Making the in”Vest”ment

Vest by St. John's Bay - Blazer by Cricketeer - Custom Shirt by J.Hilburn - Pocket Square Self Made

Recently, while browsing through the Street Style section of, I stumble upon a great picture of a business man in Florence, Italy sporting a puffy vest over a great suit (click here for the picture). This inspired me to take a journey in the puffy vest world with a more casual look as well as a business look.

Personally, when choosing the vest and how it will be worn, the length of the vest was most important to me. As you can see with the casual look, pairing a puffy vest under a blazer would call for a shorter vest, while at the same time being thin enough to fit not to add excess bulge. Often these vests can be a bit boring in color choice with the usual black, brown and navy blue selections (or deer hunter bright orange). So, when I decided to give this look a go, I opted for a rich color like burgundy for a subtle pop.

Photo Credit: Marina Peele: Close up on self made paisley pocket square

Just as a touch to complete the look, I added a maroon, gold and green paisley pocket square to tie into the color of the vest and just as a “pow” of  the “what the hell is going on in your pocket” look that I sometimes get from people. Choosing the right vest can find itself to be quite difficult if you do not know what you are looking for with particular characteristics of the piece.

Suit by English Laundry - Vest by Lands End - Captoe Shoes by Aldo


Just about everyday of the work week I wear a suit or an outfit with blazer to work. This winter has been more than brutal temperature-wise and wearing long overcoats are sometimes cumbersome. Wearing a vest with a suit does something that I wish that a coat would while driving.  Vests add mobility to your arms that you can do things freely and stay warm. Now, don’t  just go out and grab any puffy vest and think you can just throw it with your suit and the day will be great. Here are a few tips to guide you through this “vested” world:

  • Look for a thinner vest. You do not want to look like the Michelin man. Many of the thinner vest are downed and wind resistant
  • Find a vest with high arm holes. The high are holes will trap in heat and contour to your body well.
  • Pick a color of your liking, however; going with a basic black or navy will translate well with most suits in your closet.

Photo Credit Marina T. Peele

Sizing does vary by company, so when choosing your vest you should wear a blazer that you feel is the most fitting of being worn with a vest. Personally, when wearing a vest outside of my blazer I like the fit to be about the same length-wise or just a bit shorter. Obviously, if you plan to wear the vest under you suit jacket or other blazers you will want the fit to be shorter and possibly not as “bubbled” so take away some of the padded look.

So go out there and give it a shot because winter will be around for at least 2 more months and it is always great to switch up your style and stay warm.

PS: The St. John’s Bay vest fits smaller that the Lands End vest even though they are both mediums. At JC Penney’s the St. John’s Bay vest is $11.00 and the Lands End Vest is just about $20.00.




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Categories: Layering, Outerwear, Style Tip, Versatility

Author:Sabir M. Peele

Founder & Creative Director of menswear style & lifestyle blog Sabir serves as an independent brand consulting working with brands like GQ, AskMen, Indochino & Z Zegna (among others). Selected as #GQFall Best Dressed in 2013 & one of Esquire Magazine Best Dressed Real Men in America in 2010. Follow @MensStylePro on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter. Email with your inquiries.

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10 Comments on “Making the in”Vest”ment”

  1. January 24, 2011 at 7:12 AM #

    This is a tight look. I am a big guy with wide shoulders so I don’t think I could pull it off, but its a cool look nonetheless.

    • January 24, 2011 at 4:04 PM #


      You should still give it a try with the right vest it may work. Try the Lands end vest, it fits a bit larger.

      Thanks for reading,


  2. January 25, 2011 at 1:49 PM #

    Excellent article I just scored a nice thin puffy vest it reversible and has sleeves that zip off. This has been a great inspiration article for how to incorporate it in my look.

    • January 25, 2011 at 6:26 PM #

      Thanks Corey,

      The puffy vest made be the “it” piece for this winter. I am glad i could help with incorporating the item into your looks.


      Sabir M. Peele

  3. Mauri Richberg
    January 26, 2011 at 3:32 AM #

    Excellent article, exquisite style and photography! Thank you for sharing the Peele Experience.

    • January 26, 2011 at 3:33 AM #

      Why thank you very much. You are the best. Tell your friends.



  4. February 8, 2011 at 7:12 PM #

    Big fan of the under. I’m afraid my vest is too thick and my suit too fitted to pull it off


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