File this under "Things fashion people like and no one else gets." The long vest, which has been cropping up everywhere from Alexander Wang to Zara, is less like your typical, cropped-to-the-hip waistcoat, and more like a sleeveless jacket — which makes it a little tricky to wear, we'll grant. But, the key is to ditch the notion of long-vest-as-outerwear, because what sort of weird, bifurcated climate requires a coat with no arms, anyway?
Instead, think of the long vest as an arresting layering piece. Zara's structured, dove-gray version functions like the world's most elegant blazer: It magically makes even your most boring work staples, like a black turtleneck and trousers, feel creative director-y. Or, a softer take on the trend — like Vera Wang's unstructured, sequined vest — makes your typical going-out gear feel way less standard.