The three-piece suit isn’t much of a staple item in the closets of many Fashionistos. The reality is that unless a wedding, fancy soiree or ball are to be attended, there is just no need for it. Most guys also like to think that the vest is forever united with the blazer. (“I now pronounce thee suit and blazer,” said the tailor.) In other words, if the vest came with the suit, it will be worn with the suit and only the suit. Well here’s the truth: vests are not inseparable from suits. The vest or waistcoat can stand alone (although not alone entirely) and can be used to complement many looks from casual to classy and elegant.
This week’s Fashionisto took a very relaxed approach to the vest. On top, he wore a red tartan plaid button-up, with the sleeves rolled up right below the elbow, which he layered with an ash gray striped vest. His teal chino pants provided a nice contrast against his red button-up, which leads us to suspect that this Fashionisto paid a great deal of attention in art class, applying his knowledge of complementary colors to his style. Simple square-framed sunglasses are perfect to keep the sun’s rays at bay. Subtle jewelry, such as his silver necklace with an anchor pendant, are always a nice complement to any ensemble.
The vest is indeed a great investment; it can be paired with matching trousers and a skinny tie when the occasion calls or on a day when you need to give your go-to blazer a much needed break. The great thing about this vest is that you can find them at almost every outfitter, with the choice of purchasing them without a coordinating blazer. Grays, blues, blacks and browns are typically safe colors, and twill, cotton and wool never fail. To recreate this Fashionisto’s casual take on the vest, start with a button-up shirt, plain or patterned, with the sleeves rolled up. To lessen the seriousness of the look, layer with a solid-colored vest and pair it with camel-colored chino pants. (ASOS is a great resource for finding all of these items.) Finish off the look with canvas sneakers and sunglasses!
HINT: I strongly discourage wearing a vest by itself. While I can appreciate the simplicity, this can make your outfit look thrown together at the last minute and unplanned, as if you’ve forgotten to wear a shirt, and devastatingly messy and Jersey Shore-ish. It's also best to stay away from loud or oddly-patterned vests when wearing it sans blazer, as it can resemble grandpa’s golfing outfit.