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'Tis the Velvet Season

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Back in 2008 when Barack Obama was the Democratic nominee for president, merchandise emblazoned with his "Hope and Change" slogan was everywhere. In 2016's election, both Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" hats and Hillary Clinton's "I'm With Her" gear have become iconic, and November 8th has even been declared National Pantsuit Day. Clearly, fashion has a tendency to find its way into political spaces, so much so that it feels uniquely American to express your political views through your clothing. And actually, campaign merchandise isn't a new phenomenon at all, with the earliest gear dating all the way back to the OG president, George Washington. Our second story today, by Stephie Grob Plante, takes us through the history of campaign merch.

But first, it's peak season for everyone's favorite fuzzy winter fabric — velvet. Wear it as a dress! As a backpack! Or maybe as a pantsuit for tomorrow...

How are you wearing velvet this season? Tell us! Or maybe even show us. —Stephanie Talmadge, social media editor 

‘Tis the Season for Velvet
Model in a blue sweater
Story by Elana Fishman

From quality time with family to a packed party calendar, there are tons of reasons to look forward to the holiday season (or dread it, depending). But as much as I love baking cookies and wrapping gifts, there’s one thing about the chilly winter months that excites me more than anything else: the free pass to wear velvet every damn day.

See, velvet is basically the Beyoncé of fabrics: It’s flawless. It’s fancy. It makes you feel fantastic. And while you can certainly wear it year-round — yes, even in the summer — it’s particularly appropriate for the holiday party circuit, when everyone’s bundled up out of necessity but still wants to look (and feel) a bit sexy.

Luckily, these days you can find velvet versions of literally everything you’d ever want to wear, from sneakers to slip dresses to snapbacks. Below, a few plush picks to get you started.

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Topshop Velvet Suit Jacket, $140; Topshop Velvet Cigarette Trousers, $80

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Alice & Olivia London Velvet Lace-Up Bodysuit, $225

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Prada Velvet Platform Sandals, $825

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Reformation Chemise Dress, $248

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Rebecca Minkoff Bojana Velvet 100mm Ankle Boot in Midnight, $150

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Herschel Dawson Backpack, $120

See more great velvet pieces you can buy right now >>
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A Brief History of Presidential Campaign Merch
A presidential rally.

The night that Adlai Stevenson didn’t win the presidency in 1952, my grandpa downed a bottle of Aspirin over woe at the electoral process, collapsed in the bathroom, and ended up hospitalized with a GI bleed that would reemerge throughout the next 51 years of his life whenever exacerbated by stress. My grandpa really liked Adlai Stevenson.

We care a lot about our presidential nominees. Look no further than the glut of campaign merchandise at our disposal each election cycle, and, in particular, all the ways we dress ourselves for our nominee’s success: the buttons, the T-shirts, the hats, the tote bags, the etc. It helps if your candidate has a catchy slogan to print on those buttons and tees and totes, but really, all a hopeful needs is a name and/or a face. (Adlai Stevenson had both a name and a face, but he had terrible merch. My grandpa might’ve avoided the medicine cabinet on November 4th, 1952 if Stevenson’s campaign had managed to concoct a zingier slogan than "I Used to Like Ike, Now I’m for Stevenson," which takes the prize for second-most-meh presidential one-liner after Barry Goldwater’s 1964 pins that read "In Your Heart, You Know He’s Right!").

Where did this whole idea of election merch come from? How far back does the history of wearing your candidate’s name on your sleeve go?

It all started with the button — or, at the very least, button-like objects — and it all started with America’s first POTUS.

Keep reading this story here >>
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