Ah, the contentious vest.
I’ve oscillated on whether it is a style staple of the modern era or if it signals maître d’ vibes to the world that fried apps and cheap drinks are en route.
But that all changed one magical day as I pulled a cream vest from the racks of Express for a client. I was both suspicious and curious about the style possibilities it could offer. It would either elevate her style or appear as though she robbed Mr. Burns’s closet. You can assume the former happened as the next day I hopped online and purchased 2 vests to house in my own summer style arsenal.
What I love about summer is it’s a season of comfort and ease. Style choices are often made with functionality in mind - beat the heat and mitigate boob sweat – resulting in rompers, maxi dresses, shorts and cotton tanks on an endless loop. What I hate about summer is that it can enter the realm of too much functionality, resulting in all the soft textures and fabrics blending into one indistinguishable ball of aesthetically average comfort.
The creamy blazer vest is this season’s great style awakener. Pair it with any comfortable summer style staple and you will have brought elegance and structure to an otherwise ho-hum summer ensemble. Think of the vest as a blazer for the summer: it has the same crisp collar and lapel of a standard blazer, but it’s sleeveless offerings make it the ultimate partner in crime for summer time layers.
Vest Outfit #1: Sleeveless Bodycon Dress
The blazer vest is the perfect accompaniment to a vibrant and form fitting sheath or maxi dress. It’s neutral color offsets vibrant patterns and its tailored silhouette creates both structure and visual interest for maxis and sheath dresses alike. The one caveat here is that I recommend that you pick a sleeveless dress as a sleeved dress paired with the vest creates too much bulk for the summer time.
This is a layering staple that will make you want to retire your trusted and true jean jacket for the rest of the season. By pairing my form fitting sheath dress with a black sleeveless vest, I’ve created an additional vertical line that lengthens the frame while simultaneously providing a bit of structure.
Vest Outfit #2: Bodysuit + Jeans
Swap out your standard tee shirt this summer with a body suit and I promise you will save yourself time from the perennial huffing and puffing that comes from tucking and untucking your tees. The beauty of the body suit is that it sits like a thin swimsuit base layer and obeys your body. It will not move or bunch, and it provides and effortless seamless look.
I’ve paired my grey body suit with a pair of ripped flared jeans, a great style staple for the summer. But the white vest makes the simple ho-hum outfit pop by adding a longer layer that creates visual dimension. The beauty of white is that while it is technically considered a neutral, a brighter brilliant white like this one offers an unexpected “pop” of color.
Vest Outfit #3: Palazzo Pants + Bodysuit
I will never forsake my palazzo pants. I have had these bad boys since 2016 and the truth is, I’ll retire them when you pry them out of my cold dead hands.
For those who are unfamiliar, these pants are long pants cut with a loose, wide leg that occasionally flare out from the leg. Part of the draw of palazzo pants is that they border on the aesthetic and comfort of pajama bottoms. And while that felt rebellious and inventive in 2016, I was running out of ways to style them in in the past year that didn’t make me feel like I was about to embark on an awkward adult slumber party.
Admittedly, there is a lot of fabric going on in this ensemble. With the exaggerated volume of the pants coupled with the longer length of this vest, I needed to tread lightly as the wrong shoe or base layer could make me look like a small child who raided her mother’s closet. To offset the length and volume of this outfit, I have paired it with a set of black platforms to give me added height and a blue bodysuit to provide contrast to the volume and length of the vest and pants.
See My Vest (Not Made With Gorilla Chest Though)
With summer in full force, it’s only expected that you will be pulling every fun romper, tank, and maxi dress out of your closet that has been in hiding for the past year. Ultimately, some of those former beloved style staples will seem a bit more ho-hum and forgettable than you remember. So next time you are pondering your closet’s options, remember Mr. Burns’s song from 1995 The Simpsons and the let world see your vest - and your beloved items may all see a new day.
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