By InStyle Staff
Jun 23, 2016 @ 2:30 pm
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The long vest may go by many names (long waistcoat, sleeveless trench, sleeveless duster), but there's no doubt or confusion when it comes to its sartorial power. Much like a blazer, it can elevate any outfit (even a look that's as casual as a tee and jeans), thanks to its fitted, tailored silhouette and menswear-inspired qualities. But unlike a blazer, a long vest is incredibly versatile as a key layering piece, making it a must-have essential nearly year-round, from awkward in-between months in the spring to awkward in-between months come fall. 

And to prove its versatility, we took one long vest by Theory ($225; and styled it three fresh ways for the office. Treat it as a dress and layer it over a button-down, or create a relaxed summer suit look with a button-down shirt and wide-leg pants. On a more playful note, clash your separates with personality-packed prints, but then anchor them with a crisp white vest. Watch the video, above, to see the three looks, and then shop them out for yourself, below.

Styled by: Ali Pew, Video by: Tara Sgroi

1. Over a Button-Down

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Shop the look: Theory vest, $225 (originally $375); J. Crew shirt, $70; Elizabeth and James bucket bag, $476 (originally $595); Miss Albright mules, $178;

2. With Mixed Prints

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Shop the look: Theory vest, $225 (originally $375); Topshop top, $65; Tanya Taylor skirt, $198 (originally $495); Zara flats, $30;

3. As a Blazer

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Shop the look: Theory vest, $225 (originally $375); Gap shirt, $40 (originally $50); Won Hundred pants, $220; Pilgrim stud earrings, $12 (originally $17); River Island pumps, $120;