It’s a vest to people in the US, but a waistcoat or gilet to some of us who grew up in other parts of the world. To me a vest is an undergarment like a camisole, and not a sleeveless jacket. I’ll stick to “vests” to keep things simple, but whatever you call them, they are on trend for Summer. 

Summer vests come in all sorts of silhouettes, fabrications, weights, lengths, colours and fits. They can be dressy or casual. Rigid or soft. Heavy or lightweight. The photos here show a pretty good assortment of styles that can work in Summer. There are ultra breezy, soft crocheted and silk versions that are super casual and bohemian. There are moto styles, tuxedo styles with low stances, and classic suit style waistcoats for a more androgynous vibe. There are denim and utility styles with lots of pockets. And avant-garde silhouettes that are knee-length with either flowing and soft, or angular and stiff, voluminous drape. 

The fashion forward vests are oversized, like the denim vest that the Zara model is wearing. Fluid fit vests, like most of the other examples below, are very on trend. The fitted vest, although not as fashionable at the moment, is still in style.

You can wear most of these vests open for a ventilating and relaxed vibe, and to accentuate its fluid fit. Occasionally you’ll come across one that looks best buttoned or zipped up, like the Kenneth Cole Luna Vest, which is also fab. 

Vests are extremely useful for four reasons:

  1. They add outfit interest because they function like a jacket. 
  2. They are THE hot weather jacket solution because they allow you to wear a third piece without overheating. 
  3. They provide effective outfit structure. 
  4. They camouflage muffin top. 

Most of the photos here show a vest layered over a sleeveless top, and yes, that’s a fashionable way of wearing them. But it’s not the only way. By all means wear them over sleeved tops with trousers, skirts, jeans and shorts. They look fabulous over dresses too. 

I don’t own any vests because when I wear a jacket, I usually need sleeves for warmth. And since I wear toppers so frequently in Seattle, I celebrate the times when I can leave one off. I lived in a warmer climate in the ‘90s and wore dressy longer tunic vests to work quite often, and usually over a sleeveless or short sleeved top. I also wore lace vests and pinstripe suit vests. Fun over a sheath dress. 

Over to you. What’s your take on the Summer vest?

Sanctuary City Faux Leather Moto VestRubbish Pointelle VestKenneth Cole New York Luna Vest

Eileen Fisher Shawl Collar Long VestBop Basics The Finance VestRag & Bone/JEAN The Burney VestMadewell Modern Safari Vest

Zara Loose Fitting Sequinned WaistcoatZara Studio Loose Fit WaistcoatZara Oversized Denim Vest

Victoria Beckham Sleeveless Coat Vest