Sweater Vests & Ways to Style Them
There are a lot of fun trends this fall season; many of them seem to channel the 1970s to those of us who experienced that era! A surprising (to me) trend this season is the return of the sweater vest or knit vest.
I decided an exploration of the style was in order. The following plethora of photos (sorry in advance to overwhelm with the number of photos in this post) features several different sweater vest styles and a variety of ways to style them.
Classic Cable Knit Vest with a Color Twist
The first style, a classic cable knit vest, but in the not-classic color pink, is an easy way to transition to the sweater vest style. It’s a familiar look.
The two featured ways to style this vest aren’t hugely different from each other – one look has a tucked in t-shirt and the other shows the t-shirt hem below the vest. This simple difference gives each look a very different vibe – one fairly classic and the other a more modern take on the vest style.
It’s also fun to layer a jacket of almost any type over the sweater vest. Ditch the shirt underneath and simply go sleeveless.
You can find this vest, available in ten colors, at Amazon here – very budget friendly between $19.99 and $24.99 (depending on the color).
Cardigan Sweater Vest – A Little Preppy
I love this collegiate preppy look and the cardigan style of this sweater vest. Interestingly, this is a gender neutral vest.
I styled this look in the classic way, with a button shirt, and experimented with buttons undone as well as a few buttoned. I actually love the look!
This style vest could also work well with a long or short sleeve t-shirt under it; it would even look great with a tank.
This vest is from Nordstrom and, unfortunately, seems to be sold out in most sized, although I got it fairly recently. If you love it and want to check to see if it will be restocked, you can find it here. Originally priced at $59, it’s on sale now (if your size is available) for $23.60-$35.40 (probably depending on the size).
Cable Knit Oversize Sweater Vest
Here’s another classic cable knit vest style. This one is an oversize style, although the size I purchased fits more classically (click the link below to view the oversize fit).
I stuck with a classic styling with a button shirt underneath. With the fun (and so comfy) nubuck oxfords and a small cuff to the white jeans, the look takes on a trendy vibe.
The classic styling of this vest makes it pretty easy to transition into trying the sweater vest style.
The close up photo below shows the pattern detail.
This vest is found at Amazon for a budget-friendly $31.98. You can view it here in 11 colors.
Drop Sleeve Vest
This vest style is and extension of the traditional vest with a drop sleeve – something between the vest style that’s been around forever and a t-shirt sleeve. I’m a fan! This color isn’t one of my favorite go-to’s, but it’s in line with this fall season’s color palette (check out all of the seasons color in this post), and for that reason alone I kind like it.
This drop sleeve style is very versatile and looks very polished, whether it’s topping a classic shirt or blouse style or a long-sleeve tee with close fitting sleeves. And, even better, it smoothly transitions to a beautiful top without a shirt under it. It’s a sophisticated look.
This drop sleeve vest is available in three colors from Amazon for $39.90 here. The weight of the knit is substantial without being bulky. This one may be a keeper.
Sweater Vest with a Skirt
This skirt pairing isn’t a look I’d have come up with on my own. My prep for this post included consulting my favorite stylist – Google! Simply searching “sweater vest style” resulted in a lot of vest styles and outfits styled with vests.
Side note – there’s definitely a difference between how younger women (under 35) are styling the sweater vest look and how we amazing over 50 women will want to style them, which you’ll notice if you do a Google search for styling the sweater vest look. I’m going with the over 50 looks – which are very on-trend as well. Just different. If you want to see for yourself, check out the search here.
This vest below is a knit tank style. It’s easily worn with or without a shirt under it. It can work just as well as an office look and, depending on how you style it, a music festival or girls lunch date. Worn on its own, it has a fun boho vibe. Something as simple as a shoe style change can completely change the look and feeling of the outfit.
The colors in this look incorporate fall trending colors – a cross between Loden Frost (skirt) and Caramel Cafe (jacket).
The pattern in the vest is beautiful and shows a little better in the detail photo, although the low contrast of the pattern on white is a little challenging to show.
I purchased this Banana Republic vest in a retail store, and I can’t for the life of me find it online, although it’s a current piece from the store. There are some similar styles linked in the widget below.
Fringe Knit Vest
This last sweater or knit vest style is one of my favorites. It reminds me of a knit poncho I had in the 70s! This vest is a substantial one with enough weight to keep you warm on cool fall days. But it’s not bulky and can easily be styled with a shirt underneath.
I decided to try a deep contrast top in the first look. Not sure it’s the best look for the vest. I prefer the monochromatic look of the off white shirt under the knit. But it could definitely go either way. I didn’t try it without a shirt underneath, but if you click the image linked in the widget, below you’ll see it styled that way on the model. It’s a really pretty look.
This sweater vest is a bit of a commitment with a higher price than the others featured here. But because of its versatility, I think a case could be made for the purchase. Also, if it’s worn frequently, applying the cost-per-wear formula could help justify the $110 price (see the cost-per-wear formula in this post).
Are You Ready for Sweater Vest Season?
If you’re thinking of embracing the sweater vest style this fall and winter, I hope you’ve found some inspiration for a variety of ways the look can be worn.
Check out the links above for the specific sweater vests in the photos. Also, below are some styles I’ve curated from my some of my go-to retailers.