Versatile vests are turning into wardrobe staples

January 14, 1993|By Paula Yoo | Paula Yoo,Seattle Times

V is for versatility ... and for vest.

The vest has become the new must-have basic staple in any wardrobe. Forget those stiff three-piece suits that almost made the vest obsolete.

Say good-bye to the severely cut, menswear-only vest of yesteryear. Today's vests mix '70s menswear with '60s bohemia, and are popular among both men and women.

"A vest makes an individual statement," said Kristin Flor, co-manager of The Limited at Westlake. "Each one has different patterns, added-on accessories. It's much more versatile."

So versatile that it's no longer a thrift-store item. "Just walk into any department store and you'll see them," said Ms. Flor. "All the designers are doing it, jumping on the bandwagon. Vests are not just for the avant-garde. Now yuppies are wearing them."

Rapper Marky Mark likes to wear his vest with nothing on underneath. Ms. Flor says the bare chested look is pretty hot. "A man with a good body, a hunk, would look really good wearing a vest without a shirt on, but it's too cold now to wear a vest alone. Guys in L.A. could still wear them."

Denise Fogleman, an employee at the Fritzi Ritz Vintage Clothing Store in Seattle, says vests have become especially popular among women. The vest can be worn with pants or with a skirt, she says.

But the best part about a vest is decorating yourself. "I talked to a lady who bought a man's vest and put rhinestone pins on it for a party," Ms. Fogleman said. "I've seen people buy old buttons to decorate their vests."

Or you can buy already-decorated vests at department stores. How about prices? Anywhere from the thrift store price of $12 to the big name designer tag of $900.

Now maybe Marky Mark will discover the cardigan.

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