Three Ways to Style a Sweater Vest

Welcome to a brand new feature on Prairie Style File, the Reader Request. The inaugural question comes from Desiree in Nebraska. Desiree encountered a woman in an ill-fitting sweater vest and baggy shirt combo that wasn’t doing her any favors.

This sighting prompted Desiree’s question — “Is it appropriate for a woman to wear a sweater vest?”

I think it’s totally appropriate. Here are some of my favorite ways to style sweater vests.

Let me know which one you like the best!



Desiree was on to something — fit and proportion are very important when styling a sweater vest. Make sure the vest is slim (oversized looks sloppy) and the silhouette is balanced or you risk unraveling a streamlined look.

For classic, preppy take — which is sort of the default setting for a sweater vest — pair a classic argyle sweater vest with slim pants and a button down shirt. Pop the collar, unbutton a button or roll up the sleeves to make the look a little more relaxed.

Finish with classic make-up and accessories and you’ve got a look that can stand the test of time.



Athletic types can get a little bolder. The narrow cut and high arm holes of this sweater vest (a very slim cut men’s vest) mean that it can double as a tank top without any unwanted exposure.

The sporty top is an unexpected win when paired with trendy cropped pants. Tomboys will appreciate the relaxed cut of the trousers and fashionistas will love the strong cobalt color.

Classic sneakers, streamlined jewelry and and just a touch of lipgloss, mascara and dreamy eye shadow finish a look that works for the golf course or a shopping trip.



A sweater vest is miles away from its classic roots in this wild — and warm — winter combo. The boxy striped vest gets new life layered over a T-shirt, red leggings and a swingy leather (or faux leather) mini.

Smoky eyes and black accessories add a little edge to the ensemble. Add a cute hat and bold coat for warmth and try stacked sneakers (one of my favorite trends of 2013 so far) to stay cool.

Do you have a Reader Request? It can be anything — a styling tip like Desiree’s, a question about a local shop or advice on anything I cover.

To be considered for the next Reader Request segment, just comment on this post, email me at, click here to find Prairie Style File on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @PrairieStylFile.


Alicia Underlee Nelson

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