trend that stole so many hearts just decades ago. “This particular 90s resurgence makes me think of Winona Ryder in her velvet slip dresses and blazers, Drew Barrymore in off-duty tie blouses, and of course, Kate Moss in her vintage velvet car coat,” says JJ. And as for WHY this is such an obvious choice — her logic is a stroke of 2K19 genius. “There’s the ultra-tactile nature of velvet that, in a modern world of constant bombardment from every direction, is almost the ASMR of fabrics,” she explains. “Velvet is the comfy, luxurious, sometimes-drapey kind of fabric that makes you feel enveloped like you’re wearing your favorite blanket while still looking totally put together and fabulous.”
RUNWAY TO REALITY
Even on current catwalks — as Paris Fashion Week wraps up fashion month as we speak — velour options are truly everywhere. “There are decidedly modern things happening with it today — even in track pants and slip dresses, it’s definitely been given new life,” JJ notes. “From the incredible velvet blazers and coats at Tom Ford to the throwback updated look of Mach and Mach’s ruched mini dresses, to printed and crushed velvets at Balenciaga, you have so many cool ways of wearing this fabric. I also love the opulent, velvet capes at Gucci and gorgeous beaded jackets and dresses at Saint Laurent!
And even with the most coveted retro designer pieces in her wheelhouse, JJ admits that before we tapped her as the obvious pro for this piece, she was already making a detailed personal list of FP’s latest plushies. “I have SO many Free People velvet pieces I’ve been adding to shopping cart and perusing over the past few weeks — it’s just so hard to narrow down!” she says with a laugh. “I’m loving all of the velvet hair accessories — like this handful of bow scrunchies — and since I’m not a fan of heels, a chunky velvet sneaker is a nice way to be dressy while not killing your feet in the process.”
Below, the East Coast queen of velveteen dreams breaks down the easiest ways to throwback — and look toward — the season’s most desirable movement:
JJ’S VIVA LA VELVET STYLE GUIDE
“When I think of velvet, I always first think of Stevie Nicks — my number one all-time style muse. She uses velvet in a way that goes from classical to theatrical. I would take her wearing of burn-out velvet piano shawls to a modern level by pairing them with some cropped, high-waisted pants and chunky boots with a crop top underneath.”
“To me, this is very Brigitte Bardot beauty. You can wear this statement headband with a fitted cold-shoulder top and high-waisted jeans.”
“What’s not to love here? You’re covering two trends in one garment with the leopard and velvet. The emerald color is so flattering and the capelet is also a silhouette everyone should have this fall. I would pair this with some pencil jeans tucked into black Doc Martens.”
“My second velvet style muse is Nicole Kidman in Practical Magic (prequel coming soon to HBO!!). She wears the classic babydoll slip dress in velvet. I would pair this style with some sneakers and a military jacket.”
“This is the perfect nod to those 90s oversized velvet pieces worn by every It Girl, but with a modern color way (the Lime Glo is so fabulous, too, for those braver than I). I would wear this with a mini skirt and ankle boots. And for the truly brave, you could pair with the Baccarat Glitter Knit Underwire Bra and treat it more like a cardigan, unbuttoned a la Katie Holmes hailing a taxi.”
“I LOVE off the shoulder blouses and this one is high drama. For day dressing, would have to be paired with classic Levis blue jeans with pointy flats.”
“This skirt sends me back to the opulence of the 60s when women and men were experimenting with color and fabrics. I would keep this modern by pairing it with an oversized sweatshirt and sneakers.”
“This jacket is GORGEOUS and looks like one of those special, one-of-a-kind pieces you would find in your favorite vintage store. I would wear this with a low-neck maxi dress and boots.”