Ode to the Sweater Vest: Why and How to Wear It

Ode to the Sweater Vest: Why and How to Wear It

Fall is in full swing, and in some parts of the country you can feel winter coming. But layering up doesn’t mean covering up your fine autumn accessories. For a look that’s equal parts cozy and chic, consider mixing handsome knits - like sweaters and sweater vests - into your cool-weather wardrobe.  

Not sure how to wear a sweater vest? Or which sweaters look dashing rather than slapdash? We’ve got you covered.  

Layering 101

Are sweater vests in style this year? Yes. In fact, 2020 has a special affinity for the time-tested sweater vest. And, we’d like to suggest that the highly versatile sweater vest is always in fashion.

Here are five dos and don’ts when mixing knits with menswear: 

1. Dress Up or Down

A sweater vest or sweater instantly dresses up casual fabrics like denim and corduroy, and dresses down chinos or wool trousers. Add a blazer or sport coat - and you’re ready for almost any fall-day affair.

Are sweater vests in style? They sure are!

Sweater Vest is combined with a Red Tartan Bow Tie.

2. Accessorize!

Neckties and bow ties bring polish and sophistication to your layers, while knits bring warmth and approachability to formal accessories.

If your sweater or vest has a pocket, use it! A pocket square is an unexpected but exciting addition to a layered look. 

How to wear a sweater vest with style

Sweater Vest is paired with a Red Duck Paisley Bow Tie, and a Gold Waverly Medallions Pocket Square.

3. Tuck

Never tuck in your sweater or sweater vest, but always tuck in your shirttail. 

4. Shoes

Regardless of the style of your knitwear - cardigan, button-up sweater vest, v-neck or shawl collar sweater - opt for a casual or dress shoe, but never an athletic shoe. Oxfords, boots and loafers are all easy wins, especially in warm-toned leather and suede. 

Pair your sweater vest with a fun sock as an accessory

5. Flair 

Add interest to your layered look with a fun sock, colorful lace or unexpected belt. Go with an on-season theme or a delightful pop of holiday color. 

Pattern Mixing: Extra Credit

If mixing patterns, textures and colors is appealing, but you worry over grabbing attention for all the wrong reasons, cool weather offers the perfect chance to practice.

A solid-colored sweater or sweater vest introduces a block of color that makes mixing easy to achieve, and yields a combination that’s always easy on the eyes.

Sweater vest style with bow tie and pocket square

Sportcoat and sweater vest are combined with a Red Emerson Bow Tie and a Red Plaid/Herringbone Pocket Square

With your knitwear as your foundation, choose a shirt with a bold or subtle pattern, a bow tie or neck tie in a complementary color, and further accessorize with a funky pocket square, watch or belt. 

Once you’ve gained mastery of the basics, try putting together interesting pairings without knits in the mix.


Need more cold-weather inspiration and handy how-tos? We’ve got plenty! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, and tag us in your favorite #RHanauer fall and winter looks. And if you need help putting together a polished ensemble, contact us or visit our Fort Mill shop