Updated on October 16, 2022 by Sarina Tariq
There is more than one garment that is called a vest. The most common usage for the term Vest is for a sleeveless garment worn over other upper body clothing.
A vest can be worn as a jacket and may or may not have buttons on the front opening. The most important thing about a Vest is that it is sleeveless.
Different types of vests
Another reference for a vest is as a waistcoat when it is a part of a three-piece suit. This usually has buttons on the front. It is very fitted.
The next garment which is called a Vest is a singlet worn by men inside their shirts – it is meant to keep their outer clothes from getting dirty from sweat, make the outer clothing less transparent, and also keep you warm, if needed and if made of a suitable fabric. This garment does not have a front opening. And it is usually made of a comfortable knit fabric.
You have all heard of a Bulletproof vest, the kind that you wear over clothes with the hope that it will protect you from bullet wounds, and the soft vests worn by police. These come under the body armor category. These are vests which are cut straight. These are called Gilets – made of padded/quilted/fur fabrics, for extra protection.
In Asian countries, Vest is traditional attire for men. It is common to see Arab men wearing vests over their tunics.
An embroidered vest was once a common sight in many Arabian countries – remember the sleeveless embroidered vest worn by Aladdin. You may even see it worn today for cultural events and festivals. Aladdin wore his vest on its own, not over any other clothing.
An afghan embroidered vest is known as Sadri. It was made of a heavily embroidered fabric and could be decorated with tassels etc.
The embroidered vest in the picture above is a staple of boho bohemian clothing for girls.
Sweater vest with a ribbed hem or waist is called Shrink. This is usually worn over other clothing but can also be worn on its own. A top that resembles a vest is called a Vest top.