With all the buzz around boxy blazers, statement suiting, and leather jackets lately, a less conspicuous trend may have escaped your notice. Yes, vests are fall 2019's most underrated trend. The piece has long been a staple of menswear and private school garmenture, but moved into trendier territory the second half of the 20th century. There was '70s fringe, sporty puffers of the '80s, and the grungy, oversize denim of the '90s; the early to mid-aughts brought us shrunken waistcoats worn alone as tops or layered over tanks — a look pioneered by Kate Moss at the time. Though the vest has taken a backseat to other statement outerwear, the sleeveless silhouette is making its way back onto the scene this season.
September's street style was a lesson in styling this staple for transitional weather. Now, you can get creative with the layering techniques, putting it underneath a sport coat or over sleek suiting, or you opt for a style that’s tiny and tailored and wear it with nothing underneath. Today’s trendsetters are also testing of-the-moment styling tricks, wearing a longline waistcoat mostly unfastened as is popular with button-downs right now, or choosing a boxy vest instead of an oversized blazer as part of a casual suiting look. Keep scrolling to see these and more outfit ideas in action, plus shop the pieces to recreate each look.
Tailored Menswear Vest + Relaxed Trousers
A little tailored vest can double as a top. Make it a menswear moment and pair a suiting-style silhouette in a classic plaid or tweed fabric with some sturdy, slouchy pants and slick leather loafers or brogues.
Boxy Waistcoat + Romantic Dress
Boxy blazers are all the rage, and their sleeveless cousins are a notable alternative. Balance a masculine, oversized shape on top by layering over something romantic on bottom. A long embroidered lace dress juxtaposed with the intentionally-too-big vest makes for a cool contrast.
Sporty Puffer + Sleek Suiting
A puffer vest is perfect for these brisk autumn days when the weather isn’t quite cold enough for your full puff, but you could still use a little extra insulation. If the sporty, outdoorsy vibe isn’t your thing, wear a quilted down gilet over streamlined suit separates to create a surprisingly modern look.
Sleek White Gilet + All Black
Keep it sleek in the most classic combo known to man: black and white. A snow-colored waistcoat with clean lines, worn belted over a fitted base layer with a mid-length black skirt — minimalist monochrome never looked so fresh.
Longline Vest + Statement Pants
You can think of this ensemble as a crossover with the unbuttoned shirt trend that’s so popular right now. Choose a longline vest and leave all but the top button undone so the hem creates a sort of frame at the waist, showcasing a pair of luxe, statement print trousers.
Utility Vest + Classic Mini + Combat Boots
When you’re a little bit preppy, but also a little bit rebellious, create a punk-inspired schoolgirl uniform that suits both sides. A crisp oxford shirt and neat wool mini are classic through and through, while a structured utility vest and super-chunky lug-sole boots speak to your wayward sensibilities.
Duster-Style Gilet + Wide-Leg Trousers
Not all vests need be cropped and fitted or boxy and waist-length. Add a dramatic flair to your autumn wardrobe with a sweeping duster style that extends to at least the mid-calf. Wear it with flowing trousers for even more elegance and movement.
Colorful Shrunken Vest + Coordinating Pants
A shrunken waistcoat plus trousers in a single color is your new formula for vibrant power suiting. Select a shade that matches your mood, be it a bold sunshine yellow or a sweet powder pink, and pare back the other aspects of your ‘fit (e.g. silhouette, details, accessories, etc.) so the hue is the focal point.
Leather Waistcoat + Blazer + Jeans
Put a casual spin on the three-piece suit for a laid back approach to the vest trend. Your set will consist of a boxy blazer, a petite leather gilet (for textural contrast), and some unfussy vintage jeans.