It’s Better In My Head

BCBGMAXAZRIA knit vest, xxs :: Banana Republic blouse, 00P :: Paige jeans (hemmed), 23 :: Ann Taylor belt, xs :: Christian Louboutin Simple 85 pumps, 35 :: Chanel M/L Classic Flap

I was instantly drawn to this knit vest, and while I still really like it and have worn it a few times now, I feel the outfits I’ve put together with it look better envisioned in my head than in practice. I’m not quite sure if it’s my styling limitations, lack of creativity, or just the vest that isn’t working.

Case in point #1: I wore the outfit in the photo above for a day of running errands, and felt very put together in it at the time. But after taking the photos with the intent of an OOTD post, I had a change of heart. As I stared at the photo, it felt very “meh” and as if there was too much bulk on top.

BCBGMAXAZRIA knit vest, xxs :: Ann Taylor dress shirt, 00P :: Paige jeans (altered), 24 :: Ann Taylor belt, xs :: Cole Haan shoes, 5 :: Chanel M/L Classic Flap

Case in point #2: I thought leaving the vest open might be a better choice, so wore the outfit above around town and took photos for an OOTD post. Once again, as I looked at the photos, the outfit just wasn’t living up my expectations.

Both of these OOTD posts ended up abandoned, and as I was going through my drafts, I realized I had two sad, unfinished posts, both of which just so happened to be outfits in which I was trying to make this particular knit vest work.

This vest has grand potential…in my head. Now I’m wondering if that’s the only place it will really look the way I want it to. Maybe I’m not being creative enough, or maybe I have too big of expectations. Maybe it looks just fine, and it’s me who’s being unreasonable.

So, my questions for you are:

Is it me, or the vest? Have I just not unleashed it’s coolness yet? Is it just not very cool to begin with? Or are my expectations out of whack, and it looks just fine? How would you style it?

Join the Conversation


  1. says: R.L.

     I think the capped sleeves make it less versatile, but I happen to think it looks great over more fitted sleeves.  For instance, I really like look #2 and also how you styled it in your original post.  But for some reason the baggier sleeves of look #1 and dressiness of the pearls seem a little odd with vest.  I’d stick with sleeveless tops for warm weather and fitted sleeves for cooler weather.  As far as belted or not, I say both work.

  2. says: Cher

    Hmmm. I think the vest itself has potential, but I think it’s more of an “edgier” piece than how you’re treating it. Like R.L. said, the pearls seem a little off. And as much as it pains me to say it, I probably wouldn’t wear the Chanel with it either. LOL. It’s a little too posh and femme for such a casual and edgy piece. As to thinking up outfits in your head and not working in actual practice? Happens to me all the time. That’s just part of the process of trying to put together great outfits! Can’t wait until your next post with this vest!

    1. LOL. Leave it to me to take an edgy piece and try to wear it with pearls and silk button downs. =P

      I think you’re right. I even remember thinking, “this is an edgier piece than I have in my wardrobe!”, and liking it for that very reason. Time to think outside the preppy box! Thanks Cher.

  3. says: ramnik

    I think it’s the best itself. I think if the fabric was not as stiff these outfits would’ve worked fine. Maybe swap the pearl necklace for a statement necklace like one with multiple chains? For me, its définiteur thé vest

  4. Personally….I still find vests tricky to style.  I think you did a great job here, what may be throwing you off is that the vest is not as fitted as the ones you are normally accustomed to.  

  5. Personally….I still find vests tricky to style.  I think you did a great job here, what may be throwing you off is that the vest is not as fitted as the ones you are normally accustomed to.  

  6. says: Myminibag

    I actually like the vest look on you. Especially in the second photo where you unbutton it. I think the unbutton look gives you a more slender look and drags the eye to your whole outfit. While the button and belt look puts too much emphasis on your top half.

    I also love the Paige jeans. Took a look at the price tag and OMG is it expensive. But I can’t resist and bought myself one.

    How much does it cost to hem jeans?

