What is shimmery, extravagant, and sometimes topped off with a bow?

Believe it or not, we’re not talking about the presents under your Christmas tree, but about sumptuous velvet dresses instead. They are the unofficial party frock of the holiday season for many reasons: they come in rich, jewel tones, they add just the right amount of shine to your look, and they are luxuriously soft to the touch. The velvet dress never fails to stun.

We saw plenty of velvet dresses on the runways this year, which only adds to their appeal. Rodarte and Anna Sui offered styles with dramatic shoulders and a tinge of cinematic glamour for Fall/Winter 2020. There was the curt chicness of the maxi dresses by Celine and Chanel, tailored to the tastes of the Parisian bourgeoisie. And who can forget the exquisite gowns that glided through the Olivier Theysens S/S 2021 runway?

The velvet dress is fancy, fuss-free, and there’s a style for every festive occasion you can think of: mini dresses if you’re in a party mood, sweeping gowns for formal affairs, and knee-length styles for cosy family dinners.

In other words, it’s a fool-proof Christmas look. You can even take cues from the runway and keep embellishments to a minimum, letting the dress take centre stage instead. Below, we round-up all the beautiful styles that you’ll want to try out this last week of December.

Header photo credit: The Vampire’s Wife

1
Saloni embellished velvet midi dress

If you’re looking for something that sits between formal and frilly, this Saloni dress is it. Its plush velvet silhouette is adorned with pretty bows made of crystals, beads and pearls — perfect for Christmastime. The dress will also be flattering to wear, thanks to its balloon sleeves and a skirt just flared enough.

(Photo credit: Net-a-Porter)

Price
S$1,251
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2
Balenciaga stretch-crushed velvet mini dress

This is by Balenciaga, so it’s not your average off-shoulder mini dress. If you saw this red-hot velvet number on Bella Hadid at the brand’s Spring/Summer 2020 runway show, you’ll know that the back of the skirt is actually a pair of cycling shorts. Get this if you’re looking for something comfortable and just a little bit controversial at your next holiday party.

(Photo credit: Net-a-Porter)

Price
S$895
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3
COS silk velvet puff sleeve dress

She wore blue velvet… from COS. This voluminous dress comes with statement puff sleeves — a great detail if you’re doing a Zoom party with friends around the world. It’s flowy enough to let you wine and dine without fear of your food baby showing, but you could also style it up with a chic belt.

(Photo credit: COS)

Price
S$200
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4
Norma Kamali sweetheart-neckline velvet dress

This Norma Kamali dress is a sultry option to consider for intimate dinner dates. It has a sweetheart neckline (ideal for showing off a sparkling necklace), a flattering ruched bodice, and an asymmetric hem that reveals a thigh-high slit. Complete the look with a pair of crystal drop earrings and strappy heels.

(Photo credit: MatchesFashion)

Price
S$110
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5
& Other Stories velvet midi dress with rhinestone straps

If you’re going for ’90s minimalism, try this slip dress from & Other Stories. Made of dark green velvet and featuring diamante-embellished straps, it still matches the festive mood without being ostentatious. The only thing that’s showy is the sexy slit at the side of the dress.

(Photo credit: ASOS)

Price
S$66.23
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6
The Vampire's Wife bow-trim cotton velvet gown

The Vampire’s Wife has won over countless celebrities with its glamorous, romantic dresses, such as the “The Velvet” gown seen here. It looks like it’s made just for Yuletide, what with its luscious burgundy velvet fabric and festive bows. It also comes with a smooth silk satin lining — a detail that you’ll appreciate as you wear the evening dress at your next party.

(Photo credit: MatchesFashion)

Price
S$605
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7
House of CB velvet corset dress

Loved by the Kardashians, Hadids and Jenners, House of CB knows a thing or two about making covetable dresses — especially body-con ones like this. This design comes with full support via a boned corset (the sweetheart neckline is a nice touch) and a figure-hugging bodice that’s lined with anti-slip stretch crepe to prevent anything more than your décolletage from showing.

(Photo credit: House of CB)

Price
S$195
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8
Khaite velvet minidress

This offering from New York label Khaite might just be the ultimate party dress of the season. There are charming details like a velvet bow and a sheer tulle yoke, but it’s that shade of red that really makes it a Christmas must-have. The best part is that the dress is made with a flirty, babydoll silhouette that looks good on everyone.

(Photo credit: MyTheresa)

Price
S$2,482.62
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Pameyla Cambe
Senior Writer
Pameyla Cambe is a fashion and jewellery writer who believes that style and substance shouldn't be mutually exclusive. She makes sense of the world through Gothic novels, horror films and music. Lots of music.