How to buy a vest: that often overlooked, yet very practical piece of men’s style

By on November 9th, 2018

The vest. A staple of menswear for a long time. Yet today, it’s more often than not considered overdressed. But don’t discount the humble vest as being too dressy.

For a lot of guys, vests are synonymous with weddings. Probably because the last time they wore a vest was when they were a groomsman and wore a waistcoat under a tuxedo. But these vests had a bright lining on the back.

If you were to wear one of these flashy vests to your office, then yes, you’re probably coming off a little bit too festive for the circumstances. While it’s true that vests are commonplace in black tie attire (an alternative to the cummerbund), there are certainly more casual vests out there.

For example, consider the one in the image above.

The plaid pattern makes it less dressy than something in a dark solid, don’t you think? The notched lapel, even more so.

In fact, not many vests have a lapel, but as you can see, it’s a fun look. This lapel should be slightly narrower than the lapel on your suit jacket. This way, should you ever wear your jacket over the vest, the proportions will play well together.

Also, just like so many of our fun suit jackets, you can choose a unique lining:

a white paisley lining inside a vest

But what I like most about vests isn’t so much the details, but the sheer practicality of the garment: warmth and fit.

A vest is obviously one more layer, so yes, it will keep you that much warmer. Factor in a thicker fabric like a tweed or flannel and you have yourself the beginnings of a great winter vest. For the same reasons that puffy down vests are popular in Denver, your work vest will keep your core warm, while giving you freedom of movement in the arms.

Regarding fit, the back strap is the perfect way to tighten or loosen your vest for a perfect fit. Tighten when you want a more fitted look and loosen when seated for prolonged periods of time or after a big lunch meeting.

how to buy a vest with a backstrap

Note that the vest in the image above is what we call a “cloth back.” Meaning that the back of the vest is made in the same cloth as the front. In direct comparison to that wedding vest you have probably worn.

The cloth back vest is definitely suitable for the office and makes for an all around versatile pick. When your colleagues take off their suit jackets to work at their desks, you’ll still be a little more dressed up while wearing a vest.

Just don’t forget to leave that bottom button left unbuttoned :).

last vest button should be left unbuttoned