Women's sweater vests have long been a staple of a preppy girl's wardrobe. However, any woman can wear this versatile garment to add an extra layer of warmth along with stylish flair.
Types of Sweater Vests
No doubt you've probably seen -- and perhaps even own -- the typical V-neck sweater vest, with or without an argyle pattern on the front. Women's sweater vests come in several styles. Along with the V-neck pullover, you'll find styles featuring crew necks, low-cut necklines and buttons or zippers up the front. They're available in solid colors and various patterns, including checks, plaid, cables and intricate Fair Isle.
Sweater vests are a great accessory for fall and winter. Women who live in very cold climates can sport them under a cardigan, jacket or coat for more layers, while women in warm locales can simply wear the vest over a shirt. If you have a collection of sweater vests, you can wear coordinating neutral colors when you want a monochrome ensemble. But wear a vibrant sweater vest on days you want the drama of contrasting color.
Wearing Women's Sweater Vests
You don't have to be preppy to appreciate the ease of sweater vests. Try sporting them any number of ways to add an extra layer of style to most any outfit.
- The preppy look: Slip an argyle-patterned sweater vest over an oxford blouse and pair with khakis or a khaki skirt for the ultimate prepster outfit. You can then add a blazer if the weather demands it, and of course, penny loafers.
- For work: Sweater vests work best in a professional environment that's not too formal, but they're usually appropriate for dress-down days. Wear one over a button-up blouse with a pair of slacks and heels, or try one on over a turtleneck. They look just as good with skirts and heels, and you can always add a suit jacket to top everything off.
- Casual days: A polo shirt and khakis, jeans or casual skirt can get added punch with the simple addition of a complementary sweater vest. You may also go for the golfer's outfit of a polo shirt, vest and walking shorts or slacks. Slip-on shoes, flats or fashion sneakers will finish this look off nicely.
Use your sweater vest to add a polished finish to your outfit. By wearing this one extra item, you can pull an entire look together as well as add another layer when the weather is cool.
How Not to Wear
Just as there are some fashionable dos with sweater vests, there are also a few don'ts:
- Don't wear a sweater vest with a sleeveless shirt underneath, such as camisoles and tank tops.
- Don't let a shirt-tail hang out of a vest unless it's part of a casual ensemble; this isn't appropriate for work.
- Don't wear a vest over a too-casual tee shirt. It's fine to sport with a crew-neck top, but make sure the shirt neckline is visible for the most flattering look.
Buying Sweater Vests for Women
These vests are usually easy to find, and are available wherever women's casual and business casual attire is sold. Look for lightweight vests made of acrylic, cotton and wool blends for cool weather. When it's very chilly, vests made of 100 percent wool and cashmere will keep you warm.
These retailers stock a selection of sweater vests:
Women who want a well-rounded wardrobe should learn the basics of smart accessorizing. By adding a well-placed scarf, jewelry or sweater vest, you can easily turn a plain outfit into a more memorable ensemble. With a great variety of sweater vests from which to choose, you'll find casual and more business-friendly options to complete your wardrobe.