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6 Ways to Wear a Solid Vest

We Americans call them vests, the lovely Brits call them waistcoats. I call them one of my favorite wardrobe pieces. Vests can look great. You just have to know how to wear them! They need to look like they’re tailor made, just like any well-fitting blazer. The waist of the vest looks better when it fits snugly. Seriously, there’s kind of an art to choosing the right vest. It can’t be too short where it makes the body look like the waist is too high (hence the name: waistcoat. It sits on the waist!)  It can’t be too long as to drown out the figure. It can’t be too loose as to hide the waist and the arm holes can’t be too big. The neckline shouldn’t be too high up either.  But when you’ve found the perfect fitting waistcoat, it’s very figure flattering. It’s worth the hunt for the perfect fit and perfect length.

This is an example of a vest that is too big on the mannequin:


Gone are the days where only men wear them under suits. Now-a-days, they can be worn casually over tees and tank tops, even dresses.

The memorable Napoleon Dynamite in his waistcoat:

Check out these five looks:

1. Over a tank top. Over pants

When worn with a tank top, I like only a little bit of the tank top peaking up from the chest and the rest of it peaking out from the bottom. I don’t like the tank top peaking out from the sides too much or at all under the armpit. To avoid this happening, make sure the arm holes are not too low. Here is Vanessa Hudgens doing the look right:

And another one:

Similar look by cover girl Avril Lavigne:

Here’s a denim one worn by Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively on set:

Here’s an example of the look done wrong. Notice how her tank top straps are showing. The straps of her waistcoat also looks funny because they sit too far out on her shoulders. It would also look more chic if there were less buttons and the neckline went lower.

2. With a dress:

Mischa Barton looks cute in this spring dress and light denim vest:

I love the hippie, vintage look of a short dress with 3/4th sleeves and a solid vest. Check out this one from Sally Jane Vintage:

Diane Von Furstenberg, one of my favorite designers showcases the look in her Fall 2008 Collection. She even adds in a skinny belt! This look is perfect:

Diane Von Furstenberg vest and dress

Diane Von Furstenberg vest and dress

Just make sure the vest is big enough! Not like this:

3. With a blouse or shirt

I like this look with a solid colored blouse or shirt. Here’s Fergie with a gray shirt:

Or, the vest opened, revealing a cool print t-shirt like this:

Here’s one with a white long sleeve shirt worn by Mischa Barton on the set of the OC:

And another one with a white blouse:

And I love Drew Barrymore’s outfit in Music and Lyrics:

And who can forget Carrie Bradshaw’s pink pinstripe shirt with a white waistcoat?

Again, just make sure it isn’t too short like this one:

And make sure you look proportional. If you have too much of your shirt showing on the bottom, it looks funny. Sorry Mandy Moore, I’m not a fan of this look:

And please, no shiny satin fabrics! And if your vest has a collar, please don’t get a vest that has anything that pokes out like bat wings! Check it out:

4. As a “suspender vest”

This is basically some kind of mix between a vest and suspenders. I’m sure there’s an actual name for it but for our purposes, I’m calling it a suspender vest. This kind of vest looks great with pencil skirts. It’s a kind of vest that sits below the chest instead of on the chest and the top looks like suspenders.

Here’s an example:

5. With a cool hat

I HEART hats. I mean it’s up there with chocolate! My favorite hats are slouchy berets, but to wear with a vest, I love newsboy caps and Gatsby hats. (which I call London caps or grandpa hats)

Me with a Grandpa hat (Gatsby hat):

My musician friend, Melissa Polinar, (check her out!) shares my love of hats! Here she is with a London cap (Newsboy cap):

Check out this girl’s outfit! Pairing one of these two types of hats with a solid vest is bloody brilliant!

I also like the look of a Fedora with a solid vest.

6. As a top by itself with wide legged pants or relaxed low rider jeans

The secret to pulling this look off is to make sure you don’t choose a vest that looks slutty. It should be well fitting, but you shouldn’t show too much midriff or cleavage, plus you must make sure the arm holes don’t go too low, showing your bra. You can make this look classy. Check out Victoria Beckam:

Here’s Jessica Alba from the movie Honey:

And here’s Kate Hudson donning a white waistcoat with jeans:

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  1. MW

    i am so loving this website…its completely wat ive been searching for

  2. MidoriLei

    Thanksk MW! Let me know if there is anything you want me to write on!:)

  3. LuckyMe

    This was the most absolutely helpful (and entertaining!!) information I’ve found on how to wear a vest online. What are your thoughts on neck scarves?

  4. MidoriLei

    Oh I LOVE neck scarves…. great idea for a future post! Keep a look out!

  5. BB

    I’m also loving this website. VERY helpful!

  6. Shai

    i really want the suspender vest do you all know where i can get one please rigfht me back

  7. MidoriLei

    darn shai, sorry I don’t know where to get one:(

  8. Axeline

    Great blog, i dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. I thought I would leave my first comment

  9. Bedava K?yafet oyunu oyna

    Thank you for this great article. Waiting for more. bye bye.

  10. Becca

    Urghhhhhhhh I have huge boobs and the vest do not look flattering on me. I thing they are so cute tho

  11. Kurgu Oyunlari

    Great Share Unfortunately I can’t open images of your blog in using IE 6 browser…

  12. kassiddie arcand

    hello i just love this web sit and all the clothes youve done and put on here i am very most delightly aubered 🙂 thanks and talk to you later

  13. MidoriLei

    thank you kassiddie arcand! You have a beautiful name!

  14. Pingback: Day #3 « Sew Me Up

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