3 Ways to Wear a Quilted Vest (Fall and Winter Layering Ideas For Guys)

by Barron Cuadro  |  in Smart Casual

Next time you go to the grocery store, take a look next to the front door. They’re selling pinecones and bundles of sticks sprayed with that crazy fake cinnamon smell.

It can only mean one thing: it’s winter.

The great news is that we’re into layering season again, and you’ve got a chance to bust out one the season’s best items, the quilted vest! It’s simple, versatile, and adds a ton of depth to your wardrobe.

In this article, we’re going to show you three ways to layer a quilted vest for fall and into winter.

Why a quilted vest in the first place?

Typically, when it’s cold out, we reach for our sweatshirts and sweaters, but quilted vests are often so much better.

It’s a great (and underrated) middle layer that can solve many of your wardrobe problems.

Got a shirt that’s a tad too big? Put a vest over that bad boy and no one will be the wiser.

More structure: Because vests have more structure and shape, a great fitting vest slims down your profile.

More interest: The quilting gives it texture and visual appeal that works so well in a layered outfit. Adding it as a layer gives you a more refined and interesting look that’s hard to get elsewhere.

Warmth without bulk: Not only do quilted vests look great layered under heavier jackets, you also get the body warmth without the bulky sleeves. That whole situation can be unavoidable when layering with sweaters under heavy coats.

Versatile depending on temperature: Best of all, quilted vests can act as outerwear on less chilly days (check out the outfit ideas below), or a second midlayer (over a sweater, underneath a parka) on really really cold days.

The Flatiron quilted vest

tan leather loafers with grey chinos, blue shirt, and black quilted vest
click to enlarge in new tab

I wanna give a quick shout out to our partner for this article, Peter Manning. They have the Flatiron vest (in the photo above) that fits so nicely and is incredibly well-constructed. (Trust me, I have 5 different vests, so I’ve seen my fair share.)

Peter Manning NYC Flatiron Quilted Vest

PMNYC's lightweight quilted vest is handsome enough to stand on its own, but also works as an essential cool-weather layering piece. Whether worn over a shirt in the fall, or layered under a jacket as the temps drop, this vest will quickly become a daily staple.

Check Latest Price

If you’re a shorter guy and you’re not familiar with Peter Manning, you should check them out right now.

PMNYC’s clothes are designed specifically for the “not so tall” guy. Their unique sizing options and appropriately-sized proportions take the trouble of hemming, tapering, and tailoring out of the equation.

If you’re shorter than 5’9″ and looking for closet staples, Peter Manning is a great way to go.

So many guys have found (for the first time) the best fitting clothes they’ve ever tried. And everything I own from the brand is super durable, well-made, and feels high quality. Each piece you pick up will last you for years.

Wanna give Peter Manning a shot? Be one of the first 100 people to use code EG20 at checkout and get 20% off your entire order.

3 Reasons Why You Need a Vest

1. It’s Time to Switch It Up

Too many guys just throw on a puffer jacket and call it a day. And for the dudes who only have a hoodie, it’s nice to have something a little more refined to fall back on.

That’s where the vest comes in.

If you’re only wearing a jacket, you’re missing out on all the layering possibilities. Adding a single vest to your wardrobe is the easiest way to add a ton of variation to your everyday outfits.

2. It Can Save Your Life (and Look Good at the Same Time)

While the vest is great for layering in the fall, it’s even better in the winter. When the temps dip waaay down, the vest is a serious lifesaver… the perfect non-bulky layering piece to throw on!

peter manning navy flatiron vest worn as outerwear vs. a layer underneath a jacket
The quilted vest can be your outerwear piece on a warmer day, or a midlayer under a coat on a colder day! (photo via Peter Manning)

Live in a warmer climate? Perfect.

For folks that are lucky enough to regularly see 60ºF days in winter, a vest looks great over a light flannel or oxford shirt. If it gets cooler at night, just throw on a blazer for that smart sharp casual look.

3. Keep a Slim Profile

We hinted to this earlier, but let’s say you went hard on pizza the night before and you’re feeling a little bloated.

Happens to the best of us, am I right?

Putting on a vest is a well-loved trick used by many guys with a little extra around the midsection. The strong visual line keeps you looking trim because it’s such a well-structured piece.

Also, one of the great things about the Flatiron vest is the button side tabs. You can adjust these to make the vest slimmer if you need to.

3 Ways to Wear a Quilted Vest

Here are three of my favorite ways to rock a quilted vest.

1. Master of the Casual: Open Vest with Button Up

But even if it starts to dip below that, a few quick swaps can keep you warm.

Throwing on warm wool socks and boots will make a big difference, and changing out your all-season button-down for a flannel looks rugged and stylish (with the obvious benefit of having a warmer, softer cloth).

Feel free to use shirts with busier patterns, as well.

The vest breaks it up and keeps the pattern looking more like a fresh pop of color than a visual overload.

2. Norwegian Hunting Man: Over A Shawl Collar Sweater (or Under a Shawl Cardigan)

OK, maybe “hunting” is a stretch since we’re wearing trousers and nice loafers, but those were the initial vibes I was getting 😉

This look will definitely help you stand out—in a good way. These pieces are rarer in men’s closets, so wearing them shows you’ve got a good fashion sense. Plus, they fit in perfectly with a lean wardrobe.

Normally, we suggest layering from lightest to darkest, but if your shawl collar sweater is darker (or even the same color), no problem. The textures are different enough to provide contrast.

Oh, and in case it isn’t obvious, you’re choosing only one sweater to wear.

  • If you’re going for the shawl collar sweater, wear the vest over it.
  • And if you’re opting for the shawl cardigan, make that your top layer (with the vest underneath it).

Don’t knock it til you try it!

3. Winter is Coming: Under a Heavy Coat

This is a look that is definitely more winter appropriate.

The vest adds visual interest to this ensemble, breaking up the weight, color, and texture of your outfit.

If you have the option, go for a vest color that’s different than your go-to winter coat (but if they’re both menswear neutrals similar to this example, it’s totally fine).

It’s time to inVEST in a vest

That was pretty corny, sorry.

But seriously, it’s not going to get warmer anytime soon, you know?

Peter Manning NYC Flatiron Quilted Vest

PMNYC's lightweight quilted vest is handsome enough to stand on its own, but also works as an essential cool-weather layering piece. Whether worn over a shirt in the fall, or layered under a jacket as the temps drop, this vest will quickly become a daily staple.

Check Latest Price

Vests have always been one of my favorite pieces for fall and winter because they’re so versatile and help to add variety to my outfits.

If you don’t already have one (or two), I definitely encourage you to pick one up. And if you’re on the not-so-tall side, give Peter Manning’s Flatiron vest a shot; it’s incredible.

Any other questions about the quilted vest?

Still unsure if you can pull off a vest? Want to know what else you can wear under / over it?