The down vest, a classic piece of men’s and women’s fashion that is not only stylish, but fully functional at keeping one warm. These vests are named after the down feathers – fine layer of feathers under the tougher exterior feathers of birds. Though a mainstay in winter wear for decades, figuring out how to incorporate them seamlessly and stylishly into an outfit can sometimes be daunting.
The first question usually asked about wearing down vests is “how is this supposed to keep me warm with no sleeves?” The answer is simple: when the core is warm, the outer limbs stay warm as well. It all goes back to the anatomy of the body. Down vests can also be worn as another layer to add warmth in the cold weather months.
Layering down vests can be tricky. Remember one simple rule: start with thinner pieces then add thicker fabrics. In this case, the vest should be one of the last layers added on top of the thinner layers. Today, there are many different styles of down vests, ranging from the normal diamond quilt pattern to horizontal and vertical line patterns. Some brands that popularized the down vest are: Patagonia, North Face, L.L. Bean, Ralph Lauren and Barbour. With so many options available, I want to show the versatility in wearing a down vest. I’ve put together a couple of ways a down vest can be worn.
Outfit #1 Relaxed & Casual
For a relaxed, laid back night, try pairing a down vest with a flannel shirt, selvage denim jeans or cargo pants and chukka boots. Another option is to pair it with jeans, a long sleeve Henley, and some Converse Chuck Taylor’s.
Sunday brunch plans? Try pairing a down vest with a button down, round neck sweater, chinos and boat shoes. This look can be easily transitioned by opting for a cardigan and brogue boots.
Outfit #2 Dressy
Layering is not only just for the relaxed and casual look. A down vest can be dressed up as well. Pairing a down vest with a two piece suit and tie will instantly give you a contemporary look for your daily commute to and from work. This ensemble comes in handy for New Yorkers and other living in bitter cold winter climates. Layering your suit with a vest is versatile because you can quickly take off the down vest when you get to the office. Want something more dandy? Pair the down vest with an Oxford button down, skinny tie and wingtip shoes. Remember, clothes should not only be practical, but fun.