5 Ways to Wear a Utility Vest + Tips for Finding One

Outfits With a Utility Vest

Living my vest life over here!  If you’ve been around PMT you know that a utility jacket is one of my long time closet staples, and a utility vest is its trusty sidekick!  I’ve been sporting a utility vest since 2011 when I realized how awesome they are.

Today I want to show you a few ways to wear a utility vest to give you some ideas!

I’ve said many times that what I love about both utility jackets and vests is that they are durable and have large pockets, which are great for momming it.  They also provide structure and shape to flatter your figure and also pull together outfits.  Lastly, they’re incredibly versatile.  They can be worn with nearly anything, and they provide an extra layer and make outfits more visually interesting.

Utility vests are especially great for warmer climates.  They allow you to have the visual interest of layering while not overheating you.  Utility vests come in all different weights (thickness/thinness of material), so if you’re in a super warm climate, look for a really thin one.  If you’re in a cooler climate but still want to wear a vest, look for a thicker one.

Good utility vests aren’t always easy to find at a decent price, but once in a while you’ll find a fantastic one from Target, Kohl’s, JCPenney, or Old Navy for under $30.  Otherwise, you can find some really great ones at Nordstrom year round, but they are way more expensive.  Recently I’ve been sharing about the awesome utility vest from JCPenney.  It’s incredibly affordable since JCP runs sales all the time.  (Wait for it to go between $21-$35.)  It’s also ridiculously soft, which is important as many utility vests are too stiff and not comfortable to wear all day.  If you want a thin one, this JCP one is fantastic.  For some reason it’s not available for shipping online and only for store pickup, but you can check if you can get your size at your local store HERE!

There are a few other utility vest options at the bottom of this post, but I haven’t tried them all firsthand, so read reviews!

What I Look for in Utility Vests

If you’re searching for a utility vest, look for one with these qualities:

  • softer and comfortable to wear all day
  • cinches at the waist—adjustable drawstring is preferable
  • has large pockets

Alright, now let’s talk through some outfits with a utility vest!


Outfits With a Utility Vest

Utility Vest + Floral Dress + Taupe Lace up Sandals + White Necklace Utility Vest + Statement Earrings + Navy and purple Dress + Tan Bag Utility Vest + Statement Earrings + Pendant Necklace + Dress

Short Sleeved or Sleeveless Dress
First up is the option for the warmest fall weather—basically for those who have summer weather during fall.  😛  You can add fall feels to those summer dresses by throwing on a lightweight utility vest!  And yes, you can totally wear a vest with sleeveless tops or dresses!

BTW, this dress is breastfeeding-friendly thanks to the cross front.  This exact is sold out, but it’s available in a few other prints HERE.  It’s extremely comfortable, stretchy, and CHEAP!  I got it for $14!!!

Shop the Outfit:
Dress: c/o JCPenney (exact in different print–size S)
Vest: c/o JCPenney (exact–size XS)
Shoes: c/o JCPenney (exact–size 9)
Bag: c/o JCPenney (similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact) (wearing size M)
Necklace: Nordstrom (similar)


Utility Vest + Yellow Peplum Tee + Dark Denim + Taupe Booties + White Accessories Denim Skinnies + Yellow Peplum Tee + Utility Vest + Taupe Booties + Gray Bag Yellow Striped Peplum Tee + Vest + White Bag + Dark Skinnies

Brighter Colored Top + Jeans + Booties
Since olive is a pseudo-neutral, it goes with quite a lot of colors.  Wear it with bright yellow, orange, pink, purple, or blue.  It’s so versatile!

I love it with my yellow peplum top, which has been a favorite in my closet since I got it this spring.  I wore it through the summer, then styled it here for early fall with jeans, booties, and a utility vest!

Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact–wearing size S; similar updated version)
Vest: c/o JCPenney (exact–size XS)
Jeans: Nordstrom (exact–wearing size 4)
Shoes: Nordstrom (exact)
Bag: Nordstrom (similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact) (wearing size M)
Necklace: Nordstrom (similar


Black floral top + Utility Vest + Black Jeans + Taupe Booties + black bag Utility Vest + Black Floral Top + Taupe Booties + Black Jeans Utility Vest + Bucket Bag + Black Jeans + Floral Top + Gold Pendant

Printed Top + Jeans + Booties
A utility vest works great over printed tops.  Printed tops effortlessly make outfits more interesting, and the vest is an easy but lightweight piece to throw on and take the whole outfit to the next level.

This top is soooo soft and stretchy.  It’s so stretchy that it’s easy to breastfeed in by pulling down the neckline.  I usually can’t breastfeed in v-neck tops, so I’m confident that if *I* can do it in this tee that most others can too.  It comes in several colors and prints HERE.  I’m wearing size M.

One heads up is that it’s pretty long.  It makes for great front-tucking and the back works okay with long oversized cardigans or even this longer utility vest.  But it can be weird to wear with shorter completer pieces, so in those cases I’ll tuck the back of the top and blouse it out a bit like I would to the front.

Shop the Outfit:
Top: Modcloth (exact–size M)
Vest: c/o JCPenney (exact–size XS)
Jeans: Wit & Wisdom/Nordstrom (exact -wearing size 6)
Booties: Nordstrom (exact–size 9)
Bag: Nordstrom (similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact) (wearing size M)
Necklace: Dear Mushka (exact


Black Swing Dress + Utility Vest + Tote + Booties Utility Vest + Black swing dress + Tote + Gold Necklace

Long Sleeved Dress
Of course, you can wear it with a long sleeved dress too!  You know I love my pajama swing dresses, and a utility vest adds a little bit of necessary structure to these super flowy and kind of shapeless (but extreeeeeemely comfortable) dresses.

(I call them “pajama” dresses because they are so dang soft and stretchy that they might as well be pajamas!)

Shop for the Look:
Dress: Old Navy (exact–size M, similar)
Vest: c/o JCPenney (exact–size XS)
Shoes: Sole Society (similar)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact) (wearing size M)
Necklace: Dear Mushka (exact)


Striped tee + Utility Vest + Riding Boots + Scarf Utility Vest + Striped Tee + Mustard Scarf + Skinnies Skinnies + Striped tee + vest + riding boots + cross body bag Riding boots + Skinnies + Utility Vest

Long Sleeved Tee or Sweater
Lastly, the vest looks cute with a long sleeved tee—preferably a striped one!  😀  (You can wear a vest with a short sleeved stripe tee too, but I wanted to show a long sleeved tee outfit since I’ve already shown a couple outfits with short sleeves.)  If you want to wear a vest but need more warmth, wear it over a sweater!

Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (similar)
Vest: c/o JCPenney (exact–size XS)
Jeans: Nordstrom (exact–wearing size 4)
Scarf: Modcloth (similar)
Boots: Nordstrom (exact)
Bag: Modcloth (similar)
Necklace: Dear Mushka (exact


I hope that gives you some ideas for how to wear a utility vest.  It seriously goes with so much!  For even more ways I’ve worn a utility vest, click HERE!

Below are a few utility vest options.  Again, I haven’t tried them firsthand, so read reviews.  Good luck!

P.S. The next round of FASTer Way to Fat Loss starts Oct 15th!  Read my two posts about it HERE.


Utility Vest Options

Utility vest options

Top Row: One/ Two / Three
Bottom Row: Four/ Five / Six



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