Two people in diamond pttern knitwear laying back on hedgerows

We’re All Going to be Obsessed with Sweater Vests This Autumn

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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?

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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 It came to be seen in relation to the outdated and the old, much too grandpa-ish to be deemed cool or runway-ready.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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Green sweater vest with the ord 'Orlando' on the front in cursive

Chateau Orlando

Orlando Vest, €255, chateauorlando.com

Model in prange and brown sweater vest and neutral shirt

Rejina Pyo

Robyn Vest Alpaca Blend Orange, £325, rejinapyo.com

Diamond knitted vest

MAJE

Monoly Floral-Pattern Cropped Stretch-Knit Sweater Vest, £179, selfridges.com

Neatrual coloured sweater vest with wavy pattern

Chateau Orlando

Ziggy Vest, €295, chateauorlando.com

Pink and red knitted vest

Molly Goddard

Myla Vest Red Pink, £420, mollygoddard.com

Model stood outdoors at sunset wearing a vest and frill collared shirt

TOAST

Fair Isle Tank, £125, toa.st

Model in orange sweater vest

Acne Studios

Flower-Jacquard Vest Orange Multi (UK 8), rent from £37, byrotation.com

Blue vest with 'David Bowie Hunky Dory' on the front in cream

HADES

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

Black vest with a pink smiley face

Ganni

Black Knit Vest (UK 12), rent from £25, byrotation.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 

Blue vest with waterfall design

House of Sunny

Chasing Waterfalls Vest, £115, houseofsunny.co.uk

Model in pink vest

GCBFASHION

‘Clever clogs’ pink knitted vest (UK 10), rent from £55, byrotation.com

Deveaux New York Ribbed-knit cotton-blend sweater vest

Deveaux New York

Ribbed-knit cotton-blend sweater vest, £225, mytheresa.com

Featured image: Chateau Orlando