The fall-winter transition can be a tough one sartorially. Temperatures start fluctuating between 16 C one day and -16 C the next, making it tough to choose what to wear to satisfy both your need for warmth and your need for style. Luckily, there’s a trend on the horizon that answers both of these questions – vests. The perfect layering element, it’s the kind of trend that seems made for Toronto weather.
Another perk? There are multiple styles of vests to choose from to fit your current wardrobe aesthetic. Ideally, you already have a few of these lying around in your closet, but if you don’t, we’ve rounded up a few of the best places to shop this new trend and how to style them for the Toronto season.
This style of vest has come in and out of style on the fashion scene, but hit the ski slopes or head up north and you’ll see that they’ve never gone out of style for the adventurers of Ontario. Now, puffer styles of all kinds have made it onto the fall/winter season runways, so you can pull out the vest you’ve been hiding at the back of your coat closet and move it back into rotation. This style would lend itself well to a gorpcore look played straight with a turtleneck or fleece sweater underneath and cargo pants. Or, go for high contrast by layering a colourful pantsuit underneath or a patterned maxi dress.
For puffer vest newbies, Toronto has plenty of options. Try Rudsak for some sleek and fashion-forward styles, including a very cool full length vest and a cropped, glossy style. For a cute, patterned look, try 6 By Gee Beauty – this patterned puffer vest comes in two equally fun styles. And this belted version of a classic puffer vest from Mackage would be a major fashion moment layered over a voluminous skirt or with puffed sleeves underneath.
You’ve seen your grandparents sporting them, but that only ups their cool factor – winter dressing is all about emulating all things cozy and comfortable. Sweater vests are all over the runway, from funky patterned ones to chunky knit ones. Perfect to give you major style and warmth points, layer them over turtlenecks, mesh shirts for a bit of fun texture maxi dresses to up your layering game.
Chosen Vintage is home to a nice selection of more classic knit styles, including this oatmeal wool one or this bright blue one for a pop of colour. Try Canopy Blue for this funky heart print vest or a cool sleeveless turtleneck style. And The Latest Scoop has a three-quarter-zip sweater vest for a more casual, athleisure look.
A very ’90s throwback, waistcoats – also known as suit vests – have dominated the fashion scene this year. Easy to style and even easier to find secondhand, throw one on over a t-shirt with jeans, underneath a cardigan or even with a crisp white collared shirt underneath for a Diane Keaton-esque look.
Since these vests have been around forever, look to your nearest vintage store to find your own. Consignment shop Second Nature Boutique has a few, including this stunning Gianni Versace gold-buttoned number or this edgy cropped moto vest. You’ll find a very cool Wrangler denim vest at Coffee and Clothing, among a few other patterned gems. Or support a local designer by visiting Smythe, which houses a few styles of this amazing, tailored single-breasted waistcoat.