The Way of the Vest

PH: Anne Lise Arnesen

The knitted vest, a garment once considered a cornerstone of 70’s ephemera, has slowly been drifting into obsolescence over the past decade. Revered for it’s practicality, the sleeveless pullover has since the early 1900’s frequently been associated with (than) gentlemanly pursuits gaining intermittent popularity amongst cricket and tennis players alike. While its flamboyant 70’s cousin has perpetually favoured bolder colours and the notorious argyle pattern, the traditional sports vest is infamous for its crisp backdrop against the dark trim framing the classical V neck. The charm of the vest lies in the garment’s  unapologetic contradiction and thoroughly absent commitment to conformism. Customarily knitted in wool, the vest provides just the right amount of coverage to comfort and keep the wearer well-tempered as its lacking sleeves adjust for the possibility of over-extensive layering. While a full sweater may be deemed unnecessary or too warm on many occasions, the vest is seemingly an adequate choice as it helps the wearer to achieve the desired balance.

It is uncertain when women adopted the traditional sportswear, but the rumour has it that it was college-attendees who quickly changed the rules of what was considered women’s attire. When worn together with a crisp blue shirt underneath, the vest naturally lends the nonchalance of boyish charisma to the wearer, adding a sense of delightful brazenness to the women who choose to opt for it.  Despite the fact the garments origins are rooted in pragmatism, the vest doesn’t eschew the allure it’s multiple crevasses provide. Worn during the summery months with little besides, the white knit renders a nonchalant contrast to flashes of golden skin peeking underneath. If the wearer is of the bolder nature and opts for a more oversized version, one might catch seductive glimpses of lines and curves – a deeper neckline may reveal a well toned chest simultaneously elongating the neck – while rendering elegance to it’s wearer, or even providing a charmingly risky insight to the wearers retrograde.
And as with all games of hide and seek, it is always endlessly more enticing with that which is hidden.