Welcome to the second installment of Sliding Scale, a series in which we bring you a single product for every budget. This month we’re rounding up insulated vests. Thin enough to wear under a jacket, but handsome enough to wear on their own, these lightweight layers provide warmth without bulk. Click-thru for nine of the season’s best responsibly-made options.
Snap ‘N’ Wear
The vests from Snap ‘N’ Wear are made in the USA, come in a bevy of colors, and are all priced well under $50. Just remember they run large, so size down if you order.
Similar in design to the Snap ‘N’ Wear vests but way better fitting are the Canadian-made Travel Vests from Muttonhead. The nice thing about these is that they’re reversible, so it’s like getting two vests in one. They’re also on super sale right now ($70 down from $166).
Though best known for their quilted jackets, the English brand Lavenham makes vests too. Like the jackets, they’re cut and sewn in the UK, and have a nice slim fit. Yook has a handful of different styles, some of which are priced as low as $75.
The Quilted Snap Vests from New York’s Utility Canvas are made in the USA, come in three colors, and cost $117. Unlike most of the other vests on this list, these have a soft cotton canvas outer instead of nylon, making them a lot less tech-y looking.
On the other end of the spectrum are the Bise Vests from Finisterre, which are made in Portugal and have a very tech-y (and eco-friendly) breathable, wind / water resistant 100% recycled nylon shell and PrimaLoft Silver Eco insulation fill. They can also be packed away into their own chest pocket, which makes them great for traveling. Three colors are available, and prices range from $140 – $170.
The $225 Canadian-made Wool Aire Vests from Ibex also have a 100% recycled nylon shell, but unlike every other vest on this list, they’re insulated with wool. This makes them exceedingly lightweight, better at temperature regulation, and helps them retain more warmth when wet.
Aesthetically speaking, these Thermolite Vests from Arpenteur are probably my favorite. They’re made in France out of 100% cotton poplin, have a two-way Eclair zipper, and are insulated with Thermolite, a Primaloft alternative. Unfortunately, at $255 a pop (plus international shipping), good looks don’t come cheap.
Wings + Horns
And speaking of expensive good looks, the Combat Vests from Wings + Horns are made in Canada out of “combat” quilted ripstop nylon (the same quilting pattern found on military garments), have a ribbed collar, extended back, flap pockets, and cost $275.
And finally, rounding out our list at $350 a pop are the Canadian-made Mionn IS Vests from Arc’teryx Veilance. These are both the lightest weight (barely thicker than a flannel shirt), and the most technically advanced (stretch fabric outer, Coreloft insulation). Three colors are available.