From festival fashion to Parisian street style, denim vests are having a major moment right now. While denim jackets get most of the glory, the humble denim vest deserves some time in the spotlight! Specifically, button down denim vests are the perfect piece to instantly elevate your wardrobe.
With roots in workwear but a preppy vibe, the button down denim vest walks the line between rugged and refined. Not too stuffy yet still polished, it’s the ideal layering piece for everything from running errands to dinner dates. Time to break up with your basic jean jacket and give this vintage-inspired style a try!
In this detailed guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about shopping for, styling, and caring for the perfect button down denim vest. You’ll learn pro tips for selecting the most flattering fit and wash for your body type. We’ll also share creative outfit ideas to inspire you to wear this versatile closet staple year-round.
So grab your favorite broken-in tee, turn up your radio, and let’s dive into denim vest styling 101!
Top 5 Button Down Denim Vests to Buy Right Now
When shopping for a brand new button down denim vest, there are a few key factors to consider:
The quality of the denim – Look for thick yet flexible fabric with minimal stretch. Quality hardware like durable buttons adds longevity as well.
The vest’s construction – Inspect seams, stitching and hardware carefully. The vest should feel sturdy and substantial.
The fit – Size up for a looser fit or down for a more tailored look. Review sizing charts closely.
Extra features – Front pockets, side tabs, collar buttons and lining add functionality.
Wash options – Dark indigo for a classic appeal or faded for vintage vibes. Distressed details add flair.
We’ve scoured reviews and sampled the selection to find the top button down denim vest styles available now:
Levi’s Original Sherpa Trucker Vest
This slim-fitting black vest from the iconic Levi’s brand features a fleecy sherpa lining that makes it perfect for throwing on through fall and winter. The cropped length flatters most body types.
Pros: Soft sherpa lining, quality construction by Levi’s, stays warm even when wet.
Cons: Dry clean only, so requires special care. Slim fit isn’t ideal for layering bulky sweaters underneath.
Best for: The stylish minimalist looking for a black denim vest alternative. Wear with turtlenecks and leggings.
Madewell Oversize Denim Vest in Lunar Wash
For an effortlessly cool oversized vest, this light wash Madewell style can’t be beat. The laidback loose silhouette pairs perfectly with feminine dresses.
Pros: Oversized shape provides room for layers, comfortable extended length, lunar wash is a flattering faded blue.
Cons: Loose style may overwhelm petite figures. Light wash demands gentle washing to prevent fading.
Best for: The free spirit looking to nail that boho-chic vibe. Wear over florals and jeans.
Wrangler Denim Vest with Quilted Lining
Channel your inner cowboy in this structured denim vest from heritage brand Wrangler. The diamond quilt lining provides cozy warmth without adding bulk.
Pros: Sturdy feel, shaped silhouette, lined for insulation and wind resistance. Authentic Americana styling.
Cons: Wrangler’s classic styling isn’t for everyone. Structured shape allows less room for layering bulky layers.
Best for: The rugged outdoorsperson needing a vest tough enough for adventure. Looks great with henleys, flannels and jeans.
Topshop Moto Super Cropped Denim Vest
For those who prefer a slimmer, shrunken vest, turn to this cropped Topshop option. At just 16 inches long, it’s perfect for tucking into high-waisted bottoms.
Pros: Super on-trend cropped length, slim fit, silver-toned hardware adds edge. Made of lightweight non-stretch denim.
Cons: Limited sizing, delicate fabric prone to damage, dry clean only. Cropped silhouette isn’t ideal for taller figures.
Best for: Fashionistas craving that It Girl 90s-throwback vibe. Pairs perfectly with bike shorts and dad sneakers.
Gap Classic Denim Vest
Sometimes you just can’t go wrong with a tried-and-true basic from Gap. This simple dark wash vest is an affordable option with timeless versatility.
Pros: Classic indigo shade flatters everyone, traditional button front styling, under $50 price point. High-quality construction from a trusted brand.
Cons: Limited sizing, mild stretch in fabric compromises structure, boxy fit needs tailoring. Lacks more stylized details.
Best for: The no-fuss minimalist looking for an everyday closet basic on a budget. Easy to dress both up or down.
How to Choose the Perfect Button Down Denim Vest for You
Once you start browsing selections, choosing the ideal button down denim vest can feel daunting. Here are some top tips for narrowing down your options:
- Consider your seasonal style needs. Do you need a sturdy insulated vest to layer under winter coats or a lightweight version for beach coverups? Knowing when and how you’ll wear your vest helps guide your selection. Opt for sherpa or quilted lining in colder months.
- Think about fit. A trim silhouette looks sharp but can restrict layering, while an oversized shape provides room for hoodies and sweaters. Petite figures should avoid long or bulky vests that will overwhelm small frames.
- Choose wash carefully. A dark indigo shade has a smart, polished look that pairs well with dressier outfits. Acid wash or heavily faded vests have a grungier vibe perfect for laidback days. Black is the most versatile color that goes with everything.
