You know the look. It's 1977, Diane Keaton anxiously murmurs her iconic line, "La-di-da, la-di-da, la la" and is shuffling around in, unbeknownst to everyone, what would ultimately become one of the most beloved costume design moments of all time: a waistcoat layered over a dotted suit tie, white button-down shirt, and wide-leg khakis — all topped off with a black felt hat. The vest trend is arguably the signature piece in this memorable on-screen ensemble and it's served as a point of reference for designers over the last 40-plus years who see the appeal in waistcoats. "Diane Keaton in Annie Hall is as good as it gets," Alex Mill Co-founder and Creative Director Somsack Sikounmoung tells TZR. "That was definitely a source of inspiration for us this summer."
Though waistcoats have ebbed and flowed in the trend cycle over the years, their 2021 revival feels fresh and easy to wear in the summer, particularly those crafted from breathable textiles. "Our summer [waistcoats] are made from linen, which look even better a little rumpled and lived in; a white linen vest is a pretty timeless look," Sikounmoung says. His rules for a well-designed vest involve two key factors: fabric (as mentioned above) and fit. "You want the proportions to be just right so that around the ribs and in the front it isn't too baggy."
When it comes to ways to wear the vest, Sikounmoung leans toward the old-school menswear angle. "Wear it either as part of a three-piece casual suit or on its own with jeans, it is such a versatile and cool piece to have," he says. " It can either be paired with a t-shirt underneath or just on its own and you can add a matching jacket over the top if it gets cold." Ahead, a few polished summer outfits centered around waistcoats and a handful of shopping options to incorporate the vest trend in your own warm-weather work wardrobe.
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The New Matching Set
Swap out your blazer and slacks for a waistcoat and trousers for a summer-appropriate take on suiting. If you like, opt for a set in a bright color, like pale pink.
Though fall suiting typically involves heavy fabrics and plaid patterns, embrace the summer spirit and go for a waistcoat in a brighter hue. Toss on a neutral blazer and finish with accessories like a woven bag for the perfect summer office outfit.
There’s something enduringly chic about an all-black outfit in the summer, especially when it’s a matching vest and slacks combo. If you’re not feeling noir, another solid color should do just fine.
Keep It Short
Another strong take on the vest trend is pairing it with shorts, particularly if they come in a matching color or print. Toss a blazer over your shoulders and accessorize with loafers to make it office appropriate.
An all-white outfit will forever be a staple of summer style; translate this timeless look to the vest trend for a reliably fresh ensemble you can wear to work, on the weekend, and just about everywhere else.