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Taking velvet from the runway to real life

KEVIN VAN PAASSEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

It's traditionally associated with nobility and aging rock stars, but that hasn't stopped velvet from descending onto the masses. This fall, you'll be hard-pressed to ignore the plush fabric and its surprising versatility. Believe it or not, it's even adaptable for the office.

1) Velvet trousers may look dapper on Louis Vuitton's runway, but they'll read too dandy in corporate reality. To resolve this, stick to jackets only. And unless your likeness appears on currency, never ever wear both.

2) The smooth, rich fabric dresses up anything and everything it's paired with, which could pose a problem at work. Try balancing it with more casual elements (such as corduroy trousers) and breaking up the classic shirt-and-tie combo with a merino wool V-neck sweater.

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3) Russell Brand excepted, avoid wearing velvet jackets with jeans - and, please, skip velvet blouses altogether.

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