You may think of vests as the buttoned-up part of a stuffy three piece suit, but they can actually be a versatile item for your wardrobe. Depending on what you pair your vest with, it can have a formal look that's appropriate for the office or some casual flair that's ideal for weekends. However, the most difficult part of wearing a vest is usually finding pants to match it. There aren't any hard and fast rules for creating pants and vest combinations, so it's up to you to choose the best pairing for your style and the setting.
For a foolproof look, you can’t go wrong by matching your vest to your pants exactly. Finding an exact match isn’t difficult either. Many suits are sold with three pieces -- a jacket, vest and pants -- so you always have a vest and pants combination that is a perfect match. However, you can also mix pieces if you choose a basic color palette. Finding a vest that matches black, gray, navy or chocolate brown pants is certainly easier than trying to find an exact match for pants in a more unique color like plum or mustard.
For casual situations, you don’t necessarily need to match your vest and pants exactly. Instead, choose pieces in different shades that are from the same color family for a monochromatic look that’s stylish and relaxed. You can pair a tan or taupe vest with chocolate brown pants or a light blue vest with navy pants. If you want a dressier look, opt for black pants and pair it with a charcoal vest for a more sophisticated combination.
If you have colorful vest that you want to wear, it can be tough to find pants that match it exactly or even come from the same color family. Instead, pair your vest with neutral pants to create a balanced look. Whether it’s a red, cobalt or hunter green vest, you can wear it with tan, gray or black pants without worrying about it clashing. If you want a causal look, pair the vest with jeans -- denim works as neutral in both light and dark washes. The opposite look works too -- pair more colorful pants with a tan, gray or black vest for a balanced outfit.
Instead of a solid colored vest, you may also opt for a patterned style. To find pants that match your patterned vest, though, choose a color that’s found in the pattern. For example, if you’re wearing a black and gray striped vest, pair it with black or gray pants. You can also pair a patterned vest with neutral colored pants. Wear a brown and tan checkered vest with jeans or a navy and light blue pin striped vest with tan pants.