Vests Are Better Than Tank Tops: 6 Outfit Ideas


We all need a sleeveless option in the summer to stay cool, and I’m here to make the case that vests are the coolest option in both senses of the word. For a gal who has always loved a suit moment and a mix of sporty/preppy looks, vests are an upgrade from tank tops that I think is so worth trying.

I’ve been sporting a vest as one of my favorite summer pieces for a few years now. Not only do vests look amazing as tops, but you have the versatility to wear them as toppers, too.

They add that 3rd element to outfits in the summer without adding heat and make me feel a bit more confident if I’m sporting a fitted tank dress.

white linen cotton vest with barrel jeans for summer

Similar Vest (M or this or this) | Similar Jeans | Similar Clutch

Need A Summer Vest? Here Are Some Options

I love sticking with cotton & linen blends for my vests (rayon is ok, too) but anything heavier or too synthetic is not going to be comfy when it really heats up. My exact vest above is older Alex Mill, but I’ve linked to the updated one I just got in (had to size up.) This cotton option from J.Crew looks like a fab fab summer option for less! Ooh and this one from Reformation, too!

Here are a few of my top picks right now for summer vests, including a couple I’ll show below. Note: My ivory and black vests here are both from summers past and have collars (which I’m now having the hardest time finding, besides that Reformation one.) But J.Crew, Anthropologie and Alex Mill are continually my favorite places to find good summery vests in linen and cotton blends.

5 Outfits I Love Featuring Vests

Oh and hey…another bonus of vests is they tend to be easier to wear with regular bras than most tank tops. And if the vest has deeper armholes, I just wear a bra in the same color as the vest. (I use this for regular sleeveless tops with deep armholes, too!)

Speaking of versatility, vests aren’t just one-season-and done-pieces, either. You can definitely layer them under blazers and jackets or over tees the rest of the year. Getting the fit right is important but when you find one you love, I think you’ll agree with me that they are a rad choice for summer.

1 | As A Top, With Wide Leg Cuffed Jeans

pinstriped vest worn with wide leg cuffed AGOLDE jeans, baseball hat and sneakers for summer

Similar Vest | Jeans (29) |  Sneakers | Similar Hat | Bag

This has been my most recent updated combo for wearing a vest as a top. I love the wide leg cuffed jean trend and have been fully embracing it this spring and early summer.

I like that the vests I own hit right at my waistband and I don’t have to deal with tucking. I’ve been really digging the cropped vs. long combo with my tops and jeans this year for a fresh look without all the bulk. Plus, it’s cooler!

black cotton Anthropologie vest worn with wide leg cuffed AGOLDE jeans, baseball hat and Everlane sandals for summer

Similar Vest | Jeans (29) |  Sandals | Similar Hat | Similar Bag

2 | Over a Tank Dress

I love wearing my vests as tops, but like I mentioned before, they can also work as a ‘summer jacket’, if you will. Layering a vest over a tank dress is my favorite way to add a little more coverage without a long sleeve.

With Heels For Date Night

white linen vest over Beyond Yoga tank dress with Isabel Marant boots and Staud bag

Similar Vest (M or this or this) |  Dress (S) | Boots | Similar Staud Bags

This has been a long-time favorite combination for just about anywhere I want to go in the summer. It’s a great outfit for when I want to feel cool but put-together.

With Sneakers For Daytime

white linen vest over Beyond Yoga tank dress and Golden Goose mid star sneakers

Similar Vest (M or this or this) |  Dress (S) | Sneakers

I can easily level-up this stretchy, sporty dress from Beyond Yoga with shoes and accessories, or tone it down with sneakers. In addition to being more covered, the vest just makes both outfits more interesting, too.

3 | As A Top, With Barrel Jeans

white linen cotton vest with barrel jeans for summer

Similar Vest (M or this or this) | Similar Jeans | Similar Clutch

There’s something I love about this silhouette. The vest levels up the barrel jeans with just a bit more structure than a tee or tank top would. It works in contrasting colors as well as matching shades, like I have on below.

I’ve been lifting more weights this year and, as things have shifted in my body with time, too, I needed to size up in this Alex Mill vest. These pics are from last year when I was still in a M. I have a L now in the current version and love it. I can still wear the M open, as you’ll see below in the next outfit.

ivory linen cotton vest with Everlane utility barrel pants in ivory for summer

Similar Vest (M or this or this) | Barrel Pants (8)| Similar Sandals

4 | To Break-Up A Matching Set

white linen cotton vest styled with Amazon linen blend matching tank and wide leg pants set

Similar Vest (M or this or this) | Set (M) | Similar Sandals

I love my linen blend sets, and I also love layering in this vest for a little switch-up. I could wear it solo with the pants and heels for a way to dress these up a bit. (These would make for great travel options!)

5 | As A Matching Set

Gap pinstripe white and navy vest with matching pleated trousers and red heels

Vest (LP) | Pants (8) | Heels | Similar Bag

A matching linen vest and trousers were my dream come true outfit this late spring. I wore this to my bestie’s daughter’s graduation in Nashville and it was perfect.

This outfit felt pulled together and cool and just my vibe. Highly recommend grabbing this set (comes in a few other neutrals) from Gap if you like this look, too!

6 | As A Top, With Cargo Pants Or Skirt

white linen cotton vest with black Free People cargo jeans for summer

Similar Vest (M or this or this) | Similar Cargo Pants | Sandals | Similar Bag

This is a favorite combo because it’s a little mixing and matching of genres, just how I like it. The vest looks pulled together and structured, the cargo pants say “casj”, and I adore pairing them together. Especially with a little heel.

A cargo skirt is another favorite of mine for a similar option, especially when it gets warmer. Btw, these are my very favorite undies to wear under dresses and skirts for the summer! They’re incredible!

white linen cotton vest with black  Nordstrom cargo skirt for summer

Similar Vest (M or this or this) | Similar Skirt | Sandals



Come say hey over on my Instagram…for more style stuff, food stuff, travel stuff and funny stuff. xo

Thank you Posy Quarterman for the non-selfie photos.


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