How to Wear a Knitted Vest Over a Collared Dress for a Preppy Office Look?

April 5, 2024

A knitted vest is a classic wardrobe staple that can easily transition from a weekend outfit to a stylish office look. Its versatility allows for countless combinations, making it a favorite piece among style enthusiasts. One particular pairing that has become popular is wearing a knitted vest over a collared dress, a combination that exudes a preppy, yet chic, vibe. With the right accessories and styling tips, you can create an image that is both professional and fashion-forward. This article will guide you on how to wear a knitted vest over a collared dress for a preppy office look.

Choosing the Right Vests and Dresses

When creating a preppy look, the first step is finding the right pieces to start with. The vest and dress are the core of your outfit, so they must complement each other and align with the preppy style.

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Opt for vests in neutral colors such as white, beige, or black. Cable-knit designs add texture and interest to the outfit. The vest should be slightly loose but not oversized, as the aim is a neat and polished look.

For the dress, opt for a collared style to give off a classic and sophisticated image. Shirt dresses work well for this style. The dress should be a contrast to the vest, so if your vest is in a neutral color, consider a dress in a rich hue. Patterned dresses, particularly in stripes or plaid, can also work with a solid-colored vest.

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Pairing the Vest and Dress

Pairing a knitted vest with a collared dress can present a tricky balancing act. However, with the right tricks, you can create a harmonious look.

Firstly, button the dress all the way up. This accentuates the collar and draws attention to the neckline, adding structure to the outfit.

Next, slip the vest over your dress. The hem of the dress should peek out from under the vest, creating a layered look.

Ensure the sleeves of the dress are visible to add a touch of sophistication to your look. If the dress has long sleeves, consider rolling them up to the elbow for a casual touch.

Accessorizing Your Outfit

No outfit is complete without the right accessories. They can transform your look from plain to polished, especially when dealing with simple pieces like a vest and dress.

For a preppy office look, consider wearing a pair of leather boots or loafers. These classic footwear choices add an air of sophistication and match well with the preppy style.

Jewelry should be minimal and tasteful. A pair of pearl earrings or a delicate gold necklace can subtly enhance your look without being overpowering.

Finally, add a structured handbag to carry your essentials. Choose one in a neutral color to keep the focus on your outfit.

Coordinating with Pants or Skirts

If you’d prefer to wear your vest with pants or a skirt, there are still ways to achieve a preppy look.

With pants, consider a pair of high-waisted, straight-leg jeans. The high waistline can help draw attention to the vest, while the straight-leg cut offers a balance to the fitted top.

On the other hand, if you’re pairing your vest with a skirt, opt for a midi length in a neutral color. This helps keep the attention on the vest, while still offering a feminine and professional look.

Styling Considerations for Different Body Types

When wearing a knitted vest over a collared dress, it’s important to consider your body shape and style preferences. Here are a few tips to help you achieve a flattering look, no matter your body type.

If you have a petite frame, consider shorter hemlines and fitted dresses to avoid being overwhelmed by fabric. A vest that hits at the waist will also help elongate your legs.

For those with a curvier figure, opt for a vest in a dark color to create a slimming effect. Pair it with a dress that cinches at the waist to highlight your figure.

Lastly, taller women can pull off longer dresses and oversized vests. Just ensure to balance out the proportions to avoid a baggy look.

Comfort and Functionality Factors

When curating a preppy look, it is paramount to take into consideration both comfort and functionality, especially if you are going to be wearing it to the office. The combination of a sweater vest and a collared dress can be both chic and practical if styled correctly.

For your sweater vests, besides considering color and size, it’s important to take note of the material. Opt for high-quality knits that are soft and comfortable, as you will be wearing them for a substantial portion of your day. It’s essential to avoid materials that may cause discomfort or an allergic reaction.

The collared dress you select should also provide a good deal of comfort as you move through your daily tasks. A dress that’s too tight could restrict your movements and make you uncomfortable as the day goes on. Therefore, choosing a dress with a little stretch can be a good idea.

As for functionality, pockets can be a game-changer, especially in an office setting. A dress with pockets can provide extra storage for your phone, keys, or office pass.

Finally, in terms of footwear, while heels may look chic, they might not be the best choice for a long office day. Instead, consider ankle boots or loafers for a stylish yet comfortable option.

The Best Combinations for Different Seasons

Your preppy office look can be adapted to different seasons by making a few small adjustments to your color palette and layering choices. Here’s how you can style your sweater vest and collared dress according to the changing seasons.

In spring, you can embrace vibrant hues. Consider a white shirt dress for a fresh look, styled with a pastel-colored cable knit vest. Pair this outfit with ankle boots, and you’ve got yourself a chic spring outfit.

As for summer, lighter fabrics and colors are your best bet. You can opt for a thin cotton dress shirt in a bright color paired with a lightweight vest in a neutral shade.

In autumn, earth tones take the stage. Pair a mustard, burgundy, or brown collared dress with a beige or off-white sweater vest. Leather ankle boots would complete this autumnal look perfectly.

For the winter months, layering is key to both style and warmth. A long-sleeved collared dress in a darker hue can be paired with a heavier knit sweater vest. Consider adding a coat in a coordinating color. Knee-high boots can offer extra warmth and add a stylish touch.


Incorporating a knitted vest over a collared dress into your workwear rotation is a fantastic way to add a touch of preppy style to your office look. The key to achieving a stylish, yet professional outfit lies in choosing the right vest and dress, considering their colors, fit and comfort. Accessorizing with the right footwear and jewelry will enhance your overall look, while adjusting your outfit according to the seasons will ensure you’re always on trend. Whether you prefer to pair your vest with a dress, tailored trousers or a skirt, remember that personal style is all about wearing what makes you feel confident and comfortable, while expressing your personality. Embrace the preppy look and make it your own!