London has the spotlight now that New York fashion week has wrapped and will be followed, as per usual, by Milan and then Paris. With the coverage of new collections mounting online—posted and shared by editors, fashion insiders, celebrities, and bloggers— our task is to sift through the hodgepodge of visuals to look for gems in the not-so-rough. In doing this, we assess each runway individually, we compare designers to one another and to themselves, and we ultimately make cases for emerging trends as we spot them. The subject here is one of those— a certain pattern we’ve tracked through NYFW that we couldn’t be more excited about: the return of the vest.
As one of fashion’s oldest garments, it started trending back when England’s King Charles II made it hip in the fifteenth century. Of course, vests have been worn (by men, mainly) in countless countries across cultures and classes, and we rocked them often when we were little. Gap Kids, anyone? The difference here is that a longer, more formal-looking version for women is making its comeback in high fashion next season.
A few brands put forth vests for this fall, and we’d put money on there being a lot more next year, but the pieces displayed last week were for spring so they weren’t designed for their wearers’ warmth. These new vests have the opposite effect, actually. As sleeveless jackets, they’re predominantly long, creating streamlined, layered looks that will keep girls cool. In many cases, like the pieces designed by Reed Krakoff, Zero + Maria Cornejo, Tibi, and Marissa Webb, fancier black-and-white vests make for incredibly sexy, menswear-inspired formal attire. With their length, rich fabrics, embroidery, and hand-cut details, they’re nothing like the short denim or corduroy styles you might have worn on the playground. Elegant and very grown-up in aesthetic, it’s worth noting that vests are the easiest to pull off.
As a form of evening wear next season, try a colorful, printed vest like the short-sleeved number presented by Delpozo. Or swap your favorite black blazer for a lightweight vest that’s solid or monochromatic. Something like Philip Lim’s belted one, worn over a dress or a camisole with either black pants or jeans, will keep you looking dressed up and covered up while still showing sufficient skin. For daytime, we spotted several styles made from sunshine-friendly fabrics like cotton and raw linen. Vests by Rag and Bone, Theory, and Zimmerman channeled vibes that were athletic, trench coat-inspired, and safari-esque, respectably. Worn casually around town on weekends, each of these simple pieces would be effortless, unfussy, and practical, too. It goes without saying that in a cinched vest, both you and any outfit will look, um, pulled together. History repeats itself and fashion trends are cyclical, but that doesn’t quash our joy in seeing vests back in the game. Kick off your hunt for some good ones early, knowing how beautifully they’ll layer under fall coats.