If you want to do layering right in winter, the vest is a garment not to overlook. It’s the perfect piece to toss on underneath your jacket for that last boost of warmth you need, and it may very well be the only thing you need on the surprisingly warm days of winter.
With outdoor gear still being ubiquitous in fashion, we’re especially drawn to both fleece and puffer vests. They’re tailor made as the ideal mid-layer for winter, and there’s a cozy factor that just can’t be beat coming from other sectors. Some may insist finance bros have ruined the Patagonia vest and its ilk — but despite their best efforts, you can absolutely pull off the adoption of gorp without wearing an air of entitlement.
To keep your torso maximally insulated, we’ve put together our favorite vests from the outdoor sector and the more fashionable brands making the look their own. Pick up just one and you’ve got your go-to mid-layer for months to come, ready to stand pat as you switch out jackets and shirts underneath.
Klättermusen Skoll Wool Vest ($300)
A high-pile wool replaces your typical fleece for one of the warmest vests you can wear. Consider wool nature’s natural technical material, as it’ll keep you nice and toasty even when wet.
Patagonia Retro-X Vest ($150)
Patagonia’s Retro-X is the standard bearer for fleece jackets and vests, the type of garment everyone should wear and everyone can pull off. With that settled, the only question left is which is the right color for you.
Norbit Ventilation Inner Down Vest (~$466)
No surface area is left uncovered in this striking puffer vest from Hiroshi Nozawa’s Norbit. An asymmetrical zipper opening is barely perceivable, while additional side zips add additional ventilation for a variety of climates.
La Paz Penouço Vest ($190)
No labels are needed here, as Portuguese brand La Paz sticks with the basics on a fleece vest in an ultra-clean creamy white.
Nike ACG Therma-FIT ADV Lunar Lake Vest ($250)
Nike’s recently launched FIT-ADV line signals its most technologically informed garments, including this puffer vest made after studying thermography inside an Icelandic glacier. Recycled down is targeted where you need it most to keep warm, and the vest comes with a sack for easy packing on whatever journey you may endure.
Kapital 60/40 Do-Gi Shashiko Fleece Vest ($640)
Cult Japanese brand Kapital makes the most drool-worthy of fleeces, but the shashiko-inspired pile is only part of the appeal here. Corduroy is used on the collar of this hybrid vest, while canvas-paneling adds a bit of durability to your splurge.
Y-3 Cloud Vest ($258)
Yohji Yamamoto and Adidas’ collaborative line utilizes Thinsulate insulation and a Pertex shell for the imperfect pattern on this puffer vest. It’s on sale for 25-percent off through Ssense, so you’ll want to move quick on one of the best discounts of the season.
AGR Gradient Puffer Vest ($645)
Make your vest the main attraction of your fit with this head-turning rainbow gradient from AGR, which typically plies its trade in knitwear. In the dreariest days of winter, this vest will be just the pop of color you need.