Most stylish sweater vests to consider during fickle temperatures and how to style them.
sweater vest trend
Sweater vests sometimes get a bad rap for being dowdy, unsightly, and dad-like. For some reason, even though the dadcore trend has taken off over the last few years, the humble sweater vest remains largely associated with golfing, academia, or something your grandfather might wear.
But lately, A-listers like Bella Hadid, Emma Chamberlain, and Kendall Jenner are challenging that notion, proudly sporting the garment in public (and looking quite chic while doing so). What’s more, the sweater vest has made recent appearances on the runways—Prada, Saint Laurent, Gucci, to name a few.
how to style a sweater vest
So, let’s start taking the sweater vest seriously. When layered over, say, a crisp, white button up, it can look delightfully preppy. When worn solo, it can be trendy, cute, and even a little sexy (who knew?). But the real draw is its remarkable ability to keep you cool and warm simultaneously.
In other words, the sweater vest is the answer to fickle weather—you know, the kind that can’t make up its damn mind—and we say that’s reason enough to start stocking your wardrobe with sweater vests (and let go of any long-held beliefs that they’re frumpy).
Below, shop 14 of our favorite sweater vests on the market, from argyle prints and sequined embellishments to oversized silhouettes and cozy cashmere.
OUR TOP PICKS
We love the thoughtful, unique touches on this piece, designed by Aisling Camp, a sustainability-focused knitwear designer from Trinidad. The roomy silhouette allows for a comfortable, slightly oversized fit, while the brown leather trim around the neck adds intrigue. We like this with a relaxed trouser and a cool bag for a day of gallery-hopping or lounging seaside.
If you don’t already have a basic, good-quality sweater vest in your wardrobe, here’s a great option. A deep V-neck and relaxed silhouette makes this piece feel casual, but the super-soft cashmere and chic ribbed trimming gives it a slightly dressier touch. We like this ivory number layered or worn solo; either way, you really can’t go wrong.
The retro plaid pattern is just too good, and the slightly cropped fit prevents it from looking a little too vintage-y (read: stuffy). We’d wear this sweater vest layered over a white button-up or worn solo with a pair of denim and some loafers. Regardless, it’s a solid option to take on a trip that’ll involve breezy lunches and casual strolls through interesting little villages.
When the weather is in that fickle, transitory stage (first you’re cold, then you’re hot), reach for a roomy, cable knit sweater vest, like this slate-gray option from Frame. It’s an especially good option if you’re visiting somewhere where the temperatures dip significantly at night—you’ll get extra warmth from the turtleneck while letting your arms breathe.
Crochet pieces can sometimes feel like you’re wearing your grandmother’s quilt, but this sweater vest is a sure exception. Made from 100% organic cotton, this fun green and white option has an asymmetrical pattern that’s sure to be a talking point wherever you go. The tight, cropped fit makes it a winner for high-waisted bottoms be it a tennis skirt, trousers, or denim. While it can work layered, we prefer letting this one shine on its own.
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Sometimes, you’re just in the mood for a comfy, knit sweater, but fall can put a wrench in that idea as it’s occasionally too hot for one. Enter: This basic, black sweater vest. The long silhouette gives you that comfortability you’re craving, while the lack of sleeves, slit at the bottom, and soft knit material prevents it from feeling too cloying. We like this to wear in transit or on a trip that requires easy, non-fussy (but still polished) pieces.
If you’ve never considered incorporating the color yellow into your wardrobe, an easy way to try it out is with this simple V-neck knit vest. The softness of the shade makes it an ideal top to pair with anything from a patterned skirt to a dressy pant in white, beige, or black (and gold jewelry would make for a great accent). We’d sport this top somewhere where you want to look a bit dressier during the daytime.
As it turns out, an argyle sweater vest can be sexy. A cropped, boxy silhouette is key, as is a universally flattering color palette. A flared mini skirt would really take this look to the next level, but your favorite pair of denim will work just as well (and feel slightly less school girl-like). It’s great for a casual day of sightseeing or a leisurely afternoon drink.
We’re simply obsessed with this chocolate-brown mohair sweater vest. The price is steep, sure, but think of all the times you’ve yearned to wear a sweater to a ritzier outing only to ditch the idea in fear of appearing sloppy. A sexy cropped fit and sequin embellishments give you that dressier element you crave without compromising on comfort. Pair it with a leather pant or a slinky skirt for rooftop cocktails after you’ve put the kids to bed.
