Velvet contrast collars have been worn on topcoats (like the “Chesterfield”) since the mid-19th century. They’ve also been a popular addition to the tweed blazer, where they create a charmingly rural, “equestrian” kind of effect. But the pairing of a contrast collar, velvet or not, with a suit jacket or sports coat is a relatively new phenomenon. While a traditional tailor may not readily approve of a velvet collar on anything except the Chesterfield topcoat or a tweed blazer, there’s something appealingly modern, I think, about this innovation. Not to be outdone, brown suit with black velvet, a gray–green suit with claret-coloured velvet, and a petrol blue suit with a pale blue velvet. Boldly incorporating a traditional British tailoring detail, these strikingly fresh bespoke suits are modern and classical at once.
Ed Westwick’s contrast collar tweed blazer on Gossip Girl. Notice how Westwick mixes the mature element of a Chesterfield-collar tweed with the youthful purple shirt, tie and pocket square. The way he achieves the double effect of high class and youthful colour is definitely something to imitate.