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What are Different Types of Vests?

By Lauren Romano
Updated May 21, 2024
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Although there are several types of vests, the base form is a sleeveless article of clothing worn on the torso of the body that is at, or close to being, waist length. The neckline of the vest is a “v” formation. The vest can button or zip down the front or, in some cases, have neither.

Men typically wear suit vests. The vest, which usually has three to four buttons, goes underneath a suit jacket. More often then not, it will be the same color as the suit.

Similar to suit vests, tuxedo vests typically go underneath a tuxedo jacket and over a button-down shirt. They are popular to wear for weddings and other formal events, such as prom. In some cases, they are brightly colored and have various textures or patterns to give a unique touch to the ensemble. They are also popular for waiters in restaurants to wear over a white or black button-down shirt, but usually without the jacket, as part of their uniform. Buttons down the front close the vest.

Sweater vests are popular to wear to the offices where employees are not required to wear suits. Typically worn over a button-down shirt and sometimes accompanied with a tie, they are still workplace-appropriate. Men and women alike can wear them. They come in several different styles, colors and textures. This type of vest is usually a pullover without any buttons or zippers.

Puffer vests are popular to wear in the cold weather or just as the seasons start to change when a jacket is too heavy. Some are made for the very cold weather, while others are suitable for warmer temperatures. The insides are usually polyester, nylon or down. The outside has a quilted, puffy appearance to it, and it closes by a zipper. In some cases, the vest will also be waterproof.

Another type of vest is the cropped vest. It is usually shorter and more form fitting then the typical vest. The vest, worn by women, usually ends around the midriff. When wearing this style vest, the woman may or may not wear a shirt underneath. Buttons or a zipper typically close the vest.

Whatever the preference, there are several different types and styles of vests for both men and women. They are appropriate for almost any occasion and come in a variety of different looks. Almost everyone, regardless of size, age or gender, can find a suitable vest.

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Discussion Comments
By Misscoco — On May 31, 2011

Even though I don't cycle, I know many people who do, and lots of cyclists wear some form of reflective clothing. But, do they provide enough protection?

I think one of the best kinds of safety vests are those that are made from lightweight and breathable mesh. They're also good for running and hiking. City biking can be so dangerous. One of my cousins was injured seriously in a car/bike accident.

Some of these mesh vests have a LED strip attached to them. It stays bright up to 150 hours and it can be seen from about a mile away. I think some of them have a flash feature,also.

Thinking about convenience, the biker's vest has a long tail in back so you can fit them over your backpack and jacket.

Does anyone know what some of the general requirements for bikers on city streets are?

By B707 — On May 30, 2011

I have always loved to wear vests of many different kinds. One reason I like them better than jackets is because if you are wearing long sleeves, it's difficult to get the jacket sleeve on without getting your sweater or shirt sleeve all twisted up. With a vest, you just slip it right on.

Ladies vests now come in some very beautiful fabrics like silk, and fine woolens. With the right jewelry and skirt or pants, they can be worn to a very dressy affair.

Aside from fashion and keeping warm, they are very useful when used for safety in some occupations. Road workers depend on the reflective vests to keep them safe.

I'm sure the vest has been around for thousands of years, and it probably will be part of our wardrobes for many more.

By bagley79 — On May 30, 2011

My husband works construction and wears a safety vest many times during the week. Not only does it fulfill the purpose of helping to keep him safe, but also has many pockets where he can keep the tools he needs handy.

There are so many different styles and purposes for vests. You can wear them with a suit when you are dressing up, or wear them for work or when hunting.

I often wear a down vest in the winter under my coat for extra warmth. They are so easy to put on and take off and can be worn by anybody that I don't ever see them going out of style.

By julies — On May 30, 2011

I live in the country and walk my dogs on our country roads every day. I often walk early in the morning and also in the evenings. If it is dark outside, I will always wear my reflective vest so I will easily be seen when traffic comes by.

I keep it just by the door and it is so easy to throw on and wear over anything else that I have on. I feel much safer with the reflective stripes knowing that I can be seen much easier than if I didn't have it on.

The nice thing about quickly throwing on a vest is that you don't have to worry about wearing light colored clothing - you can just put the reflective vest on and you are good to go.

By John57 — On May 30, 2011

Vests are a very versatile item of clothing that can be worn with just about anything. I belong to a motorcycle club and usually wear a leather vest that represents my club when I ride my motorcycle.

One nice thing about wearing vests is that you can put them over any kind of shirt and they look good no matter if they are mens or womens vests.

They can provide warmth if it is cold, but if you get too hot, you can remove your vest and just have your shirt on.

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