How to style a vest 5 ways when you’re over 60

One new item – five new outfits. How I style a vest for Springtime

The sun has finally came out in England this cold and wet Spring. So I want to wear something bright and fun, that will make my other clothes look more summer-ready but without purchasing a new dress.

The cheapest way to do this is to buy one inexpensive item that will make five new brighter outfits. This vivid vest cost me £5 (about $6) in my local Sainsbury supermarket. You can find them cheaply everywhere of course.

I don’t think it matters much what the color is, so long as it is eye-catching. I’m not integrating this into a full capsule wardrobe, I’m just adding a pop of summery brightness to my wardrobe for these first days of sunshine.

I chose a hot fuschia pink. Though, sadly, these photos make it look nearer to a boring orangey-red.

So here are my five ideas for how to style a vest. It doesn’t need to be pink. Any strong or vivid color obeys the same rules.

Echo a color in your outfit

The simplest way to integrate a bit more color into your wardrobe is to pop your bright vest under a layer that already includes just a tiny bit of the same color. It’s easy for a very bright item to look like a ‘mistake’. But echoing a color in your outfit makes it look styled, not just thrown on as the last thing left in your drawer that doesn’t need washing.

Instead of using cream or pale blue as the under color, I’m picking out the red in the shirt to give a less conservative look.

Here I’ve used my silk blouse as a layer. Because of my shape – I’ve got a large waist – I wear it long. But it could be half-buttoned and tucked in if you are taller and slimmer than me.

Add interest to double denim or any one-color outfit

Outfits with two items made of denim are popular this year. But ‘double denim’ can look heavy and a bit boring. Instead of adding the usual white tee, I’ve popped on my bright vest to liven the outfit up.

As a vest is sleeveless is doesn’t add bulk around the top of your arms – a place most of us older ladies already have quite enough going on!

Reinforce a statement color

Sometimes, especially on sunny days, it’s nice to emphasise a color. Here I’ve added three shades of pink. They don’t look quite right in these photos, but the actual colors, in real life, go together very well.

Because of my age – I’m mid seventies – I don’t feel happy showing my upper arms when I’m with younger people. But the great thing about when I style a vest under another layer on a warm day is that I can remove the shirt once I’m home or with friends of a similar age. Because it’s lovely to feel the sun on your arms after a long winter, isn’t it.

Add a highlight to a classic casual jacket outfit

The navy cotton blazer and white pants is a typical classic look for Spring through summer. Add a pop of interest with a bright vest instead of trying to get a white tee that exactly matches the white of your trousers.

It’s a shame that the vest looks an orangey-red in these pics. That’s not a color I would choose for this outfit. The vest is in fact a glorious hot pink/fuschia shade which marries up with navy a real treat. Basic red looks a bit ordinary.

As we age our bust gets lower. And a crew neck can accentuate this. A pendant chain can break that vast expanse of upper chest to make us look better proportioned, so take a look through your jewlry drawer when you style a vest next time.

An alternative to the white or striped tee

If you follow this blog you know I have a hundred striped tees and vests. They give that French look that I love. But here I’ve teamed up my French-style blazer with the pink vest. It looks a bit less formulaic than my stripes.

Again, this outfit, in real life, does not look the basic red-white-and navy that can get a bit samey. The deep pink just pushes the boundaries of the style a bit.

If you like a classic French look you can look back at my Spring French Chic capsule wardrobe here. It’s less summery as it’s built around navy. And of course there are lots of stripes!

I’ve added some styling notes and examples of inexpensive French items in the post that accompanies my try-on How to get French Chic style over 50.

If you like striped tops I’ve compiled a list of 25 striped tees and bretons that might give you some new ideas. I buy one or more striped tops every year as soon as the sun comes out.

This post is part of a set: ‘One new item – 5 new outfits’ showing simple inexpensive ways to update your wardrobe. Other posts in the set are:

Style a denim dress

Style a gilet

Style a long cardigan

Style cropped linen pants

Style a striped boyfriend shirt

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