Like most young New Yorkers, I have a teeny apartment and an even teenier space to store my clothes (read: no closet!). So I cherish a versatile clothing item that can create endless outfit possibilities from my limited wardrobe.
My Talula Trooper Vest is that dream item. Purchased at Aritzia last summer, the vest is a sleeveless version of Talula's Trooper Jacket, a lightweight army jacket with a drawstring waist and more pockets than a Park Ranger uniform. When I glimpsed it in the store, it was the only one left -- and it was a size large (and I'm typically a XS/S kinda girl).
But I tried it on anyway and fell in love. As it turns out, the oversized cut was exactly what I was looking for -- I can wear the vest over everything, even my chunkiest sweater, and it swings down nicely over my longest cardigan.
More importantly, it somehow works with everything -- I know because I've tried. Last August, I went from the office to an anniversary dinner with my then-boyfriend wearing a stretchy pencil skirt and a loose tank top with the vest on top. Two weeks later I wore the same tank but swapped the pencil skirt out for skinny jeans and wore the vest to a rooftop bar in Brooklyn for a friend's birthday party. Then later that week the vest made its way to Fashion's Night Out, when I layered the vest on over a solid blue, drop-waist dress, giving the simple frock some texture and edge (Outfit #1 -- see below).
And that was just over the course of three weeks.
Once the weather turned cold, I got an oversized cardigan from Target that fit perfectly under the vest, which I wore to a friend's birthday dinner atop a printed Target dress (Outfit #2). I later discovered that my favorite "leather" jacket from Forever 21 made a good layering item. When I had to join my family, sadly, at my grandparents' unveiling in the late fall, I wore the vest over my leather jacket, a beige v-neck sweater, black skinny pants and patent leather flats (Outfit #3).
Sometimes the Boy Scouts-meets-Park Ranger vest is just the thing when I'm feeling, well, like a Boy Scout. The morning after the (not so) epic hurricane that swept through Manhattan in August, my friends and I tugged on our wellies and ventured out into the strangely empty, rain-soaked streets of New York. Atop my rainboots, denim cutoffs and white tee, I wore my Trooper Vest, secretly hoping someone would give me a Merit Badge for my brave expedition.
Lastly, the vest is an easy go-to when I need an outfit that just works. When I attended to the Monique Lhuillier Fall 2012 show during New York Fashion Week, I needed some failsafe style so I could focus on more important things, like speed-Tweeting runway pics and not tripping in my sky-high wedges. So I wore black tights, wool shorts, a black 3/4-sleeve tee... and my trusty Trooper Vest (Outfit #4).
After all that multi-season, multi-borough wear, is it time to take my Trooper Vest out of active duty and let it rest a while? Perhaps. But when I think of how fast I'll burn through the rest of my wardrobe, I know I'll be needing my beloved vest to have and to hold, to love and to layer. Why would I want to put an end my sartorial love story?