How to InVEST

Size Up or Size Down?

Am I the only one that finds a vest to be so damn challenging?  

These are the things that I want: 

  • I want the vest to be big enough so that it sits properly across my back and my shoulders, yet not so big that it has gaping arm holes. 
  • I [sometimes] want it to be big enough so that I can zip it up without looking like some kind of sausage casing.
  • I want it to be small enough so that it doesn’t just look big and make me look like I’m shapeless trying to cover everything up. 
  • I want it to be small enough so that when it’s open, it creates a [slimming] vertical line down the front, but not so small that it gapes open and pulls

I bought this vest in two different sizes.  I first purchased the bigger one because of other things I had purchased from this same store.  It was also based on my measurements, but we know how tricky, and even unreliable, that method can be.  I tried to wear it out a few times but each time, just didn’t feel quite right in it and didn’t love the way that it looked.  When I was out shopping for my kids, I tried on and decided to pick it up in the smaller size, as well.  

Here you can see my two different sizes – the smaller size in the top two images and the bigger size in the bottom two images.  In my head, I thought that the smaller size looked a lot tighter when it was zipped (which, this could vary throughout the day as well, so that could also be it).  Granted, it pulls a little bit, mostly around the pockets, but it’s really not bad.

The bigger size, I just feel like it swallows me up.  It’s so comfortable and roomy, obviously, but I do feel like the armholes are way too big and I also feel like when looking at it straight on, it just sort of takes over.  It’s a little longer as well so I feel like there are multiple reasons here to make this larger size less desirable.  For reference, I’m right around your average height (I think) at 5’6″. My “size smaller” is a size Large.  

While this color is no longer available, you can check out this vest (from Old Navy) here. I really do love it.  It has definitely been a staple for me in this colder weather we have been having.

So aside from literally buying two, one in each size, what is one to do?  Do you go with the bigger size and risk gaping arm holes or the smaller size and risk not being able to comfortably zip it, in case it’s actually cold out?  Do you want to be fully functional or is it more of an outerwear accessory?  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get stuff like this custom made to fit us?  Hmm, interesting concept…more on this next week.

Well, for me (and you might have already guessed this), it’s more of an outerwear accessory.  I go with the smaller size.  I would probably add a scarf or something here if it was extra cold out.  This would help just in case I was having a moment where it was feeling too small to zip. 

This conversation can also come into play for jackets, more specifically denim jackets or others that may have a little structure to them.  I feel the same way about a good denim jacket as I do about a vest.  Very rarely will I want to (or even attempt to) button or zip it.  Mostly, it’s an add on to an outfit to create some kind of look.  

The issue in the jacket comes in the sleeves.  If the size is such that it simply sits in a nice cute way, open in the front, you may find yourself with sleeves that are too short (because that jacket is made to fit (and close on) a person smaller than you!).  In that case, I simply roll the sleeves a few times so that no one would be able to tell the difference, but again, here we are with a true accessory as opposed to a jacket that keeps you warm that also happens to be appealing to the eye.  

But again, you can easily add a scarf or other cold weather accessory to add function back to your jacket.  I love a good scarf, too!

So in the end, we have a choice here on whether we size up or down – unless you’re one of the lucky ones that just fits into things perfectly as they are.  There are positives on either option.  Just know that if you’re looking for the perfect fit and having a hard time finding it, you’re not alone!

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