Outfit Restyle: Remember Vests with Scarves?

Sep 29, 2022

The year is 2012.  Everyone is on Pinterest.  Outfit of the day blogs are everywhere.  The Glitter Guide, #GirlBoss and bubble necklaces rule.  And we all own oversized plaid scarves for fall.

But in 2022, how do we restyle this popular look to make it more modern?  Let’s discuss.

The outfit on the left screams 2012.  The utility vest, the scarf, the layered chambray shirt, it’s like a time capsule that plays Call Me Maybe when you open it.  Restyling it means letting a few things go to make it softer and more monochromatic, with fewer contrasting patterns.

Vest // J.Crew’s Excursion Vests have been redesigned to look fresh from the British countryside.  I love this nutmeg color.  Or if you prefer an olive hue, try this one from Barbour, which has a similar feel.

The quilted vest is a bit fresher than the cotton vests of old, but if you like the utility look, I would upgrade to a full jacket.  LL Bean makes my favorite one.  The vest feels a bit more dated than the standard utility jacket.

Sweater // To soften this look, I ditched the stripes and the chambray.  Since stripe sweaters are hot this year, I thought about keeping the top a similar look, but I just loved the idea of taking this look in a softer direction with an ivory sweater.

This ribbed sweater from J.Crew is such a classic.  And the cotton/cashmere blend makes it so cozy and warm.  It feels like it should come with a cup of cocoa and a roaring fire.  If you like cotton sweaters or have a wool allergy, LL Bean has a bunch cotton styles.

Scarf // I originally thought about styling this look with an ivory scarf (this blanket scarf is amazing).  Simple, elegant, one color.  But I wanted to keep something from the original look, and when I spotted this softly hued, neutral plaid scarf, I knew it was perfect.

Jeans // Lighter washes are where my head is at right now, along with more casual cuts.  AG’s Ex Boyfriend jean and Jag Jeans Girlfriend Jean are both worth a look.  Petite?  I loved these NYDJ jeans.  Plus?  Try these Madewell vintage jeans.

Boots // I admit, I struggled with the direction I wanted to go here.  But since this look always reminds me of posed photos of women apple picking in fall, I decided to choose a more outdoorsy style.  Plus., I loved the lighter color of these Sorel Hi Line Hiking Boots, so it was tough to resist.

Looking for something less outdoorsy?  These Target Katrina Boots have a combat feel.  I also liked these simple, suede Lisa Vicky boots with a low heel.  But remember, if you plan to wear suede outside, get some protectant spray and a suede brush.

Something Closer to the Original // Want to refresh the original, but keep it a little closer to the inspiration look?  If you own an oversized blanket scarf, or want to buy one, you can modernize this look by simplifying the top and vest.  Buy the Excursion Vest in navy, instead of the nutmeg.  If you like the contrast, pick up a stripe sweater, but I would recommend sticking to solid navy.  This look maintains the appeal of the blanket scarf but in a simpler, fresher way.

Do you have a blanket scarf in your closet?  Do you still wear it?  Or if you have other beloved pieces from a decade past that you want to restyle, what are they?

How To Wear It, Style

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  1. Betsy says:

    Which are the exact jeans in your picture?

  2. Allison says:

    I love when you do these restyles of old favorites!! I think the boot choice is spot on, I think the more casual/practical/less precious footwear helps get the look from 2012 to 2021.

  3. Mercedes says:

    LOL @ “bubble necklaces”. Can we bring those back please?!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I spend my early 30s dressed like this and had somehow forgotten it. This post brought back the whiff of good chardonnay and bad dates, I love it.

  5. KG says:

    This is too funny and SO true. Love the restyle (as a geriatric millennial, I’m always a little lost on how to update my ‘stuck-in-2010s’ mental style). Also, the J.Crew excursion vest is 50 % off right now so good time to buy!

  6. Debbie says:

    At 5 feet tall and 110 pounds, I find it hard to style scarves and chunky sweaters and am, frankly, swallowed up by many of these styles. Do you have any options for petite women?

  7. Naomi says:

    Just came here to join the chorus of elder millennials who are feeling stuck in the photo to the left…I told my husband just the other day that I just wasn’t sure what was fashionable anymore (and I’ll be damned if I go back to the crop top obsession of the 90s that’s popping back up – anyone else concerned about the resurgence of the trend that highlights dangerously skinny looking women? I cringe looking back at some of those photos, and at the way I tried to emulate them). Thanks for the updates, Abra!

    • Ana says:

      Same! I think a bunch of us on this site are geriatric millenials. I would feel so darn proud of myself if i put together the outfit on the left and wore it on this year of the Lord 2022

  8. Jess says:

    Well… I feel ATTACKED.

  9. Aam1 says:

    Definitely still have a blanket scarf in my closet and definitely still love it!

  10. Nancy says:

    I loved this post! I’m older than most of you (my daughter sent me to this blog). In 2012 I was in my early 40s, and I wore the blanket scarf trend in the monochromatic way (right image). I’ll have to figure out how to freshen it up for someone my age. haha.

  11. Cait says:

    Hi Abra,
    First, thanks for the update to one of my favorite 2012 looks! On the fall theme – could you do a post about rainboots that don’t look ridiculous with work attire? I often commute a lot during the day for meetings, and with a blustery fall ahead where I live, looking to find some ankle rainboots that don’t look heinous with work attire! Thanks!!!
    Cheers,
    C

  12. Kayleigh says:

    Abra – I love this series! Something about how time passed during the pandemic/ we’ve kept some clothes/ accessories from 2012, etc. really makes this series appealing. I have all of my blanket scarves still (and honestly living in upstate NY, still need to use them), so I really love thsi restyling idea. Also a strong YES to the more casual/ utilitarian shoes- that’s one thing (besides joggers and leggings) that I will thank the pandemic for!

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