How to Wear a Sweater Vest Trendy Outfit for Men 

Say hello to the latest trend in men’s fashion and what seems to be a future staple for years to come – Sweater Vests!

Sweater vests are versatile and serve everything from casual wear to social settings and even nights out. Sweater vests are the perfect year-round attire as you can wear them in almost any setting.

Long gone are the days when people associated a sweater vest with the “grandpa” look. With famous musicians leading the charge, such as Mr. Harry Styles and rapper Tyler, the Creator, pioneering the various golfer meets skater aesthetic.

In this guide, I will show you how you can pop out to your next social scene rocking a sweater vest both confidently and stylishly.

Picking the best type of sweater vest

Before we discuss occasions, it’s important to note the different types of sweater vests so that we can avoid nuance. 

1. The Deep V

The deep V-neck sweater vests are a staple for most sweater vests. While you can choose between crewneck and turtleneck style, the deep V is a trusted and safe bet for all occasions. 

2. Cashmere sweater-vest

Cashmere sweater vests tend to be perfect for colder months. If you are looking for the spring and summer months, you will want to stay away from this fabric and save it more for winter and fall. As you can count on cashmere when the icy, harsh weather arrives.

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3. Cable-knit wool

Cable-knit is intrinsic to retro academia, vintage bookstores, and local coffee shops. While one of the most sought-after looks, you can rest assured that if it’s cable-knit wool, you are looking for a blend of bookstore keeper meets barista.

4. Pull-over sweater vests

In my personal opinion, pull-over sweater vests are the staple and my personal go-to when it comes to styling. While button-down sweater vests are possible, it tends to make the look transition more into a cardigan theme.

5. Oversized knit sweater vests

Comfortability meets style. Oversized clothing has been in since 2019 and has only ramped up even more recently. If you are looking to adjust into sweater vests slowly and don’t know where to start, start with an oversized look, as you can wear this in any season.

6. Merino Wool sweater vests

Have you ever seen golfers or individuals wearing sweater vests in the blazing heat outside at brunch places? Chances are they are sporting merino wool. Merino clothing is great to wear when it’s hot, helping regulate your temperature by absorbing moisture. This means that you can stay stylish while also staying cool.

7. Button down sweater vests

While not one of my personal favorites, it is important to know that button-down sweater vests exist. While a little less chic look, the best type to style the button-down sweater vests is with bell bottom jeans and keeping the shirt untucked. This way, you can attenuate the buttons to focus more on the patterns on the sweater.  

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Best approaches to wearing a Sweater Vest

Now that we covered the different styles and fabrics to reference back, let’s discuss the best ways you can maximize your sweater vest look and have you turning heads at your next social event!

1. Everyday Casual 

The everyday casual is the outfit you wear on a first day, working at a coffee shop, or simply going on a stroll around town. This can be thought of as the most versatile look with the sweater vest, as it’s not too far out there in the realm of classy but not too loose where it looks like you just rolled out of bed.

This look is relatively simple to obtain but offers many areas to play around in. You can pair your sweater vest with a loose-fitting white tee, a pair of black 874 Dickies, and white shoes for footwear for colder months. The benefit of everyday casual is simplicity and comfort. You want to have the ability to walk long distances but also be comfortable if you want to sit down at a coffee shop.

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This is a more spring to summer look. This style is perfect for casual wear at any event or occasion. It focuses on the monotone look to enhance the casual look. I would also recommend adding a crossbody satchel in the mix, as it always adds a touch of classy to your casual wear.

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With a sweater vest, you can work in any type of footwear, which usually aids to your benefit, but my recommendations are low-top sneakers, loafers, or sandals. I wouldn’t stray too far in “fancy” shoes for the everyday look but stick to a more minimalistic and clean look.

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2. Street wear look

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This look tends to be the most in style now. Especially with the increase in the more baggy and relaxed fit jeans style. What can be considered the “soft boy” aesthetic, light-washed jeans, paired with a boxy white tee shirt and sweater vest, is a universally accepted look within the streetwear community. 

As for footwear, I would usually pair my look a little differently than the traditional white Air Force 1s. You can maximize your look with a pair of Air Max 95s due to the multi-colored patterns you can get out of them. If you can’t get your hands on a pair of the 95s, I suggest New Balances for this look.

There are also a few details with the streetwear look that you have to pay attention to.

Look for a cable-knit wool sweater vest for this look. You will want to wear a thicker vest to offset the boxy white tee shirt. 

In terms of accessories, I am primarily a minimalist and think of accessories solely based on value. So I would recommend only adding accessories that add to the value of the look. Going with some rings, twin necklaces, and a watch would be tastefully perfect for this outfit.

3. Formal look

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This is a more classical and modern meets vintage way of wearing a sweater vest. It will work well in formal situations, such as networking events, work events, or meetings.

Of the three styles, this is the easiest to pull off because there is minimal guesswork needed. You simply pair your sweater vest with a two-piece suit, tie, and long sleeve button-down to pull off this look. As for footwear, I would stick with low-cut Derbys or low-cut leather shoes.

Some important things to note here, if your suit is navy, shoot for a lighter-colored sweater vest. You want to make sure people know it’s there. Also, make sure to pair your shoe color with your belt color. If you have a lighter suit, I would wear a contrasting sweater vest. Depending on the weather is what wool you would go with, but my preference is usually merino wool. Because of the suit jacket with the long sleeve, I would get overheated quickly. You can also get away with a cashmere sweater vest depending on the occasion.

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FAQ

Can you wear a sweater vest with short sleeves?

Absolutely! Styling a sweater vest with a short sleeve shirt tends to be the perfect layering for the warmer months. However, this doesn’t mean that any short-sleeve shirt will work. I would stay away from the bowler style button-downs, relaxed fit button-downs, and slim-fit button-downs.

While there are no written rules of what you can or cannot wear with a sweater vest, the short sleeve button-down tends to take too much away from your sweater vest and make you look more like a math teacher, not in a good way.

If you are dead-set on wearing a collared short sleeve t-shirt with your sweater vest, I suggest going with a merino wool vest and tying it in with a slim-fit polo. This way, you have enough of a contrast to wear a short sleeve and still have your sweater vest be a show stopper.

Can I wear no shirt under the sweater vest?

Yes! If you go with a cable-knit wool sweater vest, that would be the best option since it is a little heavier of an option to go with. I love to expand the fashion norm, and I think this is the best way! Think of the sweater vest as a very fancy tank top if you are hesitant! It will always compliment the outfit.

Should a Sweater Vest be Tucked In?

A sweater vest shouldn’t be tucked in; it is much better and more pleasant on the eyes when it is not tucked in.

Outside of the sweater vest being thicker and would ruin the look of your pants, think of the sweater vest similar to an accessory like a jacket or a hoodie. Normally you wouldn’t want to tuck them in. It would give the entire outfit a weird vibe. 

Now, if you are going to try a french tuck or a partial tuck, you may have some more leeway to do that, but it is extremely important in the situation, and you would need to make sure your belt is an integral part of the outfit to pull it off properly.

Miranda Cole

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