Fashion trends usually fall in one of two categories: future-defining, avant-garde ones (e.g. asymmetrical cuts) or nostalgic but updated ones (e.g. flare jeans). Sweater vests, which are defining the Fall 2020 season, belong in the second category alongside flare jeans and eyewear chains. What used to evoke images of stereotypical nerds and/or country club bigwigs in any 90s-2000s sitcoms is now the new hot item for the cool girls, guys, and everyone else in between. Knitwear has an interesting place in the fashion world (is it a faux pas or is it a nostalgic statement of personal flair?), but that didn’t stop the likes of Gucci, Kenneth Ize, and Prada from including sweater vests in their Fall/Winter 2020 runways.

Kenneth Ize Fall/Winter 2020 collection includes tasteful sweater vests like this cut with an analogous color scheme.
Kenneth Ize Fall/Winter 2020 collection includes tasteful sweater vests like this cut with an analogous color scheme. Photo credit: Getty Images

Celebrities have also hopped on the trend as we have seen style icons Harry Styles with his sheep-print Lanvin sweater vest and Bella Hadid with a utility sweater vest from Reese Cooper. Similar to other revived trends like patchwork jeans, sweater vests are coming back into style with more inclusivity than before. Gone are gender and socioeconomic lines – men’s and women’s fashion have incorporated similar vest styles and they are popular throughout society. Also, sweater vests are no longer monotone and snooze-worthy. Designers have included eye-catching styles into their sweater vests and even previous styles, such as argyle patterns, have been tastefully re-introduced to society in their creations.

I wonder if Harry Styles knows how many people are tuned into his fashion.
I wonder if Harry Styles knows how many people are tuned into his fashion. Photo credit: Vogue

While sweater vests are enjoying their time in the 21st century limelight, they can just as easily fade out if people don’t embrace the subtleties with which the trend came back. Embracing those subtleties means to wear the sweater vests in a style fitting the expanded fashion realm of 2020, rather than the stock environment of an ABC Family special. If you want to elevate your sweater vests beyond the styles of Chandler Bing from Friends (which may be your goal – no judgement!), check out these styles.

Internet favorite Emma Chamberlain pairs a colorful sweater vest with a fashionably cut skirt.
Internet favorite Emma Chamberlain pairs a colorful sweater vest with a fashionably cut skirt. Photo credit: Emma Chamberlain
Kaia Gerber emulates both order through her sweater vest and chaos through, well, everything else.
Kaia Gerber emulates both order through her sweater vest and chaos through, well, everything else. Photo credit: i-D Magazine
The argyle already says a lot, so Bella Hadid went with more muted colors in the rest of her outfit to give the argyle space to speak.
The argyle already says a lot, so Bella Hadid went with more muted colors in the rest of her outfit to give the argyle space to speak. Photo credit: Laurent & StyleCaster
13 Reasons Why's Tommy Dorfman adds structure to his sweater vest look with a button down underneath.
13 Reasons Why's Tommy Dorfman adds structure to his sweater vest look with a button down underneath. Photo credit: Tommy Dorfman
Internet favorite Emma Chamberlain tucks in her sweater vest for a more pinned look, paired with bright jeans and a head tilt made for the camera.
Emma Chamberlain tucks in her sweater vest for a more pinned look, paired with bright jeans and a head tilt made for the camera. Photo credit: Emma Chamberlain
Influencer Wisdom Kaye let the bold orange of his sweater vest stand out amidst similar but muted colors.
Influencer Wisdom Kaye let the bold orange of his sweater vest stand out amidst similar but muted colors. Photo credit: Wisdom Kaye
Sean O'Pry covered Les Echos in this retro look featuring a tucked-in sweater vest and a polo underneath.
Sean O'Pry covered Les Echos in this retro look featuring a tucked-in sweater vest and a polo underneath. Photo credit: Les Echos
Puffy sleeves elevate any kind of sweater vest.
Puffy sleeves elevate any kind of sweater vest. Photo credit: Megan Adelaide Vega
Rosé from Blackpink wears an oversized sweater vest, which pairs cutely with her black skirt.
Rosé from Blackpink wears an oversized sweater vest, which pairs cutely with her black skirt. Photo credit: Rose
Mushfequr Rahman

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