Subliminal Style
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Catching Rae

Client Favorite: Long Vests

Back when I worked in corporate offices with formal business dress codes, I remember feeling frustrated and angry whenever I tried to shop in the spring. I desperately needed a break from my dreary gray and black suits - but the stores were full of short shorts and ever-skimpier sundresses that I didn't have time to wear if I wanted to. 

Honestly, fashion hasn't gotten much better at providing a wide array of office-appropriate clothing for female executives in the warmer months. But! One trendy piece has been a huge hit with my corporate ladies, and that is the long vest. 

There are all sorts of long vests on the market right now, and you can probably find everything from leather to tassels to dragon embroidery, but the style that's working for my office crowd is basically like a long blazer without sleeves. They are perfect for layering, injecting light colors into seasonless basics, and keeping warm in the face of arctic summer air conditioning.

What to Look For

When choosing a long vest for the office, consider these features:

  • Front closure - to enable layering over sheer blouses
  • Tailored fit through the waist - to pair with both slim and voluminous bottoms
  • Cleanly designed lapels or collar - to pair with a wide range of tops
  • Neckline lower than your typical blouse neckline - so that you don't look nekkid under there...
  • Bottom hem that can be shortened - just in case it's not the ideal length for your body.

How to Wear Them

A simple, tailored vest will go with almost any shape of bottom, but there are a few helpful guidelines to follow:

  • Match the color value of your bottoms to either your vest or your base layer. This will help provide a long line from top to bottom.
  • Keep your vest closed when worn with circle skirts, a-line skirts, or wide leg trousers to prevent excess volume from overwhelming your frame. 
  • Choose necklaces very carefully to make sure they don't fight with the lapels of your vest. 
  • When worn with a skirt or dress, make sure the skirt/dress hem is long enough to be visible under the vest - again, so that you don't look nekkid under there. ;)

Depending on your office culture, you might also try utility vests or soft, draped vests made of rayon, silk, or knit fabric. And don't forget to pop them over your flared jeans and mock neck tops on the weekends!

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