How to Wear a Vest
Throwing on this tailored layer is an easy way to modernize your look. But with so many lengths and styles out there, figuring out the outfit is not so easy—until now, that is.
Rico Vest, $285, porcelainnyc.com. DG2 by Diane Gilman Chiffon Tie-Neck Blouse, $40, hsn.com. Decker Luxe Cashmere Shawl Jacket, $218, shopmixology.com. Jamie Oversized Cateye Sunglasses by Simply Vera Vera Wang, for similar styles visit kohls.com.
With fabric for days, these dramatic cuts may feel intimidating, but they're actually very figure-forgiving, because they skim over the tummy, the hips, and the thighs. “Pear shapes can add a belt to accentuate a smaller waist,” says Randi Packard, a New York City-based fashion market editor.
Long Vest: Casual
A structured black vest gets a laid-back, 70s vibe when it's worn over a breezy tunic dress and flared jeans.
Wear a statement necklace and stacked-heel boots so your Saturday look can segue from afternoon to night.
To buy: Marcelo Vest by Babaton for Aritzia, for similar styles visit aritzia.com. Frilled Dress, for similar styles visit zara.com. Gap pants, $70, gap.com. White House Black Market necklace, $55, whbm.com. Joie boots, $385, joie.com.
Long Vest: Dressy
Be bold yet elegant in a classic plaid. Sure, you could stick with all black underneath, but icy pink and navy adds artsy flair.
Stick with a slim top to off-set the volume of the vest and the pants.
To buy: Plaid Tweed Pocket Vest, $118, bcbgeneration.com. Tory Burch top, $195, toryburch.com. Harvey Faircloth pants, $495, ronherman.com. Karis Lavender Vintage Statement Necklace, for similar styles morninglavender.com. Skagen bag, $265, skagen.com. Andrew Kayla heels, for similar styles visit andrewkayla.com.
Long Vest: Work
A cream vest is the perfect gateway item to transition from winter to spring. For now, pair it with neutral basics; save colorful florals for warm days.
A soft knit fabric offers extra warmth (helpful if you're going sleeveless).
To buy: Vest, for similar styles anntaylor.com. DÃ©cor Top by Malene Birger, for similar styles visit katiaboutique.com. Nautica Ponte Jogging Pant, for similar styles visit nautica.com. Robinson Fret-Patchwork Adjustable Shoulder Bag, $495, toryburch.com. Casey Cuff, for similar styles visit chicos.com. Rockport flats, for similar styles visit rockport.com.
Not too long and not too short, these just-right silhouettes offer tons of outfit versatility. But skip midcuts if you’re heavier on the bottom—the fabric will “pool” and emphasize your rear, warns Monica Barnett, the chief image curator of the blog Blueprint for Style and the author of the style book Without Saying a Word.
Midlength Vest: Dressy
For a chic dinner-party look, layer creatively: a silk shell and a cropped brocade waistcoat under a vest.
To help mask the midsection, pick a longish top, so its hem meets the vest’s.
To buy: Masculine Waistcoat, for similar styles visit zara.com. Special Edition Embroidered Waistcoat, for similar styles visit zara.com. Eileen Fisher blouse, $138, eileenfisher.com. Banana Republic pants, for similar styles visit bananarepublic.com. Sequin earrings, $198, sequin-nyc.com. Steve Madden heels, $110, stevemadden.com.
Midlength Vest: Casual
A vest can also keep an outfit from looking too prim. See how it chills out a button-down/tweed-skirt combo?
Mirror the length of the vest by opting for a long necklace.
To buy: Double Knit Sleeveless Blazer, $194, 525america.com. Patched Denim Shirt in Athenia Light Blue, for similar styles visit 7forallmankind.com. Look 4 Tweed skirt, for similar styles visit clearbykaimilla.com. Daisy Long Necklace, for similar styles visit lulufrost.com. Sueded Saddle Bag, for similar styles visit povertyflatsbyrian.com. Klub Nico flats, $146, softsurroundings.com.
Midlength Vest: Work
Bring some serious structure to a swingy, springy dress with this army-inspired style. Heeled sandals and gold accents keep it ladylike.
These pockets are roomy enough for a smartphone, keys, and cash (yes, all at once).
To buy: Military Trench Vest, $285, brookeatwood.com. Box Print Dress, for similar styles visit thelimited.com. Victoria Cuff, $45, rjgraziano.com. Stuart Weitzman heels, call Stuart Weitzman at 312-649-0090. Karen Walker bag, for similar styles visit karenwalker.com.
Short Vest: Dressy
The luxurious (faux!) shearling brings a modern edginess to a sophisticated, body-grazing sheath dress.
The vest’s open front adds volume and shape to a straight frame.
To buy: Ecote Sherpa Vest, $89, urbanoutfitters.com. O'2nd dress, $525, call Elements Boutique at 214-987-0837. Chloe & Isabel Necklace, $88, chloeandisabel.com. L.K. Bennett Clutch, $345, lkbennett.com. Dolce Vita Heels, $120, dolcevita.com.
Short Vest: Casual
Here’s how you take your jeans look to the next level. The scarf’s watercolor print makes the pink vest pop.
Balance a cropped vest with a slightly longer top underneath.
To buy: Slub Tweed Vest, $450, rebeccataylor.com. Karen Kane top, $89, call Bloomingdale's at 800-777-0000. Earl Jean Boyfriend Pants, for similar styles visit macys.com. Brush Crazy Quad Scarf by Simply Vera Vera Wang, for similar styles visit kohls.com. Rolled Top Backpack, for similar styles visit povertyflatsbyrian.com. Rockport flats, for similar styles visit rockport.com.
Short Vest: Work
Offset the vest's boxy shape and sleek zippers by layering slim-fit, conservative work staples underneath. The sweater's high neckline keeps the look from being too busy.
The rich navy leather is an upscale update to basic black.
To buy: Lauren Ralph Lauren vest, for similar styles visit bloomingdales.com. Aeronotic Short Turtle Knit, $160, g-star.com. Odeeh Skirt, $525, call Esti's Boutique at 516-374-1054. Tilly Heels, $90, aldo.com.