Vests: free-wheeling bohemian, ironic-dignified hipster, or the most fashion-savvy in the boardroom? A good vest can suit any and all of those characters (although I may have a bone to pick with the obvious faux-professor look). I consider the vest less of a garment and more of an accessory – you just throw one on and it instantly makes the outfit. The choice fall vests – which is the ideal time to wear them, or else you’re hiding them under coats or adding an unnecessary layer in summer heat – have the added benefit of keeping you warm while letting your arms swing freely. A vest over jeans and flats embodies a carefree spirit; for work, a collared vest is strictly professional, but the relaxed feel will in turn relax your mood. Either way, with this touch you’ve turned pants and a top into a bona fide ensemble.
1) Bottega Veneta Oversized Twill Vest: The cut of a traditional blazer with a hint of tuxedo formality (double-breasted buttons look irreverent and chic when they’re undone). It’s the substantial length that gives it a modern twist. On Net-a-Porter for $1,800.
2) state & lake Clancy Vest: Long and lean, this rayon vest is full of movement. Plentiful fringe makes the day, and bonus: it doesn’t matter what you wear under it! On ShopBop for $220.
3) Diane von Furstenberg Harrington Belted Vest: Touchable boiled wool in a warm pumpkin color is the answer to slight chills. A tight cinch of the sash, and this will brighten your day and unify your look. On ShopBop for $545.
4) St. John Collection Double Face Vest: I have never fancied myself a St. John fan – the label is so mature, not even Angelina Jolie could turn it around. But wear this angora blend vest with casual ease and the voluminous ruffles are totally hip. At Nordstrom for $795.
5) Elizabeth and James Leather Tie Vest: My favorite vest of the bunch. Perfect draping and a strong leather belt: this is unstructured yet polished. It proves that the focal point of your look can be truly effortless. At Nordstrom for $325.