Dappered Classics – The Rules for Sweater Vests

Dappered Classics – The Rules for Sweater Vests

The Rules for Sweater Vests – (above) J. Crew Merino Solid Vest $49.50

Originally Published 8/10/2010

The sweater vest is loved by some (my hand is raised) and hated by many (probably most of you).  Like a lot of things that are polarizing, this is the case because it’s almost always worn the wrong way.  It’s high time some rules were laid down, and the sweater vest once again regained it’s rightful place in the pantheon of cool clothes next to the Leather Jacket and Levi’s 501.

Okay, that’s a stretch, but… it’s time to remove it from the nerd pile.  Here’s the guidelines…

1. Keep it Slim – The quickest way to go from sleek and athletic to Wilford Brimley is by wearing a vest that’s not fitted.  Only buy vests that fit close to your body and don’t produce fabric love handles.  If it’s even the slightest bit baggy at the sides, don’t buy it.  Two of the best fitted sweater vests out there are the J. Crew Merino Wool (seen above), and the Banana Republic silk/cotton/cashmere blend.

2. Keep it Simple - Avoid busy patterns on the sweater.  No fair isle or anything similar.  Dark and solid is best, and if you want to mix in patterns do it with the shirt that you’re wearing under it.

3. Layer Up – Think you’re done with just a shirt and the vest?  Consider a tie, then a blazer too.  Fitted sweater vests are a super light layer that’ll slide well between you and a jacket.

4. Favor Jeans – You don’t have to wear chinos.  Try those already mentioned 501s with some boots.

5. Never wear it with short sleeves - You aren’t Justin Timberlake.  Wear a long sleeved shirt underneath.  Rolled up sleeves are more than okay (see above) but a short sleeved shirt and vest just looks too hip for the room.

(Time to take a vote.  Thumbs up or thumbs down on the sweater vest, taking into consideration those rules)

Banana Republic at ShopStyle