Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Quilted Vests - The Ultimate Layering Piece

I've been spending the past few weeks working on a larger project for some collaborative work (more details to come), and have been focusing on cold-weather apparel. For obvious reasons, this has resulted in me spending a lot of time considering outerwear options facing the dapper dude as the temperatures continue to dip. While this year I'm really looking to grab my first quality topcoat, I keep coming back to what I see as the one outerwear piece you absolutely need. Yep, believe it or not, it's really that simple. The icing on the cake is you can get this item for a cool $50 if you know where to look, and try saying that for a wool topcoat or down parka.

Here, I'm talking about the quilted vest. It's the ultimate layering piece, and with one (just one!) in your closet, you can go seamlessly from crisp fall days to the coldest of the winter months and right back into spring without missing a beat. Case in point: I have now gone three brutal Chicago winters with no real outerwear to call my own, instead relying on an interchanging collection of thicker wool blazers, sweaters, fall jackets, and my go-to quilted layering vest.

For the most part, I started out just wearing this underneath a blazer. It added an insulating layer
without adding any unseemly bulk to my profile, which I like to keep slim, even in the winter.

This year, I've begun wearing it over top of some of my more form-fitting blazers. It's a look I wasn't 100% sure about at first but am really coming to love, and get compliments on all the time. The vest and blazer combo on it's own isn't terribly warm, but once you add some gloves, a hat and a scarf, the whole outfit gets nice and toasty.

My styling here is limited to my biz-casual work outfits, but you can work this into more casual
outfits just as easily (I do it all the time, but have yet to snap some pics). The vest is short and trim enough to wear underneath my Member's Only jacket, but still roomy enough to wear over a chunky cardigan. Bottom line, the versatility this piece offers makes it irreplaceable.

So, grab one of these for yourself, ASAP, I promise you won't regret it. Mine is from J.Crew Factory and is currently only $44.50, which leaves it under the $50 mark with shipping included. If you want a little more color, check out this gilet (gilet = vest for those across the pond) in navy and white.

Ed. Note: Due to a combination of crappy weather, earlier nightfall, and hectic schedules, my photographer (i.e. girlfriend) and I have been struggling to schedule photo shoots, and I hope you'll understand our being forced to rely on archived pictures and old selfies for this post.

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