We give these outfits an A+
In the Venn diagram of the '90s redux, the return of prep, and the tenniscore trend, one clothing item stands alone at the center: the sweater vest. Beloved by everyone from sitcom dads to hip-hop icons to Emma Chamberlain, the sweater vest has vast appeal. And although it has slipped in and out of style for decades, if you're wondering whether sweater vests are cool at the moment, the answer would be a definitive yes. The piece is firmly back in the fashion zeitgeist, and was seen in collections from Gucci to Ganni — not to mention on street style stars everywhere.
Now, if you're questioning just what to wear with a sweater vest, we don't blame you. There are a few elements to consider, from what top to layer underneath (if any), to what bottoms you pair with it. But you'll be happy to know the piece is much more versatile than you might have thought, and the options are nearly endless. What was once considered "geek chic" is now just "chic" — think slouchy, skater-inspired outfits, matching sets, cozy layered looks, and more.
Ahead, we've rounded up 14 ways to wear the sweater vest this fall, for every occasion and aesthetic.
With a Denim Skirt
'90s prints feel right at home with another signature piece from the decade, the denim maxiskirt. Layer the vest over a thin turtleneck for a sleek appearance, as well as a bit of added warmth as the weather gets chillier.
Over a T-Shirt
Also straight out of the '90s? A button-down sweater vest layered on top of a T-shirt. But when paired with It pieces like barrel-leg jeans, printed heels, and a micro bag, the outfit feels modern, not dated.
Slouchy and Cool
It can be tempting to pair a roomier sweater vest with more fitted bottoms, but you don't necessarily need to. Lean into the silhouette with baggy jeans, a loose-fitting tee, and sneakers or loafers for optimal ease.
With All Knitwear
For all the cozy vibes, pair a cropped argyle sweater vest with an oversized cardigan and bodycon knit skirt. And don't worry about print overload; as fashion editor and stylist Gabriella Karefa-Johnson demonstrates here, mixing prints keeps the look unexpectedly fresh and fun.
With a Satin Skirt
On the other hand, you can also play with styling opposing textures, like cableknit and satin. Wear your sweater vest with a silk skirt for a juxtaposition that feels equally at home at a fancy event as it does at brunch.
Open Over a Button-Down
Instead of wearing a buttoned-up vest snugly layered with another top, you can wear it loosely for a more relaxed look. With this outfit, the vest adds a down-to-earth quality to an otherwise crisp button-down shirt, jeans, and heels outfit.
With a Printed Dress
A sweater vest over a dress is easy enough. But if you're nervous about pairing a loud color with an even louder print, don't be; the solid color actually helps temper the pattern in the dress.
Keep the pieces in the same color family for a tonal vibe, or go for contrasting hues to make an even bigger statement.
With Printed Pants
It's no secret we're fans of a party pant around here, and that love applies to a sweater vest outfit as well. Teaming a whimsical pant style with a more subdued vest and a basic button-down creates balance, as does adding accessories with a similar color story.
In Classic Black and White
Black and white is a good way to dip your toes into any trend, this one very much included. Sure, the color palette may be simple, but it never misses. A white vest with black bottoms is easy and classic, but a black vest with white pants would be just as cool.
In a Novelty Print
Of course, sweater vests can come in every color of the rainbow, but there is a whole world of fun prints to explore too. If a statement style is outside of your comfort zone, you can always pair it back to jeans or black pants to let the top shine.
With a Tennis Skirt
The sweater vest's academic energy feels right at home with other sporty pieces like the tennis skirt. To keep the look from feeling like it won't work outside of a country club, style it with unexpected footwear like heels and knee-high socks, or even lug-sole boots.
With a Sequin Skirt
Like a satin skirt, a sequin piece can take just about anything into evening hours. We love the casual-meets-fancy pairing of a sweater vest and a paillette-covered skirt (and yes, you can wear it for a daytime event as well).
With Patchwork Jeans
Patchwork denim and sweater vests are similarly laid-back, and therefore look just right when worn together. That being said, we recommend keeping the vest on the simpler side to avoid overwhelming the patchwork details.
With a Matching Skirt
Fear not: The matching set trend doesn't exclude sweater vests. Pair your coordinating knits with accessories that stand out against the fabric, such as spangly jewelry and rubber rain boots.
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