Sweater Vest Comeback: How I Style Them for a Retro Chic

By: Sarah Hodges.

Published on

- 3 min read

Oh, how the tables have turned! Once relegated to the back of our grandparents’ closets, the sweater vest is making a triumphant return to the fashion forefront. And let me tell you, I am here for it. With its quirky charm and endless styling possibilities, the sweater vest is your ticket to achieving that coveted retro chic look. So, buckle up as I take you through my personal journey of styling this versatile piece.


The Basics: Understanding the Sweater Vest

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of styling, let’s take a moment to appreciate the sweater vest’s evolution. Originally a staple in men’s wardrobes, it has crossed over to become a unisex piece that adds a touch of sophistication and a dash of preppy to any outfit. The beauty of the sweater vest lies in its simplicity and versatility. Whether you’re aiming for a casual look or something more polished, this piece can be your canvas.

Casual Cool

For a laid-back vibe, I love pairing my sweater vests with basics. Think a simple white tee or a light, long-sleeved shirt underneath. This foundation allows the vest to stand out, especially if you opt for a piece with bold patterns or vibrant colors.


Jeans are my go-to for a casual look. I usually reach for a high-waisted pair, which I find complements the slightly cropped nature of some vests. For footwear, sneakers or loafers keep the vibe relaxed yet stylish. Accessories? Minimal. Maybe a watch or a delicate necklace. The goal is effortless chic.

Office Ready

Who says you can’t rock a sweater vest in a professional setting? Layering it over a crisp, button-down shirt instantly elevates the ensemble. I prefer sticking to neutral tones here—think beige, navy, or black—for a more sophisticated look.

To maintain that professional edge, I pair my sweater vest with tailored trousers or a sleek pencil skirt. Footwear-wise, a pair of heeled boots or classic pumps adds the perfect finishing touch. And for those chilly mornings, a trench coat over the shoulders not only keeps you warm but also adds an extra layer of polish.

Date Night Glam

Yes, you read that right. A sweater vest can indeed be date-night appropriate. The key? It’s all in the details. Opting for a vest with a unique texture or a subtle sparkle can elevate the piece from daytime casual to evening chic.


Pair it with a silky blouse or a sheer top for a touch of romance. Bottoms-wise, I lean towards high-waisted, wide-legged pants or a midi skirt to keep the look modern and sophisticated. As for shoes, a strappy heel never fails to impress. And don’t forget to accessorize—statement earrings or a clutch can add that extra sparkle.

Final Thoughts

The sweater vest’s comeback is a testament to the cyclical nature of fashion, where yesterday’s faux pas becomes today’s must-have. Its versatility makes it a valuable addition to any wardrobe, capable of transitioning from casual to formal with ease. By embracing its retro charm and experimenting with modern pairings, you can create looks that are both nostalgic and refreshingly contemporary.

So, the next time you spot a sweater vest, whether it’s tucked away in a vintage store or featured in the latest collection of your favorite brand, give it a chance. With a little creativity and confidence, you might just find it becoming a staple in your styling repertoire. After all, fashion is about having fun and expressing yourself, and what better way to do that than by bringing a piece of the past into the present?