Three Ways To Dress Up A Vest

There's a new breed of tailored menswear-inspired vests for women that are popping up all over stores for spring 2011. The ultimate in no-frills chic, vests that are more Kate Lanphear than something to keep to house your pocket protector. The key to rocking these pieces is to not be afraid to experiment with what turns out to be a pretty versatile piece-—wear it as a shirt, a blazer, or outerwear; leave it loose and free; or belt it up for a suiting effect. Don't know how to wear a vest? Good thing we included a handy styling guide to help you get started—study up!
Shirt Refresher—We're loving how a silk shirt looks when you tuck in the sleeves and wear it over a Breton stripe. This Madewell version will last you for seasons.
Above, from left: Madewell Silk Safari Shirt, $98, available at Madewell; Farhi Breton Stripe Tee, $90.75, available at My Wardrobe; American Eagle Ex-Boyfriend Jean, $39.94, available at AE; Kenneth Jay Lane Cross Pendant, $100, available at Net-a-Porter; Rachel Comey Open Toe T-Strap Sandals, $375, available at Saks.
Belt It Out—A structured vest can make your top half look boxy, but a tough leather belt can bring those curves back.
Above, from left: Topshop 2 Tone Round Sunglasses, $38, available at Topshop; Tory Burch Marled Webbing Waist Belt, $175, available at Tory Burch; Diane von Furstenberg Spy Ruffle Short Vest, $298, available at Shopbop; Carven Goat Suede Pump, $455, available at Stylepaste; ASOS Criss Cross Lattice Back Sundress, $36.86, available at ASOS.
Hide Your Assets—A sheer shirt can sometimes be hard to wear, but an oversized, blazer-like vest can class it up. If you're feeling especially brave, ditch the bra and button the vest in place.

Above, from left: ModCloth Beckoning Bistro Top, $67.99, available at ModCloth; Kova & T Wool Vest, $138.25, available at The Outnet; Alexander Wang Skinny Pant, $192.50, available at La Garconne; Nicholas Kirkwood Suede Boot, $538.27, available at Browns; Franchi Clutch, $117.60, available at Zappos.

More from Styling Tips

R29 Original Series