a bit of black velvet over the shoulders

English translation: low-cut sleeveless black dress in velvet

09:52 Oct 15, 2014
English language (monolingual) [Non-PRO]
Art/Literary - Textiles / Clothing / Fashion
English term or phrase: a bit of black velvet over the shoulders
"He leant back after his soup, a man of the world, and then slowly brought his eyes around to the ladies in evening dress on his right....

He couldn't have thought it!

They were scorchers. Jest a bit of black velvet over the shoulders!

He looked again. One of them was laughing with a glass of wine half raised—wicked-looking woman she was—the other, the black velvet one, was eating bits of bread with nervous quickness and talking fast."

Kipps has a dinner at the hotel. I think Kipps believe these women will criticize and insult him, so he calls them "scorchers"
I have found this about the black velvet:

"The Black Velvet is a beer cocktail made from stout beer (often Guinness) and white, sparkling wine, traditionally champagne.
The drink was first created by the bartender of Brooks's Club in London in 1861, to mourn the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's Prince Consort. It is supposed to symbolise the black or purple cloth armbands worn by mourners." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Velvet_(beer_cocktail)

Does "the black velvet one" raise her glass and Kipps sees it i.e. "a bit of black velvet" in the glass? or does it mean something else?
Cansel22
Turkey
Selected answer:low-cut sleeveless black dress in velvet
Explanation:
Kipps is used to seeing women more covered up than is the case on this occasion, and is rather shocked.

"Scorcher" is a compliment, meaning extremely sexually attractive.
Selected response from:

Jack Doughty
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:51
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



SUMMARY OF ALL EXPLANATIONS PROVIDED
4 +7low-cut sleeveless black dress in velvet
Jack Doughty


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


14 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +7
low-cut sleeveless black dress in velvet


Explanation:
Kipps is used to seeing women more covered up than is the case on this occasion, and is rather shocked.

"Scorcher" is a compliment, meaning extremely sexually attractive.

Jack Doughty
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:51
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 16
Notes to answerer
Asker: in the same chapter it says "Women half undressed. It was that made him so beastly uncomfortable." thank you for your answer.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Victoria Britten
30 mins
  -> Тhank you.

agree  BrigitteHilgner: How can anyone think of beer in this context?
1 hr
  -> Thank you. Not that surprising, I've misread things like that more than once when reading something in a foreign language.

agree  Suzan Hamer: Today "scorcher" = "hot." The little bit of black velvet over the shoulders would be very thin straps.
2 hrs
  -> Thank you, yes.

agree  Arabic & More
2 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  Charles Davis
3 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  DLyons
6 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  BdiL: Sir, you are a real gentleman... and always useful! Tipping my hat.
22 hrs
  -> Thank you!
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