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Dressing for transitional weather is quite literally the bane of my existence. Living in central California means the weather from December to May can be extremely temperamental (e.g. not sunny and 75). I’m either sweating or shivering for approximately 6 months out of the year.
The purchase of my first vest however, took the guesswork out of comfortably layering throughout winter and once the days got a bit warmer. Vests are all about versatility and packability, which is precisely the kind of piece needed for a woman on the go–such as myself. Now that I’m hooked, I won’t stop talking about it. Check out my top vest picks below, fit for any occasion you might find yourself in this season.
Our Top 6 Vests, In Order From Most to Least Technical:
- LuLulemon Another Mile Vest, $168
- Patagonia Women's Synchilla Fleece Vest, $109
- Vuori Canyon Insulated Vest, $148
- Le Surf. Le Bikini Vest, $90
- Noize Charlie Short Length Puffer Vest, $172 (was $215)
- The Knotty Ones Kalvos Dove Grey Merino Wool Vest, $180
I began training for a half marathon back in November, and I quickly found that vests are the unsung heroes of temperature control and convenience. However you're moving and grooving this season, wearing puffers and jackets during the transition from winter to spring can quickly bog you down. Instead, a vest insulates your core while allowing the rest of you to breathe; regulating your temperature in a more comfortable way. And if you do need to shed layers, holding onto a vest while you go about your business is much easier than doing so with a bulky jacket or coat. I opted for this running vest with a removable hood from Lululemon, not only because it’s sleek and lightweight, but because I could see myself wearing it to do things other than work out. At $168, the versatility component was important to me. It's now one of my favorite layers to throw on when grabbing coffee or to get my nails done, and I wouldn't have been able to train in winter without it.
Perfect for hikes, walks and errands, every active gal needs this staple vest. The fleece keeps your trunk ultra warm without trapping too much heat, and the longer half zip provides extra temperature control. As a sucker for anything oversized, I gravitate towards this option for the relaxed fit—minus the bulk or bagginess that a crew neck or sweater might add. It also allows more room to layer if needed. Throw this on top of a sweater or tee, and pair with your favorite light wash jeans and chunky sneakers or clogs for a look that's begging for a farmer’s market run.
This style from Vuori is another top contender. I was introduced to this brand by my best friend who is obsessed with the quality and fit of their tops. When I saw the color and hem of this vest, I knew it was comin’ home with me (virtually, as I added to cart). This thing is seriously so soft, and surprisingly warm considering it is fairly thin. An added bonus though, as it’s easy to stuff in a carry on or overnight bag. It has a solid middle of the road silhouette: not fitted but not oversized, and it can lean more technical or more casual depending on what you pair it with. Layer with a chunky knit and jeans for a shopping date or afternoon picnic. For a comfy option, grab your favorite sweatpants, beanie and bestie to walk the shores of your nearest body of water all while staying perfectly toasty.
This funky micro vest from Le Surf is the epitome of unapologetically cool; the brand defines themselves as a vintage leisure sport company with penchants for ski, surf, ping pong and pickleball (sign me up). This attitude spills over into the vest’s cropped design, fittingly named Le Bikini. Take their advice and throw it over your favorite suit while hot tubbing, or try it as a ski layer to bomb down some groomers. I currently own a cropped puffer that I like but don't love the quality of, so I’m eager to add this piece to my spring ski arsenal. I have a hyperfixation on pairing this vest with Halfdays’s base layers and ski pants for the quintessential aprés moment. Want to see what I mean? Check out our all things ski section for our styling recs.
Noize Charlie Short Length Puffer Vest, $172 (was $215)
This option from Noize is a step above the standard puffer vest. The longer hemline and option to cinch the waist gives a clean, put–together feel and adds more intention to the style. Basically, it looks like you put way more effort into your morning walk outfit than anyone would guess. If you’re into the boxier fit, you can also wear this sans belt and it becomes a completely different piece. While this vest could be styled a million and one ways, try adding a flared yoga pant like these from Aerie (seriously the most flattering pair I own, and on sale) with platform boots for the perfect marriage of classy and cozy.
This gorgeous merino sweater vest belongs to The Knotty Ones: a women owned and operated brand that creates seriously dreamy, hand knit pieces from sustainable yarn. With a high low hem and adjustable buckle side ties, it is the perfect blend of simple yet sophisticated. This vest is at a more modest price of $180 (with the current euros to dollars exchange rate), considering material quality and manufacturing process. Each piece is made to order by a small community of female knitters in Lithuania. You can view each knitter’s profile here–how freaking cute is that? As for the yarn: non–itchy, moisture wicking and naturally antibacterial, Merino wool is the gold standard for beautiful and functional garments. Meaning: this vest can act both as a chic brunch outfit or an unexpected addition to your ski layer line up.