Style

Is a vest the one new piece you need this season?

The must-have men’s and women’s styles, and how to wear them now.

The must-have men’s and women’s styles, and how to wear them now

(Credit, left: Robert Kamau/GC Images; right: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Vests might just be one of the sleeper fashion trends of the new decade, and we're not just talking sporty puffer or fleece vests and tailored waistcoats worn with 3-piece suits (although those are back, too!). Tailored and knitted vests alike appeared on the Spring/Summer 2020 runways at Max Mara, Burberry and 3.1 Phillip Lim during fashion week. 

Proving it's not a trend that's limited to womenswear either, in recent months, both musician Harry Styles and actor Timothée Chalamet have been spotted in stylish vests. 

Still, it can be a tricky trend to pull off successfully — with the wrong fit or styling, it's too easy to feel corporate or even a bit dorky in the most stylish of designs. But a garment that looks practically vintage on the rack could be made perfectly on-trend as part of the right outfit, or when worn with ample confidence. 

Inspired by a few great street style looks spotted on fashion insiders and influencers, here are four stylish ways to wear the trend in 2020.   

The patterned knit

Whether you go for a geometric pattern or something abstract, a thick, patterned knit vest is a must have for both men and women this season. A looser, heavier style will look great solo or worn over a short sleeved t-shirt, whereas anything more fitted or fine, especially for women, is best layered over a sheer or flowy blouse. 

Closed Jacquard Vest, $148, Schad

Munthe Argygle Metallic Jacquard-Knit Tank, about $261, Net-a-Porter

Acne Studios Slim-Fit Fair Isle Jacquard Sweater Vest, about $490 (on sale for $196), Mr Porter

The tailored vest

It's hard to go wrong with a well-fitting, classic 3-piece pantsuit, especially for men. But the oft-ignored waistcoat is making a strong comeback for women's suiting as well as everyday layering of late. Wear yours with mis-matched separates or unexpectedly casual jersey and denim pieces for a look that's just slightly irreverent. 

Plaid Stretch-Wool Vest, $1,150 (on sale for $345), Michael Kors Collection

Ponte Knit Contemporary Fit Vest, $89.95, Le Chateau 

The soloist

If wearing a fitted vest over a dress shirt or even t-shirt feels too constricting (or old school) to you, how about rocking a well-tailored one solo? In this case, the fit has to be perfect, and we would recommend completing the look with a great pair of wide-leg trousers. And ideally, you would want to find a style that works solo, but still would look great under a favourite blazer or jacket. 

Smythe Wool-Blend Waistcoat Vest, $395, Holt Renfrew

Double Breasted Vest, $160 (on sale for $48), Hilary MacMillan

The utilitarian 

For a few seasons now, the multi-pocketed fishing vest has made an appearance in several men's streetwear collections. Now, sports, workwear and military-inspired versions for men and women are becoming fashionable amongst trendsetters in a certain demographic. Wear yours with a light coloured knit for everyday adventures, or over tailored blazer for an interesting layered look. 

Corduroy Vest 5083, $98, Oak + Fort

Vest with Pockets, $49.99 (on sale for $29.99), Zara


Truc Nguyen is a Toronto-based writer, editor and stylist. Follow her at @trucnguyen.

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