1 Piece/5 Ways: Wool Down Vest

March 22nd, 2012

As I’ve been writing all season, this winter has been very mild here in NYC. It feels like we’re making an early transition into Spring. Lately I’ve been layering with vests rather than pilling on topcoats or parkas.

A down vest can be styled for just about any occasion. Yes, you can wear it over a blazer or suit. It’s shorter than the jacket, but that’s okay – it adds an element of casual non-chalance to your look and a new silhouette to your routine.

1. Corporate Casual Friday

A heavyweight textured jacket is a great match for a down vest, they both share the duty of warming the core.

A well-made down vest in a a suiting fabric, like this oatmeal flannel herringbone, looks more natural with a jacket & tie look than a nylon puffer.

All of these items are part of the 25 essentials (or next 10 essentials).

The vest should fit slim over a sweater and a little snug over a jacket – you may want to consider sizing down (I’m wearing a small – see my sizing details here).

Check out other “Dressed Up Jeans” looks from our post last summer here. 

Wool/leather down vest  by Penfield (S). Tweed jacket is part of a sample from my next MAB by Dan Trepanier collection (more news to come). Shirt by Michael Andrews Bespoke. Vintage tie from my late grandfather. Jeans by APC (new standard 32). Alligator belt and silver buckle by Ralph Lauren Purple Label (36). Socks by Marcoliani. Oxblood tassel loafers by Johnston & Murphy. 2″ tie bar by Tiffany & Co. Shades by Matsuda. Watch by Montblanc.  

2. Business Casual

Trade the blazer for a light jacket (or heavy shirt) and layer the vest for a quick and easy business casual look.

These are the pants from same tweed suit (the jacket is above in look 1). This is a an example of why the “Seasonal Suit with Texture and/or Pattern” was number three on my Re-Invent Your Wardrobe with 25 Essential Items list.

As we make an early transition to Spring, you should get to know the overshirt - as featured a year and a half ago here.

Wool/leather down vest  by Penfield (S). Tweed trousers are part of a sample from my next MAB by Dan Trepanier collection (more news to come). Shirt by Michael Andrews Bespoke. Burgundy corduroy tie by MAB by Dan Trepanier (accesories and plenty more coming to the Shop soon). Olive green shirt/jacket by Orlebar Brown (M). Socks by Marcoliani. Suede boots by John Varvatos. 2″ tie bar by Tiffany & Co. Shades by Matsuda. Watch by Montblanc.  

3. Apres-Ski

The colors and the knitwear in this look, as featured in our previous post “1 Piece/5 Ways: Wingtip Boots” remind me of a ski lodge (full of ski bunnies) in the 70s.

The down vest is perfect over a chunky sweater – it insulates the core but lets the arms breethe during those sunny end-of-winter days.

I lent this vintage hand-knit cardigan to a friend, forgot about it, and just got it back. Because of its neutral colors and simple pattern it works with just about everything. See the feature Here.

Wool/leather down vest  by Penfield (S). Vintage chunky sweater (as featured here). Denim dress shirt by Michael Andrews Bespoke. Burgundy corduroys by Levis (34, tailored). Wingtip boot by Allen Edmonds. Shades by Persol. Watch and brown alligator band by Montblanc.  

4. Hanging with the Guys/Hitting the Bars

Down vest with a sport shirt and henley for kicking it on the weekend.

Wool herringbone down vest by Penfield (size S). Olive wool cadet cap by Hats in the Belfry. Chambray shirt by Rag&Bone (size M). Henley by Polo Ralph Lauren (size M). Brown corduroys by H&M (34). Belt by Banana Republic (36). Shoes by LL Bean. Leather wrap bracelet from NYC street vendor.   

5. Casual Layers

If you have versatile, well-selected pieces you can just start piling them together. I remember when we shot this last March in Noho, I originally put the look together using only the pieces I had left at a friend’s apartment on separate occasions.

See the original post on Turtleneck Layering.

Wool herringbone/leather down vest by Penfield (size S). Cotton/Poly nautical stripe turtleneck and navy corduroy trucker jacket both by Caufield Prepatory (size 2). Chinos by Helmut Lang (size 33). Leather gloves by Hugo Boss. Beeswax desert boots by Clarks. Bracelets from NYC street vendor.


Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,



Photography by Alex Crawford.


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