    1. Hi Myminibag! Yes, Paige is expensive at full price! But they fit me so nice in the rise and tush, that every now and then I’ll splurge. You can also find them pretty often at Nordstrom Rack at a good discount! It should only cost $10-$15 to hem the jeans, depending on if you want an original or regular hem. If you’re not sure what that means, check out this post:

  7. says: Jessy

    I think it’s the fact that the vest is cap sleeved that makes it difficult to style. Your looks aren’t bad though!! I always get times where I take outfit pics..and realize that I don’t look as good as I had imagined. HAHA Story of our lives .. :P

  8. says: rebarnette

    I think you should lose the collared shirts – those seem to be what is bulking you up. If the vest is the statement piece, then you’re piling too much on top and making it look sad and bulky. In all seriousness, I would do a pretty fitted white l/s shirt – without a collar. Even a plain white l/s tee would look darling dressed up with a necklace and the vest tied with a belt again! 

  9. says: hugstiem

    Before you give up, can you try it with a slim-fitting black 3/4 sleeve shirt or turtleneck (and with a black belt like in the top outfit)? I do think it’s a little awkwardly sized on you and that’s what’s making the look sloppy… too big to be tailored, and not big enough to be slouchy chic. (In general BCBG is huge except for the formal dresses, imo.) So doing low-contrast color on top (taupe+light gray, white+light gray) kinda makes the whole top half of the outfit look like a big blob. The high-contrast might give better structure. 

  10. says: Cee

    I echo R.L. and Jessy’s thoughts on cap sleeves being harder to style. That was the first thing I noticed, too. I’m wondering if perhaps you can tuck the sleeves under just a tad so the vest looks sleeveless and see how that works with a button-up. Or… even though it defeats the purpose of showing off the vest, wear a looser blazer over it, with the ends hanging open. Kudos to you for venturing out of your comfort zone, Kelly. Can’t wait to see how you experiment with this vest next!

  11. says: SS

    Hi I don’t think your looks are bad at all. But as other bloggers said, I think capped sleeves are difficult to style. How about trying with simple long sleeve T shirts or turtle neck ? Turtle neck would be good with your pearls too.


  12. says: Michelle

    I think the problem may be that it is being paired with tops that have flow to them. Try pairing it with a tight-fitting top. Not sure if you are a leggings girl, but it would look cute worn over a tight tunic and leggings!

    I agree with some of the other ladies that say to make it edgier…pair it with your new gold ring! I like the idea of a chunky statement necklace instead of the pearls.

    I want to see this vest again!!

  13. says: Anna

    I would avoid this vest with the silky button downs. The fit and materials clash so it looks out of place. Try pairing it with a tight fitting sweater, a (gold?) statement necklace (the pearls look strange with the material and cut), black skinny jeans, and tall leather boots.


  14. says: Anonymous

    I agree about the cap sleeves being hard to style. I have one with capped sleeves and I hardly ever wear it! I can see it working with that Old Navy striped shirt you love so much, it’s more of a casual piece and while I usually like the mixing of casual and more structured pieces I think maybe this one should be strictly casual.  I also think it would work better with an untucked or longer top. And maybe with some high boots for a more “edgy” look.

  15. says: Christina

    I actually like how you styled the vest in both looks – very cute. I’d love to see it paired with a tunic and leggings as @Michelle__R:disqus mentioned below! :) 

  16. says: Han

    I’m a little late in the game, but I wanted to comment because I have the exact same vest and I too have been at a loss with how to style it. I agree with the cap sleeve comments, and also this particular vest runs really large– I’m not a petite by any means, I’m 5’4″ but am usually a size medium at BCBG, and I had to get the XS in this vest. I think the key to its success is to wear something rather fitted underneath. I’ve worn it over a black tshirt dress with 3/4 sleeves, a belt, statement necklace and boots, and over a slim long-sleeved striped top. Happy styling!

  17. says: Chicstripes

    Hi!  I’m a new reader and also a petite girl (5’2).  I tend to wear things big/slouchy so I absolutely love the vest in the first photo.  Since you have it cinced with a belt, it brings it in and makes the shoulders less noticable.  Try it with a maxi or full skirt to balance it out!

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