The casual vest is a great idea for three reasons. First, it’s an ideal warm weather layering piece. Vests are the breezier option when jackets make us overheat. Second, vests are less restrictive than jackets, allowing for more arm movement. And third, they look cheeky. 

Here’s a casual vest formula that you can probably pull together with existing pieces in your wardrobe. The only item that you might need to purchase is the vest itself. All three vests can be worn over each of the tops. And those combinations can be matched with any of the bottoms and pairs of shoes.

The components of the formula:

  • Vest: Think utility vests, moto vests and military vests. Wear them tailored or oversized. Light shade neutrals get my top vote because they look particularly good in warmer weather. I prefer this style of vest worn open, but that’s not a must. 
  • Layering Piece: Go dressy with a silky blouse, or choose an androgynous layer like a button down shirt. A pullover, turtleneck or tee, either fitted or slouchy, are other options. And layering a vest over a sheath dress works extremely well. Choose solids or patterns. Tuck, semi-tuck or untuck the top. 
  • Bottoms: Think pencil skirts, flared skirts, jeans, cropped pants, cigarette pants, slouchy pants and shorts. Choose a bottom that works with the top half of the outfit and add a belt if desired. Fit and flare dresses can work under vests too.
  • Footwear: Set the mood with the shoes. Pointy toe pumps for a dressy vibe. Ballet slippers for a trendy look. High tops for the sporty gal. Simple booties for the no-nonsense lass who gets cold feet. And lace-up buckled boots for the steampunk tomboy. 

Finish off the outfit with accessories and a bag of your choice. A messenger bag is fab, but not your only casual option. Sport a daytime clutch, hobo or satchel if that’s more your cup of tea. 

As with all of the formulas, it’s your job to substitute the items with ones that are in line with your style persona. I’ve stuck to a neutral palette with a few on trend pastels because the combination feels fresh for Spring. But by all means throw in brights, earth tones and jewel tones. Or keep the palette completely neutral. 

Vests are a high Summer item for us Seattleites. Often, we need a lightweight sleeved jacket in Summer because it doesn’t get all that hot around here. But I really like the idea of a white moto vest to wear with faded blue and white jeans. Wearing the moto over my frocks will spring a little life back into them. And wearing a warmer under layer is a toasty option. My mind is ticking as I pop a casual white vest on my Summer shopping list.