Vivid Vest

“Do you ever get bored with wearing solid colors that fit close to the body? I can’t pull off that look. Please share some tips for wearing layers in summer. I have too much to hide to dress in skimpy or fitted clothes. Thank you for your blog and your great suggestions! Respectfully, Ellen” Thank you for your email, Ellen. I will share my best tips for wearing layers.

I’ve worn this combination even in L.A. when it was one hundred and five degrees, but we all know that it is less uncomfortable than ninety degrees in Florida. The humidity makes it difficult to dress in anything but light-colored linen pieces. The trick with wearing layers well is to get the proportion right for your body shape.

Add a belt to locate a waistline visually. If you have short legs like me, you will need to wear heels or platform shoes to add some length. The layers should not be all the same length. Uneven hemlines are a plus because they confuse the eye. A straight hemline can bring all the focus to wide hips. Vertical layering is when different layers are visible under the longer outer layer left open in front. Horizontal layering is when longer layers peek out from under a shorter top layer.

When you wear a print, keep the other colors in your look neutral and solid. Resist the temptation to pick one of the colors to repeat in your jewelry, which creates a visual overload. Let the print be the star of the show.

Choose layers that are tissue-thin and lightweight so that you can combine them with ease, even in summer. I am wearing a large size top, and the vest is one size. I added grand scale simple earrings in silver since the vivid colors in the vest are the center of attention. The earrings and low slung belt are a few years old from Chico’s. The pants are by Eric from Stein Mart. The shoes are from Macy’s a few years ago. The bag is also an oldy but a goody from Express. The sunglasses are by Tory Burch from last year.

Many thanks to Covered Perfectly for supplying the simple V-neck top and the blue and black cascading vest for this lesson. They generously offer SusanAfter60 followers a 20% discount on up to two items. Use the discount code FNF20 when you check out at Covered Perfectly. There are several great new styles to choose from, and the discount will apply on up to two items, or you can take advantage of the buy two get one FREE special. Only one of these offers will work per order.

  1. I always love a topper piece for any time of year. It’s harder in the summers because of the heat, but I think this vest is one of those perfect items. I also have some tops instead of vests like this that are sleeveless so I will wear them over a lightweight shirt for some more coverage!!
    Have a wonderful weekend, Susan!

  2. I love prints, but only the ones with a modern edge like this one. I like that it has black and white with blue, and that you chose black and white to complete the outfit.

    Longer, lightweight pieces like this vest can elevate a simple outfit to the next level. How fun!

  3. A nice look! The shape is fairly close to the body, but hides what some women want hidden. I’d say it is a problem solver!

  4. I love that anyone wearing this vest is not “hiding,” instead they are signaling that they are willing to be noticed and admired. Someone fully participating and ready to make new friends. Just lovely! Great question, Ellen!

  5. I just want to say how much I love your style and suggestions. I’m going to be retiring in two years. We plan on buying a small motor home, travel and enjoy our life. I feel confident that I can have a wardrobe that will fit the motor home and the variety places we will be visiting thanks to all your advice. Unfortunately I will be getting both of my knees replaced during the next 2 years before I retire. Please give plenty of non healed shoes for days when you really want to dress up. This seems to be difficult for me. I miss my heals, but the reality is they are gone for me. Again, thanks for all your great advice.


  6. This is an awesome look. I’m wondering if it would be too many pieces on a 4’11” frame (weight 108)….Maybe a black top underneath? Appropriate for a 45th high school reunion?

    1. I failed to show it, but this vest is easy to tie up in the front, so that is less voluminous. If I were 4’11” tall, I would wear all black and tie the front ends to show most of the length of my legs.

  7. Thank you so much for your great advice. I always look forward to reading daily. I absolutely love the vest in this one. I plan to order today. Thanks again for showing me how I can look great at almost 74.

  8. I think the belt is important, even if it’s wrapped around a waist that isn’t there. It’s OK to skip it if you don’t have the layer over it, but with the over layer the hint of waist, or at least middle part of torso, adds definition.

    Otherwise one runs the risk of looking like they’ve pulled an oversized pillow case over themselves.

  9. Wow, I really like how all the pieces look together. However, in the north that is too many layers and fabric. Too hot to wear here right now. Any other suggestions with 2 light weight pieces only?

    1. Maybe try a camisole or tank with an unbuttoned boyfriend type shirt. Roll up sleeves to just below elbows and some lightweight capri pants. It’s a look I wore a lot this summer (in New Zealand) and boy was it a hot summer! All the shops and online ran out of fans – we were all cooking 🙂

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.