Model in red sweater vest standing next to a sculpture

Bring Back the 70s with these Chic Sweater Vests

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I'ma take your grandpa's style

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Once regarded as the uniform of nerds, librarians and ageing high school teachers, the sweater vest is now experiencing a huge comeback amongst Millennials and Gen Z’ers. When did grandpa fashion come into style? And why do we love it so much?

A 70s Revival: Sweater Vest Chic

The sweater vest hasn’t had the best rep when it comes to fashion history. Before it walked the runways and high streets of today, our favourite outfit staple was knocking around the wardrobes of some rather unfashionable characters (usually men, go figure). In the 1950s, sweater vests were the go-to layering item for those wanting to achieve the preppy aesthetic, with many men (and not so many women) taking part in the trend.

Despite the shaky start, however, the sweater vest came to be a hugely popular accessory by the 1970s, with both genders getting in on the fun. Some famous faces known for pulling off a vest or two include Clifton Davis, Catherine Deneuve and Sir Paul McCartney.

 

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But by the 90s, the sweater vest lost its edge. It came to be seen in relation to the outdated and the old, much too grandpa-ish to be deemed cool or runway-ready. The slew of characters in the media adopting the style as part of the ‘comically nerdy’ trope certainly didn’t help raise the garment’s street credentials. Think Neville Longbottom, Raj Koothrappali and Chandler Bing, all of whom can be seen wearing rather muddy-looking sweater vests at one point or another.

The only time the sweater vest came close to making a breakthrough was when preppy-chic styles began worming their way box office hits like Clueless – and even then, it was only the girls having fun.

 

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The modern obsession with sweater vests unsurprisingly coincides with a greater demand for genderless fashion, with stars like Harry Styles, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jennie Kim, Kendall Jenner, and Bella Hadid all hedging their bets on a flare of newly dubbed ‘grandpa-chic’. Similarly, leading fashion houses and designers are jumping on the bandwagon with their own, revamped take on the vest – from Molly Goddard and Veronica Beard to the newly launched Chateau Orlando.

Want to channel your inner grandpa? Shop the edit below.

While we’re all for exploring what’s new at our favourite boutiques, we must remember to be mindful of the planet. With many trends the product of style recycling, it’s easy to instead try digging around the back of your wardrobe for your next obsession. Alternatively, try sourcing from rental and resale sites.

Stylish Sweater Vests For 2022

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Model in orange sweater vest

Acne Studios Flower-Jacquard Vest Orange Multi (UK 8), rent from £35, byrotation.com

Black vest with a pink smiley face

Ganni Black Knit Vest (UK 12), rent from £23, byrotation.com

Model in purple sweater vest

MaisonCléo BELLA lilac and chocolate knitted oversize wool vest, €290, maisoncleo.com

Chateau Orlando - Blue Garden Trellis Vest

Chateau Orlando Blue Garden Trellis Vest, €190, chateauorlando.com

Warm Hugs Only Zebra Print Brown and Cream Knit Vest With Tassles

Warm Hugs Only Zebra Print Brown and Cream Knit Vest With Tassles, rent from £19 for four days, rotaro.co.uk 

House of Sunny Ride a White Swan Sweater Vest

House of Sunny Ride a White Swan Sweater Vest, £87, houseofsunny.co.uk

Model in pink vest

GCBFASHION ‘Clever clogs’ pink knitted vest (UK 10), rent from £52, byrotation.com

HADES David Bowie Hunky Dory Vest

HADES David Bowie Hunky Dory Vest, £225, hades-shop.co.uk

Molly Goddard Bibi Vest Pink Fairisle

Molly Goddard Bibi Vest Pink Fairisle, £400, mollygoddard.com

ZARA Check Knit Vest

ZARA Check Knit Vest, £25.99, zara.com

STAUD Joker argyle cotton-blend tank

STAUD Joker argyle cotton-blend tank, £105, net-a-porter.com

Sandro Poppy sleeveless knitted jumper

Sandro Poppy sleeveless knitted jumper, £125.40, selfridges.com

COS Wool Tabard Knitted Vest

COS Wool Tabard Knitted Vest, £69, cosstores.com

JW Anderson Strawberry V-Neck Vest

JW Anderson Strawberry V-Neck Vest, £330, jwanderson.com

TOAST Fair Isle Knitted Tank

TOAST Fair Isle Knitted Tank, £140, toa.st

OBEY Floral-intarsia knitted sweater vest

OBEY Floral-intarsia knitted sweater vest, £90, selfridges.com

Monki Beige knitted vest

Monki Beige knitted vest, £20, monki.com

Veronica Beard Helenka intarsia merino wool-blend tank

Veronica Beard Helenka intarsia merino wool-blend tank, £123.90, net-a-porter.com

Elzinga Checkboard-jacquard sleeveless sweater vest

Elzinga Checkboard-jacquard sleeveless sweater vest, £89, matchesfashion.com

Deveaux New York Ribbed-knit cotton-blend sweater vest

Deveaux New York Ribbed-knit cotton-blend sweater vest, £376, mytheresa.com

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