The best part about Valentine’s Day is the fashion.
Celebrating love is great too, but the opportunities to show you’re sexy or romantic side are too good to pass up. Of course, the color, cut, and design of what you wear matters for peak sultriness, but so too does the actual fabric.
Whether it’s the feel of the clothing against the skin or the associations we’ve dreamt up over time — certain fabrics make us swoon.
Just in time to inspire you for this Valentine’s day outfit, let’s take a look through some of the most iconic fabrics lovely enough to launch Cupid’s arrow.
A familiar favorite. Lace is one of the most recognizable fabrics… maybe ever. In use since the sixteenth century first by clergymen and then by the general populace, lace is a common applique on everything from wedding dresses to bras and underwear to lingerie. Many varieties of lace have been developed over the centuries. Sometimes their names indicate how they are made, crochet lace, for example, is indeed made by crochet. Lace even became location-specific. Chantilly- lace dates back to the seventeenth century in Chantilly, France, and is typically black, made of silk, and has finely detailed stitching. Lace is still prized for its delicacy and elegance today. The fabric is wildly versatile and can be worn modestly or to reveal more skin, making lace a perfect companion to any Valentine’s Day outfit.
To crush or not to crush? That is the question. Velvet originated in Baghdad around 750 AD. As its popularity grew, velvet found its way to the Mediterranean, where it became widely used during the Italian Renaissance and among European royalty. Because it was originally made of expensive silk, velvet was once reserved for nobility in dynasties and monarchies across the globe. The fabric was a regal symbol of wealth and power. We should add, velvet is often shown in rich and deep colors. These colors likely feel luxurious because of how expensive dying fabric was long ago. Now, most anyone can feel almost-royal in a velvet number. Just the feeling alone of the luxe fabric on your skin makes it a satisfying choice for Valentine’s Day.
Or pleather, if we’re trying to be animal friendly. Leather is exciting. A longtime favorite of fashion designers, high-quality leather goods are made with exquisite attention to detail and can last years when properly cared for. Whether it’s patent leather boots or a leather motorcycle jacket, wearing this fabric gives; “I will step on your neck and make it hot.” This is no surprise given leather’s relationship to the kink subculture in the BDSM community. Assless chaps, harnesses, vests, and leather jackets, similar to what Miley is wearing, express sexual power for everyone from dominatrixes to men in the gay community. Go ahead and wear that leather that makes you feel like a bad-ass. Tough is sexy. Leather makes being bad look really good.
Think less medieval times and more… time to shine. Chainmail has become increasingly popular lately, a revival from the early aughts. Chainmail is technically a kind of armor popular in the military forces across the world from the third century BC to the sixteenth century AD. The material is made by interlocking small pieces of metal so that they come together to form a mesh. Of course, the fabric has been reinvented since its military days. In the early ’90s, Gianni Versace pioneered gold chainmail dresses that hugged the model’s bodies, a perfect representation of his provocative aesthetic. Chainmail glitters on top of the body. For a “fabric” made of metal, it moves surprisingly like water, giving the effect that the chainmail is pouring over you. Another benefit of chainmail is that it’s sure to catch the light in any photo, making it a stunning choice on and off-camera.
Many thousands of years ago, people traveled across the world just to procure silk. The silk road, a network of established trade routes, connected the East to the West culturally, economically, and religiously. Besides silk’s incredible contribution to world development, it’s also an inspiring fabric choice for designers. There is an ease to wearing silk, the buttery soft fabric can fall and be draped on the body just so to create a romantic feeling. Silk is also often worn in intimate settings, like as pajamas, or as a negligee. When the bedroom-inspired outfits are worn outside, a silk ensemble can feel risqué in an unfussy way. See Rihanna being gorgeous and unbothered below.
For all the effort that latex takes to get on (thank you baby powder), there better be a good payoff. And fortunately, there is. Latex more than earns its spot on this list by being the most fetish forward choice. Popular in the BDSM community, latex comes in the form of bodysuits, face masks, toys, and even to achieve sensation play like with a vacuum bed. Wearable latex is often extremely form-fitting and has a glossy sheen to it that almost looks wet. Very cheeky. Latex has also experienced a revival lately, with celebs wearing it during performances, to the Met Gala, or just to dinner. In any case, latex is guaranteed to get pulses pumping this Valentine’s day.
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