This "Ugly" Spring Fashion Trend Is Quietly Taking Over

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Up until high school, I wore a uniform everyday: a crisp white polo, sweater vest, and a plaid skirt or khakis. I envied my friends at the nearby public school who had the freedom to wake up every morning and wear whatever they wanted. But looking back at my required ensemble, I'm surprised to find myself now wanting to recreate the look I spent so much of my childhood hating. How could I have predicted that the sweater vest trend would be actually cool as an adult? With the return of so many '90s and early-'00s trends, I'm navigating how to make things I wore decades ago work as an adult.

"Vests in general are really in right now, Paris-based influencer Maria Bernad tells TZR. "At the same time, sweater vests [have a] vintage aesthetic, which is also a trend at the moment." If you need further proof the sleeveless knit is fashion-approved, look to luxury powerhouses like Prada, Gucci, and Dior — all of whom included styles in Fall/Winter 2020 collections. Thanks to intricate patterns and oversized silhouettes, these luxe sweater vests feel especially modern. And emerging label Kenneth Ize showed fitted, abstract printed vests styled with contrasting stripes (below).

Kenneth Ize Fall/Winter 2020. Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

And contemporary brands are getting in on the sweater vest craze, too. If there's a sign that a trend is one the rise, its when a piece from Fashion girl-favorite The Frankie Shop immediately sells out. Though it just released a chunky, oversized cable knit silhouette in its fall arrivals, the piece is already out of stock. Not to worry though, you can opt to get notified when it's back. Plus, there are a few other styles still available to grab.

While you wait for The Frankie Shop's chunky vest to be restocked, check out Alexa Chung's equally cool interpretation of the knit. The Cropped Jacquard-Knit Vest is part of the label's Suburban Punk collection, an ode to the British punk scene. Thanks to the brand's signature cool girl styling, the 2020 iteration of the sweater vest no longer feels like something you'd find in prep-school hallways or in your dad’s closet.

If you want to steer clear of a look that feels overly stuffy, take styling notes from Bernad. "I love them worn with a button-down shirt with a print or stripes combined, or with a turtleneck in any color when it's a bit colder."

Below, find nine sweater vest outfits to recreate this season. Not to fret: You won't look like an elementary school girl.

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Sweater Vest Outfit: Over Your Pajamas

Who says pajamas can't be worn outdoors? All you need is a cozy sweater vest over on top and no one will know you haven't changed out of your PJs yet.

Sweater Vest Outfit: Match Your Shoes

For a cohesive look, try matching your knit to your shoes. Keep the remainder of your outfit in the same neutral color palette, or incorporate a fall-approved hue like orange or purple.

Sweater Vest Outfit: Stick To Just Two Colors

Nothing feels quite put together like a monochromatic outfits. Instead of opting for all white or black, try out a vivid color like purple. For added fun, throw in another bold hue through your accessories.

Sweater Vest Outfit: Transitional Look

Keep in mind that summer doesn't official end until September 22, so you have time to keep wearing your favorite denim shorts. Transition the bottom into fall with an abstract sweater vest. When the chilly weather arrives, throw a long sleeve tee under your vest and you're set.

Sweater Vest Outfit: Upgrade A Minimalist Uniform

Spice up a short sleeve tee and khaki combination by throwing a sweater vest into the equation. It will keep you warm while adding texture. Throw on some colorful jewelry for an exciting finish.

Sweater Vest Outfit: Pair With Your Bermuda Shorts

Found: the perfect September outfit. When the temps are in the '60s pair your summery bermuda shorts and classic white tee with a loud sweater vest.

Sweater Vest Outfit: Incorporate Color

Incorporating a few vibrant hues in your ensemble is an instant mood lifter. But if you're more of a neutral type of gal, couple a colorful knit with denim.

Sweater Vest Outfit: Childhood Memories

Reminiscing on the good old days? Sport a kid like sweater vest and a beaded necklace with your name on it and you'll almost feel like a child again.

Sweater Vest Outfit: Neutral Color Palette

Want to ease into the trend? Pair a cream sweater vest with a white long sleeve. And keep the remainder of your look around the same beige color palette for a polished approach.

This story was originally published on Jan. 16, 2020.

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