AKA: velour is velour is velour
How to say it: vuh-loo-r
- made from velour fabric
…of the style: Velour is a soft fabric with an uneven pile that resembles velvet and has been around since the 1840s. The main difference between velour and velvet is in the construction – velour has a knit construction which gives the fabric stretch and makes it a great choice for exercise and lounge wear. It is also often made from cotton which makes it plush and breathable, and therefore very comfortable to wear.
I couldn’t find a definite date of introduction for the velour pant, but the velour clothing was a definite trend during the 1980s when it was cool to wear workout clothes as street wear. High-end designers like Dior featured sweaters and sporty tops made from velour in their collections, while the sports brands marketed velour tracksuits which were loved by fashionistas and felons alike.
Perhaps it was this link to hooligans that killed velour’s popularity, as it quickly fell out of favour the style it was brought back into the limelight by Juicy Couture in 1996.
The brand, started by Gela Nash and Pamela Skaist-Levy, sold athletic and casual wear but was most famous for its velour tracksuit. In 2001, as a means of marketing their label, Nash and Skaist-Levy sent a tracksuit to Madonna, complete with ‘Madge’ embroidered on the back. Madonna obviously liked it as she was seen wearing the outfit, and once that happened the Juicy Tracksuit was an instant hit. In 2003 the company was bought by Liz Claiborne Inc (now called Fifth & Pacific Companies). The success of the brand continued through the mid 2000s as stars like J-Lo, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton donned the tracksuit, and Juicy became the symbol of ‘new money’.
Ten short years later and the velour tracksuit has many haters. The velour fabric can be somewhat unforgiving to the female figure (particularly when the garment being worn is perhaps a few sizes too small), a situation that has been highlighted in many gossip and celebrity sites and unflattering photos of starlets in their veloured glory are strewn all over the internet and glossy magazines.
Whether you are a lover or a hater, the velour track suit is not going anywhere. While high fashion hasn’t been a fan of late, many street wear brands still have one on their books and many die-hard fans still rock the full body velour.
…of the name: Velour is the French word for velvet.
21st Century Velour Pants
Nowadays velour is the realm of active wear and casual brands rather than high fashion, but if you really want it, it is still out there.
Eddie Bauer, Juicy Couture
Kenny, Victoria’s Secret