French for velvet, this oh, so soft alternative was the only fabric to wear during the decadent yet athletic 70’s. Velour was the playing man’s velvet: it was as soft and luxuriant as the expensive formalwear fabric, but less delicate. Velour stood up to wear better than the fragile fibers of velvet, and could be tossed in the wash and come out looking bright and new. A perfect casual comfort, velour mixed leisure and luxury for an unforgettable fabric.
Velvet and its associates (velour, velveteen) vary only by the fiber used to create the fabric, and by the density of the ‘pile’—the raised, hairlike surface that gives the material its plush feel. Velvet is made of silk, nylon or acetate; velveteen is short, dense cotton; and velour is soft, loose weave cotton and other synthetic fibers. The material is made by weaving loops in between two fabric bases. The ‘sandwich’ of the two opposing pieces is cut open and peeled apart, leaving a hairlike ‘pile’ of raised material.
The 70’s fell in love with new fabrics, and terry cloth and velour were two of the decade’s favorites for athletic looks. Velour found a comfortable home in jogging suits, and became a stylish wardrobe choice when done in a snazzy v-neck shirt style. Kennington shirts, piped with a contrasting color against a velour or terry cloth backdrop, were a childhood favorite.
Velour has all but died out from the clothing market, but did experience a brief revival with 90’s hipsters who remembered the super-smooth feel of their favorite 70’s fabric.
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