This one already gets our vote due to the cashmere material (so, so soft), but the extra-deep V-neck really takes the cake. We’d pair this with a crisp white blouse for instant sleekness, especially if you’re visiting a moodier city like London or Seattle. A black leather pant and loafers or a pleated skirt and knee-length boots simply feel right with this piece.
We’re drawn to the interesting stitching on this otherwise average sweater vest. Visible pink and gray threads add intrigue and artsiness while providing a welcome contrast to the stark red color. We’d wear this one in a city like Oaxaca or Madrid, where liveliness and vibrancy rule the streets (and the clothing).
You can’t beat the price of this supremely soft sweater vest (it’s made from a blend of cotton). The ribbed hem and interesting pattern is cute but not childish, and the dreamy blue shade would work exceptionally well with a stark white trouser or skirt. On days when you can’t be fussed but still want to look stylish, this is a solid option.
There’s nothing snoozy about this sweater vest. A deliberately shredded hemline feels effortlessly cool, and the mishmash of colorful Fair Isle patterns (at different angles and turned inside out) makes for a garment that feels more like a piece of art than a simple top. Consider this piece if you’re traveling somewhere that calls for mingling with an artsier crowd—you’ll fit in seamlessly.
We love this baby-pink sweater vest for its delicate pointelle pattern and irresistible cashmere material. It’s feminine and sweet at its core, but when it’s paired with a distressed pair of denim or wide-leg black trousers, it’s got a little more edge. We’d wear this somewhere that’s got a beachier, more relaxed vibe (and chilly breezes), as it strikes just the right balance between cute and cozy.
If you’re becoming bored of your rotating selection of dresses, simply throw a sweater vest on top of one to add an extra layer of warmth (and a little jolt of style). Bonus points if you mix interesting patterns and bold colors together. Have fun with it—the world is your oyster.
Sweater vests are both functional and stylish. In addition to providing warmth and coziness, they come in a range of colors, fits, silhouettes, and patterns to suit any taste (and budget). Even better? They play well with others — try layering one over a top or dress — but they really shine when worn solo.
Feeling stuck or uninspired when it comes to styling a sweater vest? Consider the below pieces to pair with yours — sartorial creativity will be flowing in no time.
Sweater VEST OUTfIT
How to style a sweater vest.
Balance out—or amplify—the intrinsic sexiness of a black leather midi skirt with a sweater vest. We like a boxy, cropped fit worn solo, though a roomier silhouette thrown over a white blouse would provide a nice proportional contrast. Print-wise, argyle feels refined (and right).
Loafers, if you haven’t heard, are back and they just so happen to complement sweater vests exceptionally well. A chunkier platform with a bit of a heel is our personal preference, though a classic penny loafer still feels chic. Try it with a cropped jean or a mini skirt for a collegiate feel.
For a look that feels comfortable but polished, pair your sweater vest with a wide-leg trouser (ideally in neutral beige) as it’ll give you that relaxed, model-off-duty vibe that we all tend to crave. A sweater vest with a colorful print or pattern is an easy way to add a little oomph to the look, but any kind will do.
Listen, no one wants to look as if they’re trying to relive their Catholic school days, but TBH, there’s just no better match than a sweater vest and a mini skirt. We like this white pleated version that sits just below the waist; an oversized cable knit sweater vest worn over a fitted blouse would really balance things out.
For a no-fuss look that still feels stylish, wear your sweater vest—any kind will do—though we’re partial to something colorful with interesting textural elements and paired with your favorite jeans. High-waisted denim with a slightly flared leg feels retro in the best way, especially with an argyle sweater vest worn solo.
In lieu of buying a brand new dress, consider simply throwing a sweater vest over yours. It’s a style hack that’ll save you time and money, and you’ll look like street style fodder. This move works best with a white button-down dress (it should resemble a lengthier version of your favorite white blouse), as it provides the ideal canvas for your favorite sweater vest. The best part? It adds a layer of warmth.
For a runway-ready feel, opt for a pair of platform heels in a fun shade like metallic gold. Adding calf-length socks to the equation feels trendy, plus they’ll keep your feet warm. We like a mini skirt here for leg-lengthening purposes; a roomy sweater vest in cashmere or wool would really complete the look.
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