Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
Sweater vests occupy that sweet space where they keep you about 85% as warm as a traditional sweater but while taking up 100% less of that oh so precious sleeve space in your outerwear. We’re about at the end of sweater season, but don’t worry, these sweater vest options take up way less space in your dresser drawer.
1)The Real McCoy’s: Sleeveless Wool Sweater
Anyone who is familiar with The Real McCoy’s will know about their devotion to the reproduction of historically accurate garments, and their Sleeveless Wool Sweater is no different. It’s modeled after knitwear produced by the Red Cross during World War II and features a 100% wool body with hand-knit finishes. Available in two colors, this is a great choice for those interested in sweater vests for their layering ability.
Available for $460 from Clutch Cafe.
2)RRL: Fairisle Jacquard V-Neck Vest
RRL is Ralph Lauren’s workwear brand, and while many of us prefer smaller, boutique brands it’s hard to deny the solid grasp they have over traditional designs. As you’d expect, that means their classic, Fairisle Sweater Vest is exceptionally well executed. The pattern is simplistic and the focus on neutral colors allows it to be worn with a wide range of shirts. The 61%/20%/19% wool/cotton/lambswool blend results in a warm layering piece that remains breathable, making it a great option for those your slightly dressed-up winter days.
Available for $349 from Ralph Lauren.
3)Thom Sweeney: Sleeveless Cardigan
If you are looking for a sweater vest that is refined and minimalist to wear as part of your more formal outfits, then look no further than Thom Sweeney’s Sleeveless Cardigan.The fine, merino wool fabric leaves an elegant finish that is accented by the strong V-neck, button closure, a fine ribbing at the waist.
Available for £220 from Thom Sweeney.
4)Andersen-Andersen: Skipper Vest
Andersen-Andersen is one of the biggest names in knitwear, so it should come as no surprise that they have a killer sweater vest. Their so name Skipper Vest combines the beauty of natural, undyed merino wool with a minimalist design that results in a vest that is far greater than the sum of its parts. The ribbing at the neck and waist, while being a different knitting pattern, flows seamlessly into the body of the cardigan giving it a beautiful finish. This vest is completed with buffalo horn buttons and two welt hand pockets on the sides.
Available for $345 from Division Road.
5)William Lockie: Cashmere Sweater Vest
If you are looking for a nice, new sweater vest and nothing but cashmere will do then William Lockie’s Cashmere Sweater is worth your consideration. Made in the U.K. form 100% cashmere with mother-of-pearl buttons, this vest features the classic patterning, small buttons, and ribbed trims that you’d expect from top notch knitwear companies. If any garment is going to encourage you to dress more formally more often, it’s this one.
Available for $506 from Mr. Porter.
Plus One – Connolly: Wool Drop Back Car Vest
Connolly’s Wool Drop Back Car Vest might not be the iconic style you think of when you picture a sweater vest, but this 100% merino wool, waffle-knit vest is as much a sweater vest as any other. However, the fine weave of the yarns, large pockets, bomber style collar, and zippered closure make this sweater unlike any you have ever seen previously. While I can’t imagine this replacing more formal pieces, it’s great to see innovation in this less common garment style.
Available for £290 from Connolly.