The new, cooler way to wear a vest in 2023

The hottest piece of the summer will make you look hotter, too
How to style a vest in 2023

We're in the golden era of vests. Gone are the days when they were strictly reserved for the poolside. Or the gym. Or by backing dancers of heavily auto-tuned pop music videos. The vibe around how to wear a vest is different now. It's gone from divisiveness to a purely democratic piece that's especially helpful if you've got massive biceps. But, really, you don't need them to wear one.

Look to the roster of famous names that are doing it well. Shawn Mendes is rarely seen not in a white vest, whether that's onstage or on the street. Dwyane Wade has mastered the craft of wearing a vest to show off his enduring jacked and stacked-ness. Justin Bieber is accustomed to wearing vests, whether it's with his signature baggy jeans and a shirt tied around his head (make of that what you will) or on the beach. Then there's Manu Ríos, the Spanish actor who's gone global, and who is out there pushing for the sleeveless vibe, whether at Cannes dressed in Saint Laurent vests or on in off-the-rack pullovers in his personal photos on his Instagram. This blessed summer of 2023 really is about the vest.


It was originally popularised in modern Western fashion during the early 20th century as part of bathing suits for both genders (pools were referred to as tanks back then). Since then, it has become a staple in the menswear collections from the most esteemed designers, who are twisting them into their collections in unique ways.

It all started a couple of seasons ago when Bottega Veneta made a case for the white vest on the runway. Then, Prada dropped a logo-tagged vest for near to £1,000, cementing the product's place among the upper echelons of the fashion industry. It could be an essential and yet a cerebral piece of menswear all at once. What's more, they sold out instantly.

At the recent men's shows, Dolce and Gabbana sent models down the runway in super tight black ribbed vests and teeny black shorts, as well as with wide-leg slacks and leather slippers. At Ami, creative director Alexandre Mattiussi similarly proposed the wear of looser fitting vests with micro shorts, while at Botter, woven vests were paired with baggy black slacks. Dean and Dan Caten of Dsquared2 were also on the vest hype and teamed strappy, striped tanks with knee-length shorts, pulled-up socks and loafers a slightly collegiate (and slightly sexy) vibe. Kenzo has super-tight vests, while Versace had rib-clinging cut-out versions tucked into loose-fit trousers.

Dolce and Gabbana Spring/Summer 2024

And sure, it's all well and good telling you that vests are trending in the world of celebrity and on the catwalks. But you should take note, because that stuff trickles down into the everyday life of the normal guy. So, how to wear a vest so that you look more Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire than Nelly cosplay?

There's really no right or wrong way about wearing a vest, but we recommend that you take environment into account. Shorts and a vest, as seen at a D&G show, is probably a fine way to go if you're on holiday in the heat of Capri. But for a stroll down Regent Street? Not so much. In the office? Probably not wise, either. The best way to do vest play is by wearing one with a pair of trousers. And here you can play around with the shape. Billowing slacks like those worn by Shawn Mendes with a fitted vest up top will give your fit the '50s feel.

You can also play to the vest top's undergarment roots: the invisible hero to your outfit. You don't need to bare your arms to wear a vest. Do a Chris Evans and wear it under an unbuttoned camp collar shirt for a bit of a Miami Vice vibe, whereby the underlayer can only be slightly peaked.

The next thing to take into account is where you should be getting your vest from. It's a great big world of tank tops out there, and yes, it is scary at times. Uniqlo does the best for budget-hunters: £9.90 and it won't lose it's stretchy form with a few washes. Marks and Spencer has got a culty vest IYKYK following. Its perforated vests are thinner than those at Uniqlo, and are excellent for layering under other pieces of clothing. And of course, you could go higher up the fashion ladder and opt in for one of those aforementioned vests from Bottega, Prada or D&G.

Forget everything you knew about the vest before now. It's the hottest thing to be wearing this summer.

Uniqlo vest

Marks and Spencer vests

Dolce and Gabbana vest