The dressy Winter vest, sleeveless jacket, or “gilet” may seem like an impractical piece at first glance, but actually it can be very practical in certain situations. Here’s why. 

  • It adds lightweight layering interest to an outfit, which is ideal for mild Winter weather, when you run warm, or as we transition into Spring. 
  • It’s less formal than a sleeved jacket. 
  • It’s less constricting on the arms and shoulders than a sleeved jacket, making it extra comfortable for a broad-shouldered body. 
  • In most cases it can be layered under a Winter coat and feels less bulky on the arms. 
  • It’s more comfortable to wear in the office than a tailored jacket and looks just as pulled together. 
  • It’s generally more forgiving of lumpage and bumpage than a jacket. 
  • It feels less overwhelming at a maxi length or in a roomy silhouette than the jacket or sweater coat version with sleeves. 
  • The dressy wool Winter vest looks modern, fashionable and chic. 

I adore these dressy wool Winter vest outfits because they look tailored and pulled together, but with a good dose of relaxed comfort. 

#1 showcases a high-contrast wool vest over a column of colour, which is probably the easiest way to wear the item. A subtle nod to the ‘90s. Elegant bootcuts and turtleneck are the streamlining finishing touch. Think trousers or jeans. A matching bag and belt adds polish and texture. Feel free to swap out the turtleneck for a scoop, crew, boat or V-neck top.

#2 showcases a more casual rendition with skinnies, untucked sweater and wool vest worn with pumps and satchel. Again, feel free to swap out the turtleneck with a sweater that is more to your liking. Wear boots instead of pumps. What a great smart casual look. Simple drama.

VICTORIA VICTORIA BECKHAM Mid-rise Flared JeansALEXANDER WANG Wang 001 High-rise Skinny Jeans

#3 is a subtle nod to the ‘70s with flares, sleeveless pullover layered over a shirt, and topped with a roomy wool vest. Scrunched shirt sleeves add a causal touch, while the shoulder bag brings back the ladylike element. A fun high-contrast and more maximal rendition.

#4 has a Tomboy integrity. The oversized wool vest is a trendy addition to the sleek silhouette of the skinnies and loafers. The clutch adds a fun formal touch.

JCREW Collection Cora Boiled Wool GiletMICHAEL KORS COLLECTION Oversized Double-breasted Wool Vest

Yes, this look is fabulous on taller gals, but don’t be disheartened if you aren’t tall. Simply wear the vest a little shorter to balance out proportions. 

I’ve said it before, but I want to add a dressy and tailored gilet to my wardrobe because its casual elegance is appealing. My narrow shoulder line will make it a little trickier to find the right fit, but I’m sure I will find a fab one at some point.  I like renditions #1and #2 best here. How about you. Would you wear a dressy wool vest?