6 Sweater Vest Outfit Ideas To Put In Rotation

6 Sweater Vest Outfit Ideas To Put In Rotation

If you haven’t noticed lately, sweater vests have become a Etwas. This staple staple straight from the prep school uniform manual has ruled runways for a few season now (here’s thinking about you, Gucci. Prada. Coach), and is also very popular with street stylers. This trending item may have looked at first glance like a trending blip on fashion radar but it has been a timeless closet staple, often seen in regular rotation by celeb style gurus Alexa Chung, Bella Hadid and Harry Styles. Why is it suddenly back in fashion?

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“The sweater vest had a little hiatus, but it’s no surprise everyone is embracing it again,” Jen OlsonTZR is told by a brand marketing consultant,. “It speaks to how people want to dress these days, using simple foundation pieces that you can wear many times in many different ways.” Simplicity is definitely a key to dressing nowadays, of course — but nostalgia factor of the sleeveless knit top has also been strongly resonating with the fashion crowd, as well as consumers, alike.

“We’re always looking to the past for new silhouettes and shapes we can reintroduce in a modern way,” Natalie JoosFounder and designer of JoosTricot, says. “I guess it was the sweater vest’s turn.” Alyssa CoscarelliFounder of InfiniteAlso adds “There’s something so special about a knitted piece, and a sweater vest has that handmade, nostalgic feel without committing to an entire sweater. It shows a bit more skin while still having that throwback appeal.”

The silhouette is a wardrobe essential for some fashion aficionados. “I’ve always worn vests,” says Joos, a bonafide vintage collector. “I have a really cool vintage Dior vest, and an oversized Sportmax one that I usually wear over a short Mickey Mouse slip dress.”Coscarelli agrees: The best pieces come out of the past. “My style is always extremely vintage-inspired, and I’ve been drawn to vests in general for as long as I can remember. I love that [vests] feel a bit unisex, and are such a fun styling piece to layer or wear a lot of different ways (over a shirt, with pants or jeans, with a skirt, over a dress, etc).”

This versatility is what makes the sweater vest universal. It allows for a mindful approach to dressing seasonally. “I look for simplicity of cut, timelessness, and versatility. It should pair back to lots of different things in your closet,”Olson tells TZR “Transitioning sweater vests from summer to fall is all about layering: In the summer, wear it on its own (nothing underneath) paired back to loose jeans, or throw it on over a dress. In the winter, I love wearing them with a turtleneck or underneath a suit.”

Joos agrees that bare skin is a great look in hot weather. “I love vests because they’re a great alternative to sweaters in the summer,”She mentions. “In the summer, I wear them without anything underneath, even the wool ones. And in the winter, I like to wear a button down underneath my vest and a blazer over it. It reads casual and men’s.” Coscarelli’s suggestion? “For now, try one with your favorite denim cutoff shorts or a mini skirt. Come fall, you can really get creative. I love wearing them on top of oversized collared shirts.”

Here are some additional tips to help you. “Because I’ve worked in fashion for so long and seen more lookbook and trend cycles than I can count, something really needs to be unique in order to stand out to me and catch my attention,” Coscarelli says. “With sweater vests specifically, we’re talking unique yarn or fabrication, an unexpected silhouette, or maybe some details like embroidery or a fun color combo.”These are the details to watch out for when you’re looking for the best sweater vests.

Keep scrolling for more cute ways to wear vests now and later, inspired by these experts’ personal style and more.

TZR will only list products that have been selected by our editors. If you click on a link in this article, we may be compensated for a portion of the sales.

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Shell: 50% polyester, 50% cotton
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Girly Grunge

As Coscarelli mentioned above, the modern sweater vest is defined by quality and uniqueness. “I’m partial to this one, because I had a hand in designing it for my e-commerce platform called Infinite, where I collaborate with emerging makers all over the world on limited-edition pieces,”She tells TZR. “This vest in particular is hand knit in Finland (made to order to your measurements) and uses upcycled denim for the flower appliqués. A forever piece, if you ask me.”A combination of a feminine embroidered vest and a more masculine piece will make a great style pairing. “Because this vest can skew a little girly, I wanted to toughen it up a bit with a ‘90s grunge feel,” Coscarelli explains. “This kilt-leaning skirt was the perfect complement, to give it some edge while still feeling seasonal and flirty.”

Street Chic Casual

Cottagecore dressing is still top of mind for many, so a billowy white dress with plenty of pomp and circumstance is a summer must-have. Breathe new life into the silhouette by adding a lightweight sweater vest on top, for a street style-approved feel that feels crafty yet cool. This look will take you from summer to fall in a heartbeat, and can even be worn with an oversized coat come winter. Pair yours with the equally sought after white Hoka sneakers and a puffy satin headband for instant hypebae appeal.

Retro Revamp

Image Courtesy of Natalie Joos

“I’m wearing the smiley vest from our Fall collection with a vintage Ralph Lauren button down and jeans,” Joos tells TZR. “It’s definitely a dressed-down kind of feeling. A vest makes most outfits look casual and a little masculine.” Take style notes from Joos’ signature spin on the trend, injecting a little quirk to the retro look, with an of-the-moment shape emblazoned with a dopamine-inducing smiley icon. The outfit can be complemented with chunky, organically-made gold hoops and a white cowboy boots for an eclectic look.

Country Club Redux

All things country club have been seeing a revival, with golf dresses and pleated tennis skirts flooding our Instagram feeds. However, the iconic sweater vest still tops our list. To keep things from getting too literal, choose a sleeveless knit that has a pattern appeal. For a summery, raver-inspired look, pair your graphic vest with a white t-shirt and utility pants. For the ultimate summer style, add square-shaped pink sunnies and candy jewelry. Come fall, trade your short sleeve for a long-sleeve tee and don’t forget the kicks.

Fairisle & Fancy Free

The most well-known and iconic style in sweater vests is the argyle or Intarsia knit. These vests are no longer restricted to the classroom of prep schools. Be careful not to make a heritage piece too collegiate by adding modern elements. An unexpected color pairing, like fall’s must-have hot pink, will really amp up the cool factor this season. You can pair the item with a linen pleated pants in summer, but without an undershirt. Then switch to a corduroy bottom for cooler weather. For now, standout accessories like the plastic slide sandals are a great choice. A closed, cap-toe block heel is a good option for the autumnal mood.

Prep School Perfect

“I’ve always loved a bit of a boyish look, and sweater vests lend themselves perfectly,”Olson tells TZR “I love Alex Mill’s sweater vests. Somsack [Sikhounmuong, co-founder and creative director of Alex Mill], has an eye for the classics and always chooses the best fabrics.”Keep it simple and stick to the tried-and-true styles. You can choose a V-neck shape with or without buttons. For a throwback look that is straight out of John Hughes films, team it with your favorite high waisted, vintage-inspired jeans. To complete the menswear-inspired look, layer a crisp cotton button down underneath. To complete the look, you can add a Vans authentic sneaker. Opt for a Vans Authentic sneaker, another seasonless closet classic you’ll reach for time and again.

Sporty & Striped

You can channel a sportier vibe with a fitted, stretch-knit vest with graphic stripes and a downtown feel. The preppy staple of Khaki pants is back in style. They are now available in a relaxed, pleated fit that can be worn through the summer heat and transition easily to cooler months. You can wear this look bare-armed now or underneath a white tee. For later, add a wool coat topper in wool camel. For a modern look, use translucent red shades. ‘90s-inspired shape, lace-up kitten heels and a vibrant, knitted bag will add a bit more clout to your look.

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