Sweater vests could teach celebrity PR a thing or two about rebranding.
Slowly but surely, sweater vests have pulled off quite the comeback over the past few seasons. All the uptight, decidedly nerdy associations they used to have—think rigid private school dress codes and the Steve Urkels of '90s style—are distant memories. With runway endorsements from Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci, to name a small sample, and updated styling to reference, new sweater vests keep the nod to collegiate dressing without the square study requirements.
Thank the rise in strong menswear suiting and oversize everything for the sweater vest's unlikely—but widely embraced—return. "I think the androgynous three-pieces men’s tailoring trend has been the reason that the sweater vest has been gaining popularity," Mytheresa fashion buying director Tiffany Hsu tells Bazaar.com. "It’s super stylish and easy to pull off."
For a 2021 update, sweater vests lean on fresh prints and inventive layering; it's seasonal knitwear by way of Iris Apfel. Street style favored grandpa-chic knits in argyle, houndstooth, and more argyle, often on top of an oversize button-up, this past fashion month. (One style from The Garment was a favorite among Instagram influencers; naturally, it's long sold out.) There are more subdued sweater vests for the modest dressers among us, creamy cable knits and solid black button-up vests with an Oxford graduate bent.
Joining the sweater vest revival only takes one great piece. We've shopped some above and a few choice layers to help style them. "I would either wear a retro patterned vest over a shirt as a laying piece or an oversized one with some wide leg pants and nothing under," Hsu suggests. "Almost like a sweater but more chillaxed!"
Truly, the sweater vest has come full circle.
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