Looking Sharp in a Vest


For today’s Fashion Friday we are talking about a trend in men’s fashion that has made a strong come back in the past few years: the vest.

The suit vest has some very distinct characteristics.  For one, vests, are almost always full back, unlike the standard tuxedo vest which has an open back design.  They also have two main style options, being buttons and pockets.  They can come with as few as three buttons to as many as nine, although the standard for a men’s suit vest is five or six.  And also pockets, which can come in a rounded style or as welt pockets, which only show a fold of fabric at the opening.

You should never button the last button on a vest, sometimes you might opt to not button the last two, even if it’s casual wear.

The vest should fit snug but not so tight that it pulls the buttons apart. Too much material and you’ll look disheveled. Too tight and you’ll look like a sausage trying to break out of its casing.

A fun option is to wear a vest with an untucked shirt and lose tie. That’s a good look specially if the vest has design elements that set it apart from traditional suit vests, such as embroidery, or as in the case bellow, two row of buttons. Note that he has the bottom buttons fastened, but I think it’s because someone snapped the photo before a stylist could get to him.

Guys have you ventured out in wear a vest with an untucked shirt? Ladies, how do you feel about the resurgence of men’s vests?

  • Aah, Cathi. You're so kind. I almost believe you. 🙂

  • Rock the vest proudly!

  • 3rdangelsmsg

    I don't like the untucked shirt under vest thing. I think untucked is fine, but if you wear a vest, the shirt needs to be tucked in. It looks sloppy – unless you really are a Rock Star – then you can do it fine.

  • brandiandboys

    why didn't you use my husband as one of your examples… he rocks the vest! 🙂

  • Is it ok to post on opposite view point without seeming critical or a jerk?

    • Absolutely, different opinions is welcome. Being a jerk, however is up to you.

      • LOL, no intent on being a jerk. I truly love the fact that someone is putting these type of blog posts out there, they are helpful and refreshing.

        I am not a fan of vests or ties, my career in the creative field also encourages an anti-suit attitude. I have been stale in my attire lately. As a photographer and art director, black dominates my wardrobe. Heres where I have trouble and would love advice.

        I am deathly allergic to ties, suits, vests and slacks and the button-down is approaching that list as well. Hearing the phrase "every man should own a nice suit" is as foreign in thought to me as water is to oil, they just dont mix in my world.

        What advice would you have for someone fitting that description who needs to have a little more in his wardrobe other than his daily jeans and tee shirt?

        • Maurilio Amorim

          Chase, If you went through my close you’d find a bunch of different stuff: suits, ties, t-shirts, jeans, plaid shirts. It’s a basic free for all. I’d like to think of myself as a creative but I also like to wear what’s appropriate to the occasion. If I’m going to a wedding or funeral, I’ll wear a suit because that’s the appropriate wear. If I’m working with a more conservative client, I wear something that, while still my own style, it’s more appropriate to the meeting. What I don’t want is for my dress to stop me from getting a job or for my lack of understanding of the situation to cause people from dismissing me or what I have to say.

          While we shouldn’t be judged by what we wear, we still are. Every day. You can wish it were different all day long, but that’s just life. You need to own a suit and you need something more than just t-shirt.

        • I believe in wearing what's appropriate to the occasion. If I'm going to a wearing or funeral or formal affair, then I'm wearing a suit. If I'm visiting with creatives, I wear jeans and shirt, when running, I wear running gear and on the golf course, you get the picture. However I maintain my own style no matter what the occasion. I'm a fan of blacks and whites so a lot of my stuff reflects that.

          Also I don't want to be discounted by people who are going to hire me or I have to do business with because of the way I look. While I can say people shouldn't judge me by what I wear, I won't get anywhere. People judge you by what you wear everyday. I don't want to start at a disadvantage because I'm giving the wrong perception by the way I look .

          You can still be creative and wear something other than jeans and t-shirts. Be true to your own style.

          • Thanks for taking the time to reply.

            I agree with the dress for the occasion part, I do believe as a photographer I have won a few clients based on my attire setting the tone. I believe I may have lost one due to the same condition.

            While my wife says I do have my own style, I am always looking to refine and grow.

            Thanks again!

  • Thank you.

  • gregory

    need help on vests. where should the vest end? can it end above the waistline of my jeans? or must it touch the top of my jeans?

    • Ideally the vest rests on your waist which should be where your jeans also fit, unless you're wearing low profile jeans. The second picture from the top illustrates that. A slight shorter vest would be ok if you wear an untucked shirt underneath, otherwise, it will look too small on you.

  • Harlacan

    I like this looks with jeans and nice shirt. Any suggestions wear to buy vests? nn

    • Mikebobcatkelly

      I am by no means fat but Husky does come to mind. I find it difficult to find any quality vest for men that are not ‘skinny jeans’ thin

  • jose

    does it look bad if im not buff and im skinny ?

    • It only looks bad if the vest is too big on you. Most clothing are made for a slimmer frame and actually look better on skinny guys.

  • Steven Shantz

    I like wearing vests and do so with jeans, or dress pants. I’m not bold enough to wear them with my skirt tail out. I think I could pull it off if I were thiner.  I hope this style trend hangs around for a while. 

  • Tina

    I like them, but my hubby is a more casual person and wouldn’t like an extra piece to his suit as he doesn’t usually need to wear one anyway (plus he’s got some love handles and a small belly, so the look doesn’t always work for him).  We just attended a wedding where the groomsmen only wore vests and shirts with ties ( and of course pants ;0)   It looked casual for a wedding to me, but nice.

  • As a girl, I have to say my current favorite look on a guy is a dress shirt with or without rolled up sleeves, a tie and a vest, either with slacks or jeans. Love it!  Not so much into the untucked shirt thing though. It looks like the guy forgot what he was doing when he got dressed. 

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  • Louis

    What are your thoughts on wearing the vest completely open…?

    • That usually works only with a leather vest and gives that cowboy-like vibe. I would be careful and play safe otherwise.

  • drew

    you need to retake that bottom photo. the vest looks way to small. and the shirt looks odd.

  • Milek

    Hello! How can I find the suit? Can you tell me the brand, model or whatever culd help me? Please 🙂

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