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Ask Avery: Vested interest

Photo courtesy of Flickr / lululemon athletica

blog by Avery Hartmans  • 

Dear Avery,
Since it’s been colder over the past few weeks, I’ve been wearing my Land’s End down vest more. I usually just wear it with a sweater, jeans and scarf which I think looks cute but I’m starting to worry it’s not in style anymore. Can I still wear down vests? Am I totally behind the times?

Though I would usually put the kibosh on any style choice favored by lumberjacks or the trucker-hat-wearing, “Punk’d” enthusiasts of the early 2000s, I have to admit one of my deepest, darkest secrets: I love down vests.

Down vests, or to call them by their more adorable synonym, puffy vests, are not the most stylish thing you will ever put on your body. They’re not exactly high-fashion and you won’t see them on the Paris runways. But sometimes you just have to stop being so haughty and embrace the puff. Snobbery: bad. Goose down: good.

I’m not saying that puffy vests are totally hideous, mainly because it’s a strong word and vest-wearing lumberjacks are really strong and carry axes. But really, down vests can be an easy and fairly stylish way to layer on these pre-snowfall yet somehow still bitterly cold days. You outfit may not scream “haute couture” but it doesn’t have to imply you specialize in the destruction of the forest, either.

The trick to wearing a puffy vest and wearing it well is in the layers. Not only are layers key for winter in general, but they’ll help take an average Land’s End vest to the next level, sartorially speaking. Plus, everyone knows lots of layers make you more complex — people will not only automatically assume you’re really warm in terms of temperature, but also really deep in terms of emotions. It’s like a metaphor wrapped in a riddle.

No. 1

Graphic sweaters are all the rage this season and what better way to be a trendsetter than to pair yours with your trusty vest. The prep factor of a dotted crewneck, chambray shirt and high-waisted mini gets toned down with the addition of a wine-colored vest. Throw in some over-the-knee socks and you’ve got yourself the perfect fall outfit.

Vest: Land’s End, $49
Sweater: Madewell, $88
Shirt: Madewell, $69.50
Skirt: Urban Outfitters, $54
Socks: ASOS, $21.11
Scarf: Urban Outfitters, $34


No. 2

I can’t think of a better combination than leather pants and a puffy vest. They’re perhaps the most contrasting items of clothing one could pair but magically, it works. Break up the black on black combo with a thick, slouchy brown sweater and the perfect white tee and you’ll be the most comfortable badass around.

Sweater: Loft, $64.99
Pants: H&M, $34.99
Tee: Free People, $58
Scarf: Forever 21, $15.80


No. 3

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a die-hard fan of fair isle sweaters. Something about that iconic pattern makes me wish for snow and that I could spend Christmas at a ski lodge in Aspen. A fair isle sweater in bright hues with a distinctly tribal-inspired pattern is a whole new breed of my favorite winter sweater. Pair it with a jewel-toned vest, striped thermal and super skinny jeans to brighten even the darkest days of fall.

Sweater: J.Crew, $148
Shirt: Gap, $22.95
Jeans: Zara, $59.90

Photo courtesy of Flickr / lululemon athletica

TAGGED: down vest, fall fashion, land's end, sweaters, vest, winter fashion

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