There is something impossibly chic about a sleeveless waistcoat: Simply put, the silhouette evokes an incomparable sense of cool. Queen of perfect personal style, Olivia Palermo (above), recently stepped out in one worn over a classic black-and-white ensemble. But before that the menswear-inspired style stirred up some buzz on the fall 2014 runways.
At Max Mara, the modern silo took on a more classic (and more wearable) motif as it was crafted in a hearty woolen tweed. At Reed Krakoff, the designer played with color as he sent a cobalt blue piece down the runway, adding a finishing layer to a monochrome look. Meanwhile, at Helmut Lang, the waistcoat popped up in shades of winter white, giving a minimalist edge to the style that typically packs a heavy punch. The Salvatore Ferragamo cheetah-print piece with a high collar fell on the other end of the spectrum.
RELATED: Statement Coats That Will Make Winter More a Little Bearable
All four runway looks prove that this piece can be worn time and time again when styled differently. The best element it brings to the table is structure. It has the anatomy of a blazer but the ease and comfort of a free-flowing oversize vest. What's also nice about this silo is that it is the perfect piece for transitional weather and to create layers with. You can throw it on under your winter jacket for an extra dose of warmth without all of the bulk of another sleeve (you know, like when you can hardly bend your arms).
When shopping for a waistcoat, you want to find a style that strikes the perfect balance between attention to detail and streamlined structure. Look for waistcoats with crisp lapels and clean lines—all in all, you want a simple piece with expertly structured framework. You'll also get more wear out of a style in a wear-with-anything color, like black, gray, cream, and navy—but white is an option that will create an exceptionally chic look, too.
Ahead, browse the waistcoat styles of the moment.