Why velvet is the new black for Christmas

Nothing says Christmas quite like the sumptuous texture of velvet. It has all the properties we associate with the festive season: ostentation, luxury, warmth... Here are five gorgeous velvet items perfect for the party season.

Rather than ease you in, I thought I'd hit you straight off with an absolute showstopper of a velvet dress. I could only pull off this dress in my dreams... but it's nice to dream. Beautifully embellished and with a modern asymmetric hemline as well as a cut-out back, this is a dress for those of you who want to dazzle more brightly than a Christmas tree.

Embellished velvet dress, Petite, €210 at topshop.com

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There's something quite regal about this dress. I feel the model should be sitting in front of an enormous fireplace drinking wine from a goblet. A perfect Christmas Day dress, it's elegant and sophisticated, but looks supremely comfortable too.

Velvet maxi dress, €199 at uterque.com

A velvet trouser suit is top of my wish list right now. It looks so chic as is, but the pieces can be worn separately for a more low-key look. I'd probably pair these wide-leg trousers with a polo neck for Christmas Day, and I think wearing this blazer over a printed pleated skirt would add a little playfulness to its structured silhouette.

Blazer, €99.95, and trousers, €59.95, both at Zara

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A pyjama-style velvet shirt is a great way to elevate staples on those days over Christmas when you're a little weary of "dressing up" but you don't want to look dressed down.

Embroidered shirt, Mira Mikati, €672 at net-a-porter.com

This halter-neck dress looks like a fun, easy piece to wear - there's a lot to be said for a dress that hangs loosely from your frame at this time of year. The frill hemlime adds a nice touch of detailing as does the bow, which ties at the back of the neck.

Halter-neck frill swing dress, €55 at River Island

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