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Finding New Old Favorites with the Denim Vest Experiment

In the 90s, a denim vest layered over a sun dress or a tee and a maxi skirt was pretty much the uniform of the day. It would never have occurred to me to pack for a trip without at least a couple different denim vest options; a standard one like the above one on the left, perhaps a cropped version in the same style, maybe one with bling, one to be worn with nothing get the point. They were a thing.

At some point, vests sort of fell off the radar. Sure, they never really totally went away, and you can certainly always find them in secondhand places, yet all the same they seem to have lost their "necessary item" status.

Recently however, I find myself with a renewed interest in denim vests. This is most likely a combination of my predilection for Western-inspired clothing combined with me looking at vintage clothing all day long, but that's just what the sartorial side of my brain has decided to focus on of late.


Why a denim vest?

Being a part time Floridian, I like the idea of being able to create layered looks that will work in a warmer climate when my daily Scotland uniform of jeans, t shirt, sweater and cowboy boots is too much. I also really like the idea of putting together double denim seventies-inspired looks like the one below from Free People.

So I've decided to start playing around with adding a denim vest or two into my rotation to see how I can mix it into my very eclectic wardrobe to create more looks. One thing that is particularly nice about undertaking a denim vest experiment (should you decide to join me) is that you absolutely do not have to spend a lot of money on a denim vest. There are always denim vests and jackets on the go at your local thrift store (and of course in the shop of your favorite vintage seller), and you can easily find once that speaks to you without having to take out a second mortgage. You can even make a vest out of an old denim jacket or work shirt!

Last January I found a simple but fun acid washed cropped denim vest while out hunting for thrifted treasures, and I decided in that moment to start my denim vest experiment. So I present to you the Denim Vest Experiment Case No. 1 - a head to toe denim look, which looks like it could have walked right out of the year 2010. This entire look is thrifted, although the jacket is from my shop and is still available at the time of this writing. I've linked some similar-looking products at the bottom. Overall, I really like the way the look turned out, although admittedly for real life I would probably switch out the footwear for something a little more streetwear friendly, like a pair of Converse or funky-chunky loafers.

A triple denim look with a light wash jacket, an acid wash vest, and a pair of medium wash skinny jeans

A complete denim look featuring a vintage light wash jacket

A woman wearing an acid wash denim vest layered over a white tank top

Black leather open toe stiletto booties paired with skinny jeans

A woman modelling an acid wash denim vest with a front zipper.

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