After sifting through all the latest campaign images and lookbooks that have landed on my desk recently, I suddenly realised that we have never covered men’s vest in any sort of detail. They are prominent in all of the high street lookbooks I have received for the upcoming spring/summer 2012 season, and really this article stemmed from my own curiosity of what our audience thinks about the humble vest; an item that has seen its emphasis increasingly move from underwear to acceptable casual attire.
Now let me be the first to say that I own some vests. They are great to work out in due to the increased range of motion offered and they also offer great comfort as loungewear. Mine are of the fitted, timeless variety (black, greys and white) and they didn’t cost the earth. However, I have never opted to use one within a casual outfit – even on holiday.
Now this is purely down to my personal preference. I tend to look at vests as a sloppy option; they don’t have the same lines and often the same fit as their t-shirt counterpart. I have also seen more than enough men’s nipples due to the latest trend of hideously deep racer back vests – it seems these monstrosities have taken over where the deep scoop neck tee left off during the autumn/winter season. You might be proud of your bodies guys, but have some sort of respect.
On the other hand, you might be reading this and already utilise vests within your outfits on an almost daily basis during the warmer months, either as a layering piece or as a statement in its own right. Indeed, I have seen a lot of stylish males rock a vest with ease – creating effortlessly cool looks for festivals, hot sunny days and the like – complete with their dignity/modesty intact.
I truly beleive there is no right or wrong opinion in fashion. So for those of you who are interested in how to pull off a vest correctly, I want to explore the ways you can wear one before we get everyone’s thoughts on whether they are a classic menswear staple, or something that should be banished from any modern wardrobe.
There are two pretty clear cut ways of utilising a vest: As a layering piece, or on its own as a statement.
As a layering piece, the vest offers near similar versatility you would expect from a t-shirt. Underneath knitwear, a blazer, jacket or even a shirt it is hard for others to distinguish whether you are actually wearing a vest or a tee. Of course, the major benefit of opting for a vest over a tee comes from its sleeveless construction. It is going to be cooler to wear by its very nature and will not generate as much warmth as a tee – perfect if you want to create layered looks during spring/summer without them becoming uncomfortable.
Wearing a vest on its own is always going to create a statement. They are still not seen as often as t-shirts, so you will stand out just by wearing one. For example, you could wear a plain vest with some chinos and will probably stand out more than the guy next to you with the printed shirt on. With this in mind, the only way to wear a vest is with confidence. Please note that I don’t mean arrogance or “look how sexy my body is” – this can quickly make you seem like a bit of a dick. Matt already distinguished the difference between boyish confidence and manly confidence in his article last week, so make sure you take note.
In terms of design, you are not limited to plain vests. Plain versions work very well as basic layering pieces, but if you are going to make a statement by wearing a vest, why not opt for something with a pattern, a bold colour or even a graphic? Prints are obviously a major trend this season, and there has been a wide variety of printed vests released to compliment the vast t-shirt range on offer.
The lookbook above generally showcases how to wear a vest on its own. As previously mentioned, it is extremely difficult to distinguish between a vest and a tee once they are layered in an outfit, so treat them the same way you would your t-shirt collection in that respect. Below are a few key principles to bear in mind when using a vest in your looks this year:
The vest is an item that will polarise opinion. Some love the casual, relaxed nature of the garment that makes them comfortable to wear even in extreme heat, whilst others may consider them sloppy and no match for the t-shirt. However, with seemingly more varieties released than ever before, is the vest becoming a viable option to the modern male who craves something different within his casual outfits; something that will make him stand out from the crowd?
I want to know your thoughts on the vest:
Let me know your opinion in the comments section below…
As this article is over a year old, the comments are now closed.
If you have a specific question about one of the points raised in the article, why not join our free fashion & style forum and start a thread? The FashionBeans community will always do their best to help you out, and our writers also frequent the forums regularly.
Alternatively, you can get in touch with us on our contact us page.