An Style Endorsement: The Vest

Vests are far more indispensable than some guys give them credit for. Granted, up until recently the vest has seen better days--looking at you, magicians and mustachioed mixologists--the down-feather (or puffer) version has also recently seen a resurgence as a staple in modern winter menswear. It’s not just casual wear either, the addition of a vest to a suit has become a killer power move that can take your suited look into baller status.

To vest, or not to vest, that is the question (well, for now at least), here’s a few reasons why it’s a good move...

Fit Is Key (as always)
A mantra that you’ll hear more often than not around these parts, nailing down a trim, but not tight, fit with your vest will yield the best results. The trick is to find a size that fits closer to the body, but still leaves you room to add layers underneath, all the while avoiding looking like a bulletproof-vested 50 Cent. It also helps to find down vests that have lighter fills, too. Not only will you feel less weighed down, but less condensed fillings tend to hold heat more, which is the point, right? When considering a suiting vest, an ideal option will offer and adjustable rear strap for the perfect dialed in look. When worn under a suit, the vest should fit quite close to the body, otherwise you risk looking sloppy.

Get Casual...
A puffer or lined nylon vest is a great casual option with nearly everything. It’s ease and comfort make it ideal for a variety of looks and changing temperatures. It’s the perfect top layer in a solid casual layering routine. Trying to perfect the relaxed weekender style? Pair it with some comfortable, tailored joggers or your favorite pair of denim. You don't have to get all lumberjack with it, the right vest works with everything from a chambray button up to a sweater and knit tie. Do avoid getting too casual, though. You probably want to wear a shirt with it or risk looking like an NSYNC reject.

...Or Not
The cool thing about establishing your own style is that you don’t necessarily have to follow one (or any, really) set of rules. Combine a smart fitting pair of suit pants with a snug vest and you’ll create a look all your own. Running to catch the train in the cold? Layer a vest underneath a suit jacket and the contrast is going to give you some extra style points (and obviously keep you warm). Oh, and don’t be afraid to throw a little color into the mix as well. Jewel-toned greens, oranges and blues are good with almost any outfit. Avoid black, though, so as not to be mistaken for SWAT or Method Man.

Get The Look
Once you feel comfortable enough to pull off the basic, vested look, try one of these style recommendations on for size:

Italian Style God - Incorporate those jewel tones we mentioned earlier pair it with a pin or chalk stripe suit jacket. Again, make sure the vest is slim, snug, and leave the bottom button undone to keep things extra cool. Contrast the suit or blazer you’re wearing with color or texture for a dynamic look.

Boardroom Baller - Add a three-piece suit to your rotation for some extra work week swagger. Dial in that fit and don’t be afraid to remove your jacket and roll up your sleeves. I smell a promotion coming.

Weekend Warrior - Slip on your favorite denim, throw on a flannel or chambray shirt, lace up some smart sneakers, throw on an extra soft vest and slip effortlessly into some stylish weekend bliss. You earned it.

Wear it well-fitting, wear it with the right look, and in the right way, these are the keys to pulling off a vested look that works well in nearly any situation, from the work week to the weekend. And if pop culture has taught us anything, if a well-made vest is good enough for C. Montgomery Burns and Marty McFly, it’s definitely good enough for you.