This vest is one of the first clothing items I felt a strong need to posses. At the time, I didn’t have a very focused idea of what my style was, but as soon as I saw it (on the cover of Lucky Magazine), I had to have it. Fast forward to today, and I find it interesting that before I lasered in on a menswear-inspired wardrobe, I had already started collecting items that would fit right into the personal style that would take me years to figure out.


Hunting for distressed denim, I wanted to avoid any that had a distinct knee, since being so short means the placement of faux scuffed knees on a pair of jeans is unlikely to end up at my natural knee. I also tried many pairs from cheaper/fast fashion brands thinking it was smarter to spend less on a pair of jeans that already had holes in them, right? Well, it’s only after trying on many pairs of scratchy, weird fitting fast fashion denim that you really appreciate pulling on a nice, comfy pair of jeans. You win again, premium denim!

These jeans will eventually get hemmed (which they’ll get after a few washes to account for shrinkage), but in the meantime they’re incredibly comfy and the thick rolled cuff can pass as a boyfriend jean.




Outfit details – Banana Republic vest :: Equipment blouse :: Koral jeans :: Manolo Blahnik shoes (also at Neiman Marcus):: Banana Republic belt :: Chanel handbag :: Kate Spade watch :: Stella & Dot bracelet (c/o) :: Vintage brooch

Altered – Equipment blouse has been slimmed :: Manolo Blahnik shoes have ball-of-foot pads & heel liners added :: Kate Spade watch has had the strap replaced

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Annick

    I totally agree with you on investing in a more expensive pair of jeans. I love my Paige denim and don’t regret purchasing them one bit (although to be fair, I payed less than retail on Ebay). Love the vest as well – such a classic piece.

    Bold Subtlety

  2. says: Cee

    There is not one thing I don’t love about this outfit. Amazing styling, Kelly.

    I actually really like the messy-rolled-up-boyfriend look for these jeans. It works with the distressing. Please reconsider the hem job!

    1. Thank you Cee! Totally agree that the rolled cuff looks great on these jeans. You don’t think they look a little bulky? I was leaning toward hem because I thought it would help the cuff thin down, but luckily I’m notoriously lazy about hemming my jeans, so I’m sure these will stay intact for plenty of time to asses further. =)

  3. I agree with Cee about the hemming – I think the rolled up look is perfect with these jeans, a clean hem would actually look out of place, IMO. Love those shoes – the shape and hue is gorge!

  4. says: Judy

    These pieces all work so well together!! Job well done. My shoulders are too broad to pull off menswear looks without looking like a man myself, but this is such a great mix of menswear and feminine silhouettes.

    Here’s a question for you: as you started defining your [menswear-inspired] style, did you get rid of your old clothes that didn’t fit into that look? I think I’ve finally found a style that will really work for me and my current stage in life, and I’m tempted to skinny down my closet because there are just too many things, but I have a hard time letting go of old favorites. (Or being guilty of keeping something around just in case I might change my mind a few years from now.)

    1. Thanks Judy! Good question! I keep around emergency items (which for me usually means dresses that I’m not totally in love with, but I always find needing for weddings and such), but my goal is to eventually replace all those items that are still sticking around for whatever reason with upgraded, better versions. I find as my new purchases are more refined style-wise, a lot of the other stuff just ends up sitting without being worn, which makes it easy to move them out during closet purges. But there are items that for whatever reason are still sticking around, and it’s usually because even thought they don’t fit my style anymore, I still like one of more things about them, making it hard to let go.

      For example, I have an embellished tank/shell that I used to wear a lot. Now, it’s not really my thing anymore, but I still love the color and how the color goes with some of my favorite pieces. After realizing this, I started looking for that color in a more “me” clothing item, and just recently added a dress shirt in that same color to my closet. Now I don’t feel like I need to keep that little shell, which means it’s probably ready to go for my next closet purge.

      It also helps to either move all those questionable items to one side of your closet or in a separate bag/bin. Keep it around for a while, with the idea that they are out of sight of your every day wardrobe, but if you have an epiphany one day and need them, you can grab them from closet limbo. If after 6 months/1 year/whatever is a good time frame, you never needed or thought of them, it’s safe to say they can go. I do this and find that I rarely save items from limbo, and after a while, am so tired of them hogging up useful space that they’re easier to get rid of.

      It’s a slow process, and I think we all have items hanging around that could probably get the boot. =P

      1. says: Judy

        Thanks for the long and thoughtful reply! I like the idea of keeping a
        mental list of items that can be “upgraded” and then eventually
        retired, and putting questionable items aside and see if it’s out of sight, out of mind. I also remember reading a Vera Wang interview where she said every time she buys a new piece, she purges an old piece.

        As Carrie alludes to in her comment, I think this would be a great topic for a future post! Even though I’ve been following you for a year, I’d love to see a little snapshot of how your style has grown over the past several years.

  5. says: Carrie

    This is perfection! The jeans fit you beautifully. I’ve also been wanting a pair of distressed jeans, but have been thinking about going DIY to avoid any weird placement.
    Your response to Judy’s question got me interested in seeing both the embellished tank and your new dress shirt! It’d be interesting to see what other items you are planning to replace and what features you want to carry over from the old item to the new version (color? fit? style?)

  6. This outfit looks fabulous on you, Kelly! You actually have me considering paying designer denim prices for distressed jeans! I am one to not let go of classic pieces. I shall have to break out my own BR vests from the 90s that I haven’t worn in years this fall. I used to wear them with wool skirts and pants for work, but surely can pair them with the jeans that are my uniform now that I don’t work outside the home. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. says: tbyrd

    love the vest – am on the hunt for one myself. BR no longer carries this one I think. any other suggestions or places you searched for the go to vest? great outfit by the way – well down all around.

    1. This vest is from about 2008 unfortunately, and I haven’t seen any good ones lately. Sometimes H&M has pretty good ones during the fall/winter, and I’ve seen some at Express but I’m not very excited about them.

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