2023 Fall Vest Review
221: Top 10 Brands & 35+ Models
Well gentlemen and ladies I stepped outside this weekend to some light rain and a gust of cold air that can only mean one thing — summer is fading and fall is fast approaching.
While I enjoyed a long summer of traveling and outdoors activities paired with veiny boy style sleds and drivers, as the weather shifts and the economy worsens it’s time to buckle down and prepare for he long fall/winter grind.
Which means one thing — it’s almost vest season. Our mostly widely read and subscribed to post was our Deal Sled Review last year, kitting out corporate workers and finance lords across the country in the most elite bit loafer selection covered on the internet — if you missed that you can read it here.
In the heyday of Arbitrage Andy we would get thousands of submissions a week of finance bros and corporate fledglings rocking their custom Patagonias or Columbia fleece vests while they grinded endlessly to appease their capitalistic masters in midtown New York, San Francisco, and other major cities in the US and around the world. Goldman Sachs, Citadel, Balyasny, and others created some of the most coveted and slickest looking custom vests you could find in professional America.
Despite what you’ve heard in the past about where the vest drip originated, there are two original origin stories that helped propel the look across Wall Street and VC/Tech circles.
The first involves was that Steve Cohen the infamous hedge fund manager who ran the now defunct SAC Capital (that saw it’s end over insider trading/inspiring Billions) kept the office notoriously cold — particularly on the trading floor. Steve felt the frigid air kept his traders, analysts, and PMs more alert and so he kept the low temperature prevalent.
In response personel started donning vests, usually fleece, as they kept the core warm but also allowed easy shedding if leaving the office or throwing on a suit. The second circles around the legendary Sun Valley Conference where dripped out vests were provided for companies and execs in attendance.
The rest is history and the look caught on quick — all types of shops within Tech/VC and on Wall Street from small broker shops to big banks started embossing custom vests, usually Patagonia, for their financial armies — until a politically correct and virtue signaling controversy that ended many of the partnerships (more on that later).
The vest is a right of passage of sorts — not too dissimilar from the cliche first year analyst Rolex buy.
Vests are used to signal which financial insitutions or company you work with — now with Patagonia partnerships dwindling, seeing one in the wild is a rare treat, indicating someone with tenