Not Your Uncle's Sweater Vest: How to Style Trendy Vests for the Winter
We love layering outfits, especially during colder times of the year. But a lot of the time, layering focuses on cardigans, jackets, coats and sweaters. Those are all cozy and stylish options, but what about vests?
These sleeveless styles often get the brush-off because of their associations with older or less-trendy styles, but the attire we have in mind is not your uncle's sweater vest. Instead, we've got suggestions for how to style trendy vests for the winter in all sorts of materials and prints. Check out our style tips for getting in on this rising trend to add a new layer to all your outfits.
How to Style Vests
Knowing how to wear a cardigan gets you a bit closer to knowing how to style vests, but you have a bit more freedom with the sleeveless style. Vests are a fun and stylish way to transition your summer clothes to fall and winter or add a light layer when it's not too cold. You can either wear sleeveless shirts under a vest or choose styles with flowy or statement sleeves to show off while still staying layered and warm.
Vests are also incredibly versatile, thanks to all the styles and materials that create the attire. Consider vests like these to match your style or try something new and trendy:
- Denim or floral vests work well in rustic and boho styles.
- A black vest adds a contemporary touch.
- A faux leather vest makes an outfit look edgy.
- Long vests keep you warm and add a chic element to your outfit.
- Matching your pants with your vest takes inspiration from menswear styles.
- A button-up vest on its own creates a dramatic look.
- A puffy winter vest keeps you warm without overheating.
A simple solid color vest is also an excellent staple piece to have in your closet, especially if your style changes from day to day. It matches with print dresses, casual jeans, tops and other styles you already have in your wardrobe. If you're still looking for certain styles and prints, there are plenty more trendy vests to try out for the winter or year-round.
Sweater Vest Outfits
Opt for cozy sweater material if you need to know how to wear a winter vest. Sweater vest outfits for women can either take inspiration from menswear or look flowy and feminine. No matter which you prefer, you've got a few options when it comes to sweater vest styles and how to wear them:
1. Classic Sweater Vests
When you hear "sweater vest," you may picture something on the less-trendy side, but the style has made a comeback. Sweater vest outfits for women elevate the look to chic, preppy or fun. A classic sweater vest is a bit different than other vests because you slip it over your head rather than unbuttoning and buttoning it. Slip into the classic style with one of these outfits:
- A classic option over a button-up shirt with stylish pants or a pencil skirt.
- A high-neck style sweater vest over a long sleeve shirt.
- An oversized, tunic-style vest over a white top and black bottoms.
Let the hem of the shirt under your sweater vest peak out, especially if it's a curved hem of a button-up shirt. This breaks up the colors of your outfit and adds a preppy touch. If you prefer a clean look, tuck in the shirt that's under your vest.
2. Open Sweater Vests
Some sweater vest styles are more like sleeveless cardigans, which work well with plenty of long sleeve styles in your closet. You can wear a looser top comfortably under an open vest, which isn't as possible with a classic sweater vest. Play around with the open alternative in outfits like these:
- Leggings, knee-high boots and a fitted top.
- Skinny jeans, a simple long-sleeve top and boots.
- A black dress, black leggings and black shoes.
Vests in any style are great for adding a touch of color to your outfit, and with a sweater version, you get the added benefit of warming up looks you couldn't otherwise wear when it's cold.
3. Button-Up Styles
A button-up sweater vest is a cross between the other two styles. It's easier to put on over your top since you can slip into it and choose whether or not you button it. You can then get an outfit that matches your personality and:
- Go simple over a button-up shirt for a menswear vibe.
- Choose an option with ruffles or similar details for a feminine touch.
- Button it up for a clean and professional look.
- Leave it unbuttoned for a casual vibe.
A button-up sweater vest is a great introduction to the style if you still aren't convinced that a classic sweater vest can be trendy and stylish — even though it totally can!
Fur Vest Outfits
If you want to know how to wear a winter vest with more bold flair, go with faux fur in your outfits. A fur vest adds more volume to the top of your look, so you can use it to help balance out your figure if you have more of a pear shape or to contrast outfits that are more fitted on the bottom with sleek pants, skinny jeans and skirts.
A faux fur vest typically comes in a solid and neutral color, like white, black, tan or brown. The colors may have some variation to them to mimic real fur, and other times, you'll find a fur vest with unique colors and patterns for a contemporary or abstract look. Here are some of our favorite ways for styling a fur vest in those and other styles:
1. Over a Jacket
Get creative by wearing a fur vest over your coat. It adds warmth and texture to your already cozy outfit, perfect for cold days or nights in the winter. Play around with the lengths of your outerwear to get different results:
- A shorter vest and long jacket look trendy.
- A long jacket and a longer vest look sleek and cozy.
- The same length in your coat and vest looks long and dramatic.
Layering a vest over a coat may seem odd at first, but once you try out the style, the sidewalk will become your runway as you flaunt such a bold yet warm look. For these styles, a sleek and longline coat, like a pea coat or other wool option, will fit best under your vest.
Wearing a vest over your jacket is also a convenient way to ensure you can wear your vest over your clothes once you reach your destination. Simply take off the outer layers and put your vest back on to maintain your style.
2. With a Dress
When styling a fur vest, don't forget about your more formal pieces. A simple dress stands out with fabulous layers, and a lush faux fur vest is among the most fabulous. Pair a fur vest with dresses like these:
- A jewel-tone, solid color dress with over the knee boots.
- A shift dress and booties for a boho and chic mix.
- A fitted dress, tights, boots and a statement necklace.
- A floral dress and booties to bring the print into the cold season.
- A maxi dress and heels for a dramatic touch.
