The Best Ways to Wear a Vest

a man wearing a vest

A man wearing a vest | Source: iStock

A vest never ceases to go out of style, whether it’s part of a three-piece-suit or separate, it’s a piece that constantly reinvents itself. Vests have been a fixed part of men’s suits for centuries, but it wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that they truly became a part of casual men’s fashion, completely separate of men’s businesswear. When styling your vest with a casual bottom, which is the best way to rock this awesome piece by the way, keep in mind that the vest is the main attraction, so you want to make sure the fit is perfect. There are a few things you want to remember when it comes to the right fit: The vest should fit snug, but not too snug, and the sides should reach to about your belt loop. The best way to find your perfect fit may be to go into your favorite store and try it on to ensure it falls just right — don’t settle for anything less. Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, it’s time to follow our guidelines on how to rock a vest like a badass.

Think about buying a separate or a single piece

If we were to take a guess, you probably don’t own a three-piece-suit, which commonly includes a pair of trousers, suit jacket, and a waistcoat or vest, that can always be added or removed from the equation, and made from the same material and lining. Waistcoats tend to add character to your basic two-piece suit. Your options for waistcoat styles, as they accompany the two-piece suit are ones with a matching fabric that can take your look to a step below evening wear, or a contrasting odd vest that can make a drab looking suit much more lively. To be technical with its definition, an odd vest and suit, which is defined as a waistcoat that is made from a different fabric than the jacket and trouser, is not a true three-piece suit. But we’re only interested in the vest here.

Consider designs and textures 

Your choices include purchasing a three-piece suit or purchasing a casual vest separate. Either or are completely acceptable though for the purposes of looking casual cool, choose a vest with an interesting texture or neutral subtle pattern so you can give yourself a range of options for pairings.

Grab yourself a pair of your favorite jeans

Our favorite casual vest pairing option is with a pair of your favorite slim fitting jeans in a medium to darker wash to exude that smart casual look. Once you go lighter in your wash, you risk looking too casual and the pairing just feels off. Make sure your jeans are tailored to right below the ankle so you can give yourself shoe options from loafers to boots. When you’re wearing a piece that is considered a formalwear staple, it’s important to keep your look streamlined, well tailored, and well put together. The versatility of jeans will help you nail this look.

Give yourself some shirt options

a man wearing a vest

A man wearing a vest | Source: iStock

We recommend sticking to only two different types of shirts to pair with your vests: oxford/dress shirts and plain T-shirts. They each separately exude a different look and style for your vest pairing.

Consider accessories — it’s all in the details 

No matter how you’re pairing yours, it’s good fashion sense to leave the bottom button of the vest undone. Though there are various theories as to why this is done, it’s become customary, no matter your size, to wear the bottom button of the vest open. Since you’re wearing yours casually, there are other accessories that you should also consider: a tie and belt. The tie choice is up to you, but feel free to wear a textured wool or woven tie plain or patterned. Try and avoid too formal looking of a tie, and be sure to think about where you’ll be wearing your outfit to. As for a belt, while a black leather belt is always a great option, a tan leather belt exudes more of a casual feel and allows you to play around more with the way you style your vest and jean combo. Though if you’re going for an all-black or black and grey look, a black belt is better suited.

Pair your vest with jeans

It’s time to piece this pairing together. As we previously mentioned, when your vest is paired with the right accessories and attitude, it can be suitable to wear almost anywhere. Here are some styling options:

  • Take it from He Spoke Style and pair a dark brown one with a baby blue color oxford shirt (unbuttoned), a pair of straight fitted medium-dark wash jeans, and a vintage style perforated belt, finished off with sockless tan suede loafers.
  • Consider a similar pairing with a crisp white shirt.
  • If you’re feeling very casual, try a pinstripe vest with a white V-neck tee and jeans in a slim fitted darker wash for a casual, playful look. Finish it off with a pair of suede loafers or minimal white leather trainers.
  • If you’re set on wearing a tie, pair your vest with a fitted oxford, slender tie, and dark wash jeans to wear for a night out.

Or if you’re set on chinos…

  • Wear a neutral wool striped vest, with a rolled-up sleeve oxford (buttons open in front), a pair of blue chinos, a suede tan braided belt, and finish off with suede loafers.
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