What’s the Best Way to Wear a Quilted Vest over a Dress Shirt in a Business Casual Office?

Fashion in the workplace can feel like a minefield, especially if you’re trying to strike the right balance between professional and casual. However, when chosen and worn correctly, a quilted vest, also known as a gilet or puffer vest, can bring a savvy touch to a business casual outfit. This versatile garment is perfect for layering over a dress shirt and can lend a sense of style to your everyday workwear.

With the rise of modern work environments that no longer insist on formal suits, the business casual dress code has become more prevalent. It allows for personal style expression while still maintaining a professional appearance. Let’s dive into how to make a quilted vest work for your professional wardrobe.

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Choosing the Right Quilted Vest

Before you can start putting together outfits, finding the right vest is key. When shopping for a quilted vest, consider factors like material, color, and fit. As a rule of thumb, the vest should be warm enough to add comfort, but not overly bulky that it becomes awkward to move in.

A black quilted vest is a versatile choice as it can easily match with a variety of shirts and trousers. Other neutral colors like navy or grey also work well in a professional setting. When it comes to material, a fabric that’s water-resistant and durable, like polyester or nylon, is a good choice.

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Ensure the vest fits well over your dress shirt without feeling too tight or loose. It should end around the waist, giving a look that’s polished and not sloppy. Avoid vests that are too long as they may make your outfit appear unbalanced.

Pairing with the Right Dress Shirt

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect vest, it’s time to think about what shirt to wear underneath. While a simple white or light blue dress shirt is a classic choice, don’t be afraid to explore other options. A striped or checkered shirt can add a hint of sophistication to your office attire.

Ensure that the shirt complements your vest’s color. If you’ve opted for a black quilted vest, pair it with vibrant colors to create a contrast. For a navy or grey vest, lighter shades like white, pastel, or beige work well.

The shirt should fit well and not create any bulges underneath your vest. Moreover, the collar should be neatly tucked into the vest to maintain a clean, professional look.

Styling with Other Clothing and Accessories

The beauty of a quilted vest is that it can easily pair with a range of trousers and accessories. For a business casual outfit, consider wearing it over a dress shirt paired with chinos, corduroys, or dark-wash jeans.

Footwear plays a key role in determining the overall look of your outfit. A pair of leather boots or oxfords can add a polished touch to your ensemble. If your office environment is more on the casual side, consider pairing your outfit with clean white sneakers for a modern, trendy look.

Accessories should be kept minimal in a professional setting. A leather belt that matches your shoes, a classy wristwatch, or a simple tie can add the perfect finishing touch to your look without being overwhelming.

Layering for Different Seasons

A quilted vest is an ideal layering piece that can transition across different seasons. During colder months, you can layer it over a long-sleeved dress shirt, a sweater, or a lightweight jacket. This adds an extra layer of warmth without compromising style.

In warmer months, wear your quilted vest over a short-sleeved dress shirt. This way, you can still enjoy the stylish appeal of a vest without feeling too hot. Remember, the key to layering is balance. Avoid overly thick sweaters or jackets under your vest to prevent looking bulky.

Adding a Personal Touch

While following fashion advice can ensure you look professional, adding a touch of personal style can make your outfit truly stand out. This could be in the form of a colorful pocket square, a unique watch, or even your favorite pair of cufflinks.

Remember, when it comes to business casual, the goal is to feel comfortable and confident while maintaining a professional image. So, don’t shy away from showcasing your personality through your wardrobe choices. With the right quilted vest, you can make a strong fashion statement in the office while keeping it professional.

Wearing a Quilted Vest for Formal and Informal Office Events

While a quilted vest can be a staple for daily office wear, it also works well for formal and informal office events. Knowing how to style the vest appropriately for different occasions can make you appear stylish and well-dressed, no matter the setting.

For formal office events, opt for a black or navy quilted vest paired with a button shirt in classic white or light blue. Make sure your dress pants match the color of your vest to create a cohesive look. To further elevate your outfit, consider wearing a long sleeve crew neck sweater underneath the vest during colder months. Don’t forget to add tasteful accessories like a leather belt and a classy wristwatch to complete your look.

On the other hand, informal office events give you a bit more liberty to experiment. You can pair your quilted vest with a checkered or striped shirt to add some visual interest. Dress it down with a pair of dark-wash jeans and finish off the outfit with clean white sneakers for a comfortable yet stylish look.

Regardless of the event, remember to ensure your vest fits well and complements the rest of your outfit. Most importantly, feel free to add a personal touch to your ensemble, whether that’s through a colorful pocket square or your favorite pair of cufflinks.

Puffer Vest Versus Quilted Vest: Which One to Choose

When it comes to choosing between a puffer vest and a quilted vest, consider your style preferences and the climate in your region.

A puffer vest is typically thicker and more insulated, making it a suitable choice for colder climates. It adds significant warmth and can be worn over long-sleeve shirts or sweaters. However, due to its bulkiness, it can be challenging to style a puffer vest for a professional setting without appearing too casual.

On the other hand, a quilted vest is often lighter and slimmer. This sleek silhouette makes it versatile and easier to layer over a dress shirt. Its design lends itself well to business casual wear, allowing you to maintain a professional image while adding an extra layer of comfort and warmth.

Both vests come in various styles, colors, and materials, so you can choose one that suits your needs the best. Be sure to check the shipping returns policy when shopping online for your vest.

Remember, the goal is to feel comfortable and confident in your outfit. So, whether you go for a puffer vest or a quilted vest, choose one that aligns with your personal style and office dress code.


Wearing a quilted vest over a dress shirt can be an excellent addition to your business casual wardrobe. It’s not only about staying warm and comfortable but also about expressing your personal style while maintaining a professional appearance.

From choosing the right vest and pairing it with the appropriate dress shirt to styling it with other clothing items and accessories, there are numerous ways to incorporate a quilted vest into your office attire. Whether you’re dressing up for a formal event or donning a casual outfit for a laid-back day in the office, the versatile quilted vest can elevate your look.

With the plethora of outfit ideas available, it’s now up to you to experiment and find the perfect look that suits your personal style and office environment. Remember, being stylish does not have to compromise comfort or professionalism. With the right quilted vest, you can confidently stride into your workplace, knowing you’ve hit the right note in fashion.