3. Mixing Materials
While your faux fur vest is the statement of your outfit, don't be afraid to mix in other trendy textures that are more on the subtle side. Some stunning pairings with the material include:
- Faux leather for a shiny, contemporary contrast.
- Velvet to enhance the soft, luxurious feel.
- Lace for a chic and delicate contrast to heavy faux fur.
- Denim to help keep the look casual.
Incorporate these materials in through pants or dresses to help make your attire even more of a statement or balance out the fur. Wear a more simple top under the fur vest to let it and your other texture stand out instead of having every piece of your outfit compete for the spotlight.
Styling an Animal Print Vest
Wearing anything with animal print gives your look a statement piece. With an animal print vest, you get double the bold style. You're sure to stand out when styling an animal print vest, so try balancing the piece with styles like these:
1. With Neutrals
Pull a neutral color from the animal print or use one as a base for your animal print vest to stand out with. You can then wear any number of stunning styles, like:
- A black, white or tan dress.
- Black leggings and a black top.
- Black pants and a solid color, neutral top.
- Jeans and a black or other neutral top.
For your footwear, consider neutrals again. Try brown or taupe shoes if you're wearing black to add some contrast and pull colors from the animal print in your vest. Keep everything in your outfit from your shoes to your attire simple when styling an animal print vest. If you aren't one for simple styles, you could play around with animal print shoes or an animal print accessory to create a statement theme in your look.
2. With Some Color
Choose subtle colors to let the animal print be the statement of your attire while still adding in some personality. These colors are either in soft shades or tones that blend well with those in animal prints:
- A soft shade of green hints at the natural inspiration of animal prints.
- Burgundy adds a classy and elegant touch to the trendy print.
- Soft shades of pink contrast the wild look of animal print with a feminine touch.
- A golden-tone or mustard yellow reflects colors in a warm animal print, like leopard or cheetah.
Decide whether you want dramatic contrast or subtle touches and play around with colors in your wardrobe. Help more dramatic colors go with your animal print vest by using neutrals in other places of your outfit. Wear black pants and a solid color top under your vest or go even more subtle with a neutral outfit and color in your accessories.
3. With Something Casual
Jazz up your everyday outfit with an animal print vest, and show off your wild style with this simple yet eye-catching addition. Keep the colors above in mind and use them in more casual and relaxed styles like:
- Jeans and a casual top
- A casual dress
- Leggings and a fitted t-shirt
Thanks to your statement layering piece, you can stick with the basics in the rest of your outfit. Avoid clothing with ruffles, ties or flowy sleeves to make your animal print vest the main focus of your outfit.
If you like the idea of a pattern but aren't quite an animal print gal, get a more rugged effect with a camo vest. You can wear the same styles as you could with an animal print vest but in a more casual camo vest, if that's your style.
Plaid Vest Outfits
Plaid is one of the most timeless prints out there, and it's incredibly versatile. From professional glen plaid patterns to dramatic buffalo plaid, sweet gingham and check designs or classic, colorful plaid, you've got a lot to choose from for your plaid vest outfits:
1. Preppy and Cute
If you're wondering how to style vests for work, this could be your answer. Plaid prints already give a preppy touch to any outfit, but in a vest, the look gets even classier. Wear looks like these to the office or on days when you're feeling classy:
- A cropped and fitted style over a button-up shirt, under a blazer and with stylish pants.
- A solid color top, a pencil skirt, heels and a cool tone plaid vest.
- A looser vest unbuttoned with matching pants and a white blouse.
Plaid vest outfits often take inspiration from menswear and feminize it in some way. From ruffles to looser styles, certain accents will balance out the look of masculine pieces and create amazing combinations, or you can lean into the masculine style and rock some suit vibes.
2. Combining Patterns and Prints
Mixing prints may sound like a fashion no-no, but it's actually a trendy style. When you use multiple patterns in your plaid vest outfits, keep the pattern up top and wear jeans or a solid neutral bottom, so you don't overwhelm yourself with prints like these:
- Stripes: A long sleeve shirt with a white base and colored stripes that pull an accent from your plaid vest looks cute and cozy. The lines of the stripes and the plaid complement each other rather than clashing.
- Plaid: Yes, plaid on plaid can be stylish. While you could choose the same color and style of plaid, you can also get a little funky. Wear a fitted flannel in one style and color of plaid with a buffalo plaid vest for some fun contrast.
- Graphic prints: If mixing patterns isn't your style, try a graphic print tee with your plaid vest. A vintage tee adds a retro look while animal motifs evoke the wilderness when paired with plaid.
Not into mixing patterns or prints? Rock a plaid vest outfit with a solid color base, leaning towards neutrals or an accent color in the plaid.
3. Holiday and Winter Styles
Certain colors in plaid will give a holiday feel, perfect for early in the winter season. Get a signature outfit with a comfy and trendy vest that you can wear when the holiday season rolls around. See how to wear a winter vest and get festive with styles like:
- A turtleneck in black or a color that matches the plaid
- A black sweater dress
- A black top and white pants
In red and green plaid, these outfits are ready for winter holidays, but in different colors, they capture the vest trend in cozy looks all winter long.
Shop Trendy Vests With Perfectly Priscilla
If we've convinced you that vests have made a style comeback, find your perfect style with us. At Perfectly Priscilla, we have fashionable plus-size options in sizes 10 through 26 and styles you won't find anywhere else.
Browse our fashionable vest styles to enhance your winter wardrobe! While you're at it, be sure to check out our dresses, tops and bottoms that will help you create amazing outfits with your new vests. Give this trend a chance with help from us at Perfectly Priscilla!