- Examine construction. Hold up the vest and stretch the fabric. Quality denim shouldn’t sag or lose shape. Inspect seams and buttons closely as well. Sturdy stitching prevents tears.
- Consider any special features. Look for a vest with elements like front welt pockets for carrying small items or side lacing for adjusting the silhouette. Breathable cotton lining adds comfort in warm weather.
- Check sizing charts. Don’t assume standard shirt sizing. Denim vests should fit closer to the body. Measure yourself and consult brand size charts for the best fit. Order two sizes if uncertain.
- Know your budget parameters. Button down denim vests range widely from $20 basic versions to $300+ for premium and designer brands. Decide what works for your lifestyle and stick to it.
Following this criteria will make shopping for your perfect denim vest much simpler. Don’t forget to have fun trying on different styles too!
Clever Ways to Style Your Button Down Denim Vest
The right denim vest can transition seamlessly from running errands on the weekend to dinner with friends in the evening. It’s all about how you style it. Here are some of our favorite looks to inspire you:
For a Casual Daytime Look
- Vest + graphic tee + black jeans + white sneakers
- Vest + Breton striped top + cut off shorts + sandals
- Vest + tank top + bike shorts + dad hat
The key: Balance the denim vest with casual complementary pieces likegraphic tees, bike shorts and baseball caps for an effortless weekend vibe.
For Date Night
- Vest + midi dress + heels + hoop earrings
- Vest + slip skirt + strappy tank + red lipstick
- Vest + palazzo pants + lace bralette + moto jacket
The key: Contrast the masculine denim against feminine pieces like dresses, skirts and strappy tops. A touch of edge with the right accessories polishes off the look.
For Transitional Weather Layering
- Vest + long sleeve tee + skinny jeans + ankle boots
- Vest + turtleneck sweater + corduroy pants + loafers
- Vest + flannel button-down + leggings + chucks
The key: In unpredictable weather, layer your denim vest over long sleeve shirts and sweaters. Tuck into pants or leave open over leggings.
For Warm Weather Wear
- Vest + shorts + breezy button-down + sandals
- Vest + easy sundress + flat sandals
- Vest + swim cover up + sun hat + slides
The key: Opt for loose, airy fabrics underneath. Avoid anything too heavy or restrictive. Keep hemlines short for a leg-lengthening effect.
See? With the right combination of prints, textures and accessories, your denim vest can work for any occasion!
Answers to Common Denim Vest Questions:
Still have some lingering questions about choosing, wearing and caring for your button down denim vest? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked denim vest dilemmas:
Q: Why have denim vests become so trendy again recently?
A: Denim vests are having a major comeback thanks to their vintage workwear roots resonating with many of today’s top styles like Americana, boho-chic and ’90s throwbacks. The button down collar adds polish and structure that other denim vests often lack.
Q: What colors and washes are most versatile for a denim vest?
A: Classic dark indigo is always sharp, especially for dressier occasions. Black is the most versatile neutral that pairs with everything. For casualwear, opt for faded blue or acid wash shades. White denim vests add eye-catching contrast.
Q: How do you determine the right denim vest length?
A: Cropped vests ending above the hips are best for high-waisted bottoms. Longer hip-length vests provide more coverage. Petite frames should avoid vests extending below the hip. Taller figures can pull off longer lengths more easily.
Q: Does a denim vest work for formal or business casual attire?
A: For more formal looks, choose a dark wash vest without distressing or embellishments. Pair with a collared shirt, trousers and leather shoes – the polished pieces make it work appropriate.
Q: How often should you wash a denim vest?
A: Avoid frequent washing as it fades the color. Spot treat stains when possible and wash in cold water every 7-10 full wears. Wash less in warmer months when sweating more. Only machine dry briefly to avoid shrinking.
Q: Can you wear a denim vest in summer or is it too hot?
A: Lightweight and loose-fitting denim vests work perfectly for summer. Just avoid heavy non-breathable fabrics. Pair with tank tops, shorts or breezy dresses in breathable materials.
Q: What are good layering options for wearing a denim vest in winter?
A: Pair your vest with chunky knit sweaters, thermal long sleeves, flannel button-downs or puffer jackets on top during cold weather. For extra warmth, choose a sherpa or quilted lined vest.
The Takeaway: Elevate Your Wardrobe With a Button Down Denim Vest
Hopefully this guide has shown how the oft-overlooked denim vest can easily become your new wardrobe MVP. The button down collar adds just enough polish to make it stand out from the typical jean jacket.
With endless styling possibilities, the denim vest seamlessly transitions from season to season. Just add the right layers and accessories to suit your personal taste. Whether you’re a bohemian free-spirit or a minimalist classic dresser, there’s a perfect denim vest for you.
So embrace this vintage workwear tradition and buckle up your new favorite layering piece. Trust us, your closet will thank you! The only dilemma now is choosing which of these stylish button down denim vests to add to your wardrobe first.