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How To Wear a Vest: Conquer the Cold in Style

The vest is perhaps the most underrated article of men's clothing. It's stylish, versatile, and you never know how practical it is until you begin wearing one. As the temperatures drop, dressing in layers becomes a necessity for your comfort and wellbeing.
Including a vest into your regular clothing during the colder months will keep you warm, comfortable, and give you tons of styling options depending on the occasion. The vest is made for layering and done well it will surely leave you staying warm and looking cool this winter.

Is a Vest the Same Thing as a Waistcoat?

Before going any further it's important to note the difference between a vest and a waistcoat. The article of clothing addressed in this article is the vest: a piece of outerwear layered over some clothes and under others in order to provide warmth without compromising mobility.
A waistcoat is what you'd find as part of a three-piece suit. A waistcoat may also be referred to as a vest, but the outerwear vest wouldn't be referred to as a waistcoat.

Warmth Without Constriction of Movement

One reason the vest is perfect for layering is that it adds a warm layer without restricting the movement of the arms. You can wear a long sleeve, a sweater, and a jacket all at once and be warm, but you might not be all that comfortable.
You won't have this problem with a vest. The vest will regulate your body's temperature by keeping the core body temperature warm while at the same time allowing for freedom of arm movements.
This advantage of the vest makes it a popular choice for golfers who are going out for a round on a cold day. The vest is sure to keep you warm without getting in the way of your swing. It should have pockets for your tees as well.
For the same reason, a vest is also a great option for running in cold weather, biking, skiing, or any cold-weather activity that requires you to move about freely.

Which Vest Do I Wear and What Do I Wear it With? 

To get the most out of your vest, choose a solid color vest without a ton of unnecessary pockets or zippers. A solid navy or black vest will work with just about anything. You'll want a vest that is sure to keep you warm, so choose one that is insulated, but at the same time not too puffy. Puffy vests are not the most flattering or versatile.
Once you have your vest, you just piece together the rest of your outfit one piece at a time. Since the vest is the focal point, it's helpful to start with what you'll be layering your vest with.
Here are some outfit ideas to get you going.

With a Flannel

Wear a vest over a flannel to achieve a classic outdoorsmen's style. Complete the look with jeans and boots.
The vest is a practical layer to have on while you go hiking, fishing, chopping wood, or sitting by the campfire. Even if you do none of those things, the look works just as well for getting groceries or going to the pharmacy. You'll still look like you know how to start a fire.

With a Henley 

A vest with a henley is a casual yet sophisticated look. Just about everyone does a shirt and jacket; the henley and vest are just as simple yet not quite as common. Zip your vest down a quarter of the way to let the buttons of your henley shirt peek out.
This shows sophistication and attention to detail without showing off at all. Finish off the outfit with a pair of smart pants and sneakers and you're ready for a fun day off, whatever the plan may be.

Under a Jacket

Yes, a vest is technically outerwear, but you pull off some vests as mid-layers as well. This tends to work best if the vest is not too puffy. The best part about wearing a vest under your jacket is that while you get the extra layer and warmth from the vest, your arms can slide right into your jacket without sleeves getting bunched up or filled out the way they often do while wearing multiple layers.
A chore jacket, denim jacket, or overcoat are all nice options to put on over your vest. Wear your jacket open to show off your vest and to avoid a bulky torso look if your vest does happen to be on the puffier side.

With a Hoodie 

The vest and hoodie combination goes together seamlessly. Pair together a vest and hoodie of different colors to create a classic color-blocked look. For example, if you put a grey hoodie together with a navy vest, you'll have a grey hood and sleeves and a navy torso. This creates a sporty, street-inspired look that will have you ready for the cold weather and any rain that may come along with it.
To add an additional element to this combination, replace the pullover hoodie with a zippered one. Unzip your jacket and vest and you now have three layers working together effortlessly. Pair together with jeans for a relaxed style or cargo pants for a more tactical look.

With a Button Down 

Wear your vest over a button-down for a smart-casual look. A solid color vest will go easily with a solid button-down, but it also allows room to try different patterned shirts if you so choose. Either way, you'll look sharp and professional while keeping warm.
Push this combination to the next level by adding a tie in the mix. A shirt and tie tucked into a vest is a contemporary play of the waistcoat that is at the same time more fashionable and more practical. Comfortable chinos and Chelsea boots will complete this modern professional look with ease.

With a Denim Shirt 

A denim shirt is a great base layer to wear under your vest. Denim shirts are usually heavier in nature and will feel natural with the weight of the vest. This pairing will create a workwear style that will go well with cargo pants, work pants, or jeans. You could also try it out with sweatpants to create a juxtaposition between materials and a more casual look. Wear lace-up boots or sneakers to complete the outfit.

With Shorts 

There are a few scenarios where rocking a vest with shorts is a good idea. One of them is long summer nights outside. You've just spent the day in shorts and a jacket might not be necessary; your vest could be the perfect option to keep your core body temperature up as the night gets darker and the stars shine brighter.
Shorts and vests don't usually go together unless you're exercising. A vest is a must-have item for winter exercise, as it will keep you warm while you move without getting in the way or feeling uncomfortable while you move your arms. You might also try adding leggings to your vest and shorts look. Coordinate the colors of your vest and shorts, as well as your leggings and long sleeve shirt, to create dynamic and uniform layering.

With a Polo 

The vest and polo combination is suited well for the golf course but can be worn off the green as well. Choose a polo with fitted sleeves, as this will be the most figure-flattering.
If you don't feel comfortable with fitted shirts, know that the vest will be covering up most of the shirt anyways. That's why it works well to choose a fitted polo to pair with a vest because it will bring out the strength in your arms without having to worry about how the fitted shirt might fit around your torso.

Is the Vest the Most Underrated Piece of Clothing?

It's hard to say. For one, it's hard to measure. But it really depends on the situation, because it certainly wouldn't be underrated if you were standing out in the cold without one. Don't let that happen to you. It also wouldn't be underrated when people start telling you how great you look in your vest.
The vest is the perfect piece of clothing to keep you warm and stylish this winter. You'll find many different ways to wear it and many occasions to wear it too. Chances are, once you see how versatile, stylish, and practical it is, you'll find reasons to wear it even after winter is long over with.
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