Monday, June 17, 2024

What to Consider When Choosing a Sweater Vest

Choosing the Right Sweater Vest for You

Melbourne Stylist Karinda Mutabazi gives us the low-down on what to think about before investing in a sweater vest. From the best type for your shape to styling options to look your best in one, here’s what she advises.

“The key factor to consider when investing in a vest is the neckline. Sweater vests are amazing layering pieces but if you choose the wrong neckline to compliment your shape they can end up leaving you looking frumpy and awkward.

The most universally flattering style is the V-neck sweater vest. It’s also the most versatile to pair with other items you most likely already have in your wardrobe.”

Tangerine V neck vest under pink suit

“Crew neck and and turtle neck sweater vests are a little harder to work into your existing wardrobe as the neckline can limit what can be worn underneath. These styles work better as a sleeker and more fitted option this providing you with a more flattering shape.

When choosing a vest think about how you want to wear it. This will determine what style is best for you. Are you using it as a relaxed oversized layering piece that can be paired with your favourite button-down? Or layered over a dress you already have in your wardrobe? Or is it the new wardrobe hero that you will build your outfit around?”



white Cricket vest

“The traditional preppy style cricket vest has withstood the test of time. It’s worn by the British upper classes and varsity Ivy League schools in the US and is defined by its v-neck and panelled cable knit detailing. It’s perfect for minimalists, as it’s most often found in light natural colours such as whites, oatmeals and creams. Often, it has a sporting look with a contrasting stripe trim. The traditional silhouette is longline which is flattering for most body shapes.

The V-neck is particularly good for those with a bigger bust. There are some amazing vintage finds for this style, with newer iterations also featuring cropped lengths, boxier fits and bright colour combinations. My go-to for this style is the E-Nolan cotton sweater vest. It’s a sleek, simple heritage design that sits perfectly over a collared shirt or dress. And it looks boss as hell when paired with a blazer either on its own or over a shirt or tee”


scene from Clueless showing red sweater vest

“Cult 90’s movie Clueless is also responsible for the resurgence of the fitted cropped vest, which comes in vivid block colours, classic argyle diamond prints and houndstooth. While there are so many brands doing modern remakes, they’re hard to miss and you might be lucky to find one of these styles in your local secondhand store.”

Ink and grey sweater vest with white shirt and pants
Lee Mathews

“These are usually worn over a tee or oversized collared shirt and paired with a straight/coloum leg pant (looks killer with leather and printed denim) or a mini skirt (check if you want to be era specific). The key for nailing this style is to make the vest the statement piece and build the rest of the outfit around it.”


Black sweater vest on the Copenhagen Fashion week runway
Copehagen Fashion Week

“…Then there’s the Scandi. The one with the oversized collar and the puffy sleeves in a delightful pastel hew. The vest for this style is a cropped boxy fit in vivid pastels or super cute graphic prints. Paired with other bright pastels this style is a perfect way to incorporate your favourite summer shirts and dresses into the winter season.

Layer your big collared or puffy sleeved wardrobe staple with a boxy knitted vest which lets you show off all the best design details for your favourite summer piece, while keeping you warm.”

red sweater vest with white puff sleeve shirt

“Let’s face it those sleeves aren’t going to fit underneath a jacket! Look to brands like Ganni for inspiration here. Aussie brand Blanca, Par Moi and Van der Kooji  provide the perfect base pieces. They can be layered with a sweater vest from Lee Matthews, or someone newer on the scene like recent RMIT graduate Phoebes Angels who’s swirly wool vest was made famous by NZ music star Benee.”

First Nations Fashion Design

Follow Karinda on Instagram

Note: Images have been added for illustration purposes but we acknowledge that they are not always an accurate reflection of Karinda’s points.

To see more ways to style a vest, go to: How to Style a Sweater Vest for Winter

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