One Piece: Five Ways — Utility Vest

For Christmas this year, my mom bought me a utility vest. When she came to my house for two weeks after the baby was born, we spent a fair amount of time perusing fashion blogs, and talking about fashion, inspiration, and clothing in general. And after seeing a few bloggers rocking the surplus vests, we decided I needed one. 
So, of course, being the awesome mom she is, she bought me this cute one from Old Navy.
But now after two months of it hanging in my closet, I’ve only worn it two or three times. I’m finding it harder to style than I expected. So it’s time for a One Piece: Five Ways post featuring this vest, because it’s way too versatile and has too much potential to just sit in my closet all the time.
Here’s what I came up with…
 vest: old navy (similar, similar, and similar) // sweater: nordstrom rack (similar) //  necklace: c/o wild about jewelry (shop) // jeans: american eagle (shop) // flats: old navy (shop) // purse: coach (similar) // sunglasses: forever 21 (shop)
While neon clothes can be hard to style by themselves, since you risk looking like a walking highlighter, the vest adds a nice neutral and helps break up all the bright colors. This is perfect weekend, vacation, or errand running attire.
 vest: old navy (similarsimilar, and similar) // top: forever 21 (shop) // jeans: abercrombie and fitch – old (similar) // sandals: target – old (similar) // necklace: kohls (similar)  // hat: forever 21 (shop
I picked up this top a few weeks ago when Kayla was visiting (she got one too and talked me into it!), and I’ve found it to be a great wardrobe staple. However, even though it has a little bit of visual interest on the front, the outfit is pretty plain when paired with just jeans. Adding the vest gives the outfit some structure, and layering creates additional visual appeal. Throw on a hat, a simple statement necklace, and some sandals, and I’m ready for a day at the beach, or a casual weekend. 
cardigan: target (shop) // vest: old navy (similarsimilar, and similar) // pashmina scarf: purchased in London (similar) // striped tee: forever 21 (shop) // sunglasses: old navy (similar, similar) // clutch: thrifted // jeans: american eagle (shop) // flats: forever 21 (similar

I sometimes struggle with collared tops, especially under sweaters and cardigans, but since this vest is so open up at the top, it doesn’t constrict or cover up my neckline in a way that bothers me. And with a colored scarf, and a little striped tee peeking out underneath, it creates a nice additional layer for a very visually interesting outfit. If it was colder more often around these parts, I’d be re-creating this outfit all the time.

Over A Dress. 
vest: old navy (similarsimilar, and similar) // striped tee: forever 21 (shop) // dress: tobi (shop) // wedges: payless (shop)  // bracelets: gift and target

I thought of this outfit a few days ago as I was looking through my closet, and it became the whole reason I wanted to do this one piece five ways post. This dress is so feminine with pleats and floral, so mixing it up with a more masculine piece like this vest, and a fun colored stripe top, makes this a really fun and interesting outfit.

vest: old navy (similarsimilar, and similar) // sweater: forever 21 (similar, similar & similar) // skirt: mikarose – gift from my mom (shop) // heels: target  (shop) // belt: from another dress // necklace: francesca’s – gift from my mom 

I wanted one of these outfits to be dressy, and by keeping the color palette simple (black and white only), and picking pieces that weren’t overly dressy, which could look weird with such a casual vest, it created a streamlined outfit. I added a patent leather belt, which gives the vest some structure and keeps it from flopping around (which feels casual to me), and then I threw on black stilettos, a big silver necklace, and a smokey eye to complete the dressy look.

So now no more excuses for not wearing this vest!


  1. Ash says:

    Well getting a similar vest just moved up to top priority on my shopping list! πŸ˜‰ Love each of these outfits, but I think the dress is my favorite!

  2. I need to get a great vest like this — love each way you styled it! xo

  3. I'm impressed. I've steered clear of military jackets/utility vests because I feel like they would be too casual for work…but you're starting to convince me. I really like the last look (all the looks are cute though).

  4. CP and KW says:

    i love the way you styled this! it's so cute
    kw ladies in navy

  5. Marsa says:

    i love these looks! i think the casual is my favorite πŸ™‚

    The DayLee Journal

  6. i love this, so many great looks.
    i seriously did the exact same thing basically with a chambray this week on my blog. twins.


  7. Kayla says:

    So adorable! And I'm glad to hear you're loving that top too! I've been wearing mine more than I probably should but it goes with EVERYTHING! Love the vest too πŸ™‚

  8. I love the last look with it belted! I have the same vest but in the olive color…you inspired me to wear mine again today πŸ™‚


  9. Tasmin Skye says:

    I love the floral dress outfit! It's summery and fresh and I really love the pattern mix! Adorable.

  10. Michelle says:

    Merrick, can I ask how comfortable you find the Payless wedges? I've never had a pair of Payless before but they have a captoe flat that is so cute (and reasonable) that I could not resist. I'd be interested in hearing your take on a pair of non-flats. Thanks!

  11. OMG Merrick you are way to freaking cute!!! I love this! You did a fantastic job!

  12. Janssen says:

    I can't tell you how excited Mom was when we found this vest.

    And every one of these outfits is darling. I need you to come dress me every day, I think.

  13. Brynn says:

    Darling! I have the same vest in the olive green color. I always seem to wear it in the same way. I'm getting more inspiration after this post, though πŸ™‚

  14. Angela says:

    Get looks Merrick! I've been looking a utility vest. It's so versitle!
    Method Clothe

  15. Kacie says:

    I am so bummed that I didn't snag that vest from Old Navy when I had the chance πŸ™ Love all these looks on you!

  16. Kristina says:

    Cute vest, I love the look with the neon yellow!


    Kristina does the Internets

  17. I just bought a very similar vest to this! It's so nice seeing all of the fun ways that I have options of wearing in the future. My favorite is the neon!

  18. I didn't anticipate it but that layered look is my favorite! It's so unexpected and just really gorgeous. I need to get myself a utility vest for sure! Thanks for the inspiration πŸ™‚

  19. so cute, I really like the last look!

  20. Very cute! There's a lot of wear in that vest. Love all the outfits you created.

  21. Lindsay says:

    You look fantastic! I have a similar vest that I was actually planning on getting rid of because I don't know how to wear it, but you've inspired me to try new things with it. πŸ™‚

  22. samandro22 says:

    I love the layered look! I always kind of pushed my vests off to the side during winter for the warmer shirts and sweaters, but I never thought about layering it like you did. I'll have to try it out, thanks for the idea!

  23. Sarah S. says:

    such a cute vest. and you styled it so well πŸ™‚

  24. Meghan says:

    Love how you took an article of clothing and forced yourself to find ways to style it. I have a few pieces of clothing that I need to do that with!

  25. Laura says:

    That vest looks great on you! I think that I really like the layered look the best; but they are all super cute! πŸ™‚


Leave a Reply