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Why Don't You Buy...a Throwback Velvet Dress?

It's the pinnacle of holiday dressing.

a model wears a velvet reformation dress in green in front of a tapestry to illustrate a roundup of the best velvet dresses to shop in 2021

Velvet is to holiday party dressing what linen is to a summer in Capri: more or less the uniform. Velvet dresses in ruby reds, midnight blues, and emerald greens land on shelves like clockwork each December, and their popularity is only growing. On TikTok, the hashtag "velvetdress" currently has more than 5.2 million views.

It's an undoubtedly festive—and warm—fabric to lean on. "People are excited to dress up for the holiday season and one trend that we’re seeing with our Bloomingdale’s shoppers is a love for all things velvet," Arielle Siboni, Bloomingdale’s ready-to-wear fashion director, confirms to BAZAAR.com. She adds that other velvet-ified items—halter tops, blazers, even jeans—are also landing in shoppers' carts.

This year, the nostalgia factor seeping into jewelry and going-out tops is also wrapping up in velvet for the holidays. Some popular dresses follow the mode of family portraits circa 1990—babydoll hems, Peter Pan collars, and the rhinestone button or two—while others are slips and sheath minis made for layering. "Similar to how we’re seeing the resurgence of '90s-inspired silhouettes in fashion overall, it’s no surprise that the velvet trend also has '90s-inspired influences as seen through slip dresses, corsets, and halters," Siboni says.

If want to lean into the throwback reference, Siboni recommends "styling a velvet dress with fun accessories like the mini bag and barely-there sandals." If you're in the mood for an undoubtedly festive dress, shop our 16 best picks ahead: a few in true throwback style from Black Halo, Miu Miu, and Alessandra Rich, and some with thoroughly 2021 updates.

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Arlo Draped Velvet Mini Dress
Saks Fifth Avenue
Black Halo

Puffed sleeves, gathered waist, and that bright red velvet: Black Halo has the epitome of a holiday dress. 

Embellished Velvet Minidress
Alessandra Rich

A sweetheart neckline and even sweeter buttons make for a nostalgic dress you'll wear way more than once.

Carol Ruffled Crushed-Velvet Maxi Dress

Fashion insiders have long known Batsheva for its Victorian necklines and Laura Ashley-esque florals. For holiday, the designer's spin on crushed velvet is the way to go. 

Textured Short Dress

There's zero risk of buyer's remorse with this flirty mini dress. Its fluttery sleeves and skirt are made for twirling.

Scoop Neck Slip Dress

There's nothing stuffy about this contemporary slip dress. The pistachio shade is so distinctive, you'll only need a minimalist earring for a full party look.

Camille Bows Dress
Now 30% off

We're on board with the fashion bow's return in all its forms, including the front of a velvet holiday dress. Saloni's peek-a-boo neckline and midi hemline keep those feminine details from overpowering the look.

Minna Velvet Dress

This emerald mini has so much layering potential. But if you'd prefer a longer skirt or sleeves, pay a visit to Ref's very expansive, partially on-sale velvet section.

Velvet Button-Front Dress
Miu Miu

Velvet minis have always been in Miu Miu's lane. Invest in this charming dress now, and have the satisfaction of owning it for the many velvet revisitations to come.

The Akilah Nap Dress
Hill House Home
Hill House Home

To get a little more out of your velvet dress, look for a style you can wear multiple ways with the slight adjustment of a strap or hem. Hill House Home's Akilah, from the brand's first holiday collection, can be worn as a collarbone-skimming off-the-shoulder dress, or as a tank dress with a higher neckline. The dress hangs like a dream no matter which way you wear it.

Bustier Velvet Dress

Bustiers and corsets are another revival trend we wore (and re-wore) this year. Mix the structured tailoring with a dreamy velvet in extended sizes, and you have a head-turning party dress on your hands. 

Rowenna Floral Velvet Dress
Autumn Adeigbo

Everything's coming up roses with this bold dress. There's a little bit of '80s glamour in the puff sleeves, but the ruching through the hips and waist feel totally modern. 

Helena Velour Midi Dress

Understated, elegant, and backed by Bloomingdale's Siboni. This little slip dress is a winter party essential, with or without a bodysuit layered underneath it. 

Velvet Empire Waist Midi Dress

Between the maxi tiered skirt, the blush pink velvet, and the low, tie-close back, this is the most romantic way to wear the trend. It's also available in plus and petite sizes. 

Aquarius Scoop Neck Mini Dress
Sister Jane

On any other dress, this crochet collar could get fussy. But the micro-mini velvet skirt keeps it modern. Patterned tights are  encouraged.

Justina Dress
Tanya Taylor
Tanya Taylor

Tanya Taylor converted her usual watercolor prints to a metallic and velvet tapestry for holiday. Not only will this striking pattern set you apart, its semi-sheer sleeves will keep you cool anywhere.

Free People
Saks Fifth Avenue
Free People

Here's an under-$150 velvet dress that would look ultra-rich with stiletto heels and riding boots alike.

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