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How a vest should fit

How a vest should fit

A vest (or a tank top as it's known to our friends across the pond) may look like a sleeveless version of a t-shirt, but pulling them off isn’t nearly as simple. It provides a lot less coverage than your average shirt, which makes the fit exceedingly more important. But before we get into that, we feel compelled to lay a few ground rules so you don’t end up looking like a reality TV star circa 2009. 

Firstly, resist the impulse to exclusively wear your vest to the gym or the beach. It's a great lightweight item to layer under a jacket or blazer for more dressy events, as long as you opt for a pared-down style. “Keep it simple," says Thread stylist Alexander McCalla. “Vests are mainly functional, so try to keep that in mind when sifting through all the bold, patterned styles out there.” Secondly, when you do wear yours sans jacket, pay attention to the amount of skin you’re showing – unless you have Marvel movie muscles to show off. 


“More is more when it comes to straps. You want them to cover a decent amount of your shoulder (three inches is the sweet spot) without looking like you’re wearing a sleeveless t-shirt.”


“A simple rule of thumb is that your vest should fall to the top of the pockets of your legwear, so that it's long enough to comfortably tuck into your trousers or jeans. Because this might be one of many layers you end up wearing, you don’t want it to hang too long or it could lead to bunching.” 

Photographed: (similar) Superdry Organic Cotton Classic Vest (£16.99), (similar) COS REGULAR-FIT TAPERED WOOL TROUSERS (£89)


“Make sure your vest is clear of your armpits but snug to the body. Styles with enlarged armholes, like the kind The Rock is often seen wearing, never look good (unless you're The Rock). If your armholes expose your ribs, they’re too big.”


“Go for something that has a comfortable fit in the body (you don’t want yours to be too big as it will sag and the excess fabric will cause bunching). A snug fit will look smarter, but you don’t want it to be too tight either. This is a summer staple and you should move freely in it.”

Words: Allison Pavlick
Photography: Jon Cardwell
Styling: Alexander McCalla
Styling assistant: Toby Standing