When I was in high school, I experienced an intense vest phase. It wasn’t in a cute, minimalist, Kendall Jenner-inspired way–in a kind of Y2K-inspired, so-bad-it’s-good-. In the era of Y2K it was everyone else in the It ladies (say, Nicole Richie or Lindsay Lohan) were wearing Be My Valentine Smile Shirt that included graphic tees and suit vests and I was determined to emulate the a la fashion look. I recall going to the local mall, and then heading towards Le Chateau, a now-defunct Canadian retailer that was primarily focused on outfitting teenagers for proms. I purchased two suits that included an edgy black waistcoat and an ivory button-up waistcoat that had an all-white satin back. I later went to school wearing my new vests, paired by my most adored band t-shirts as well as emo hair and skinny jeans of course. I felt like a star.
When I look back at the time, the style of vests was not the best choice. I seemed like a teenager who snatched a part of his father’s suit and tossed it on top of one of his Evanescence T-shirts. I’m traumatized by the photos of me from that time–so that I’ve avoided vests with a vengeance ever since. But, 10 years after, I’m seeing vests return to the fashion scene. In the current season, fashion-forward stars such as Kendall Jenner and Bella and Gigi Hadid are sporting suits as tops and wearing them with Be My Valentine Smile Shirt along with designer handbags. It’s like the vest is cool and cool. The question is, do I dare revisit them?
I’m not one to dismiss trends and a fashion, I set out to challenge myself to return to vests for the fall season. It was a redemptive style moment and having ten years of experience in fashion since the age of 16, I was confident I could make vests that were sophisticated, grown-up and not too difficult (meaning that it’s not just the occasional graphic tee). I was fortunate enough that there are a lot of excellent vests for men available today and the latest crop of vests are available with a variety of styles and fabrics, including soft knits, stylish leathers or cool, trendy materials.