Relocating from the depths of wintery London earlier this year to sunshine bright, humid-heavy Singapore climes was quite a shock to the system, and moreover, my wardrobe. I’m a huge fan of blazers and own a closet full of coats (now left across the ocean) featuring shearling and tailoring. I love the silhouette a belted trench can provide as well as the wonders sharp tailoring can do for making a powerful first impression. So, my dilemma in this rather blazer-unfriendly tropical climate had me rethinking how to work a tailored cut into my wardrobe.
The answer came in the beautifully versatile and empowering sleeveless vest! Perfect for work meetings and also to add an edge to a more relaxed outfit, these sleeveless beauties are a panacea to the sweat-inducing Singapore weather when you want to look chic whilst staying cool. I’ve picked my favourite brands and pieces for every budget so you can incorporate this lifesaving piece into your closet pronto!
#1 Nom de Mode
This is the name to know when it comes it luxe outerwear ‒ it’s the twin founders' specialty. Combining English artisan techniques with the ladies’ Indian heritage, the result is stunningly crafted and slightly off-kilter colourways which stand out from the sea of black, navy and beige. The go-to if you want something different and favoured by street style stars such as Olivia Palermo. Order directly from the site, prices vary by piece.
#2 Forever 21
This bargain high street label may not be your first thought when it comes to excellent tailored separates. However the brand’s recent collections have featured some beautiful outerwear pieces perfect for the office. From beige and dove greys to more interesting pastel pinks and dusty blues, check out the latest range of vests in store. I love this classic black longline vest with a surprising slit back detail. Both a dramatic entrance and exit assured!
Polyester longline vest in camel or black, $44, from Forever 21.
#3 Prairie, Harper’s Bazaar
By pre-order only, this artful piece is made by the winner of the Harper’s Bazaar Asia New Generation Fashion Award and it’s quite magnificent! A transformable piece, it combines the timeless appeal of a trench coat with the option to remove or wear the sleeves (ideal if you travel between cold and warm weather climates) and freshens up the silhouette with quirky draped details at the back.
Polyester transformable trench jacket, $1836, from Inverted Edge
For those who like to add a bit of flair to their working wardrobe, see Zara’s jacquard waistcoat for a bohemian edge. It in keeps perfectly with Autumn Winter 2015’s 70s trend also! An alternative to the neutral, colour blocked palette often favoured for the office.
Acetate and polyester waistcoat, $159, from Zara
#5 Victoria Beckham
There’s nothing like a spotless white tailored piece to bring freshness to your wardrobe. This blank canvas by Victoria Beckham, the Queen of immaculate dressing, is utilitarian perfection. With its double-breasted style, roomy pockets and a removable belt for days when you’re feeling more ‘fashion’ than foxy, this sleeveless jacket is buy now, wear forever investment.
Wool-twill gilet, $3,846 from Net-a-Porter
#6 Collate The Label
Local label Collate, founded by one of the original co-founders of blogshop gone big Love, Bonito, has produced this long, crepe vest which hits just the right note of smart-casual. I prefer the dusty blue version for added colour, but they also have options of white and black for those with more neutral palette tastes. The longline, billowy silhouette adds a refined edge to a classic shape.
Crepe long vest, $189, from Collate The Label online and TANGS
#7 Adam Lippes
This is the vest you need for easy-as-pie day to night dressing! It works beautifully as a sleeveless blazer as well as a tuxedo-style cocktail hour dress. The satin lapels add to its Bond girl-esque glamour. With pulled back hair worn over cigarette pants this would work perfectly in the office. Add a slash of red lipstick and some strappy sandals for after-hours fun!
Stretch wool-blend crepe, $2,413 from Net-a-Porter
Need the perfect pair of pants to work with your new sleeveless blazer? Look no further, we have the guide to rocking trousers with every silhouette here.