Style experts share their advice for making this menswear-inspired classic feel current.
Remember in 2013 when the pinnacle of fashion was incorporating business casual pieces, like printed trousers and button-down blouses, into our everyday wardrobes? We look back on it now with some confusion, but the truth is that workwear has always found its way back to the closets of style influencers for everyday style moments. The present-day version of this? The suiting vest trend.
Typically associated with menswear, this garment has become the chosen fundamental wardrobe staple of beloved Pinterest board muses, from Selena Gomez to Matilda Djerf. Those embracing its 2022 renaissance are doing so by finding balance in style: You could pair it with a mini skirt and go for a classically "Gossip Girl" ensemble, or with oversized trousers to emulate the often relaxed- yet-sharp-looking nature of a retro suit. The beauty of this basic is that there's no right or wrong way to wear it.
"There's something alluring about having to put no effort into a really impressive outfit," says Eliza Huber, a fashion editor at Who What Wear. "People are looking for ways to still feel the ease that comes with sweatpants and T-shirts through just as comfortable and effortless everyday pieces."
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According to Somsack Sikhounmuong, Creative Director of Alex Mill, there's a desire on the part of consumers for a more gender-neutral approach to styling, which feeds into the suiting vest's resurgence. "Menswear for women is a style preference that can be found throughout our collections, from boyish suits and oversized button-downs designed specifically for women or styling men's pieces on women — which is also how our customers have always shopped with us," he says.
Prior to this most recent comeback, the suiting vest trend made mainstream waves in the '80s and '90s, sported by the likes of Kate Moss and Julia Roberts, two pioneers of incorporating menswear into their wardrobes. (See: Roberts' love for suits.) When Alex Mill launched its first vest as part of a three-piece suit in 2020, the look wasn't merely a trend, Sikhounmuong argues, but rather "a classic that's timeless and forever stylish."
If you're looking to incorporate vests into your outfit rotation, keep reading for tips and tricks on finding the styling that will work best for you.
Lean into the retro vibe
Since the trend has been in the spotlight before, there are so many reference photos from the past that can offer inspiration. Huber recommends "keeping [the styling] simple" with something retro — i.e. sneakers or a vintage jacket — to play up the old-school vibes of the vest.
Wear it solo
In many ways, the suit vest serves as an alternative to a sleeveless top — so why not sub it in for a basic tank? Wear a vest as-is, with nothing underneath, to keep cool and chic. Alternatively, leave it unbuttoned with a sleek bralette peaking through for an edgier effect.
Layer for the season
A great thing about the suiting vest is its versatility, especially as the weather changes. A vest can be absolutely perfect on its own in the summer, and it can also be layered with just about anything — over and under — when it's cold. Sikhounmuong advises wearing it over a turtleneck with a matching blazer atop. Other options for keeping warm include styling them with "a lightweight, tailored blouse underneath or a T-shirt, with the vest unbuttoned," Huber recommends.
Shop our picks for suiting options, ranging from casual to professional, in the gallery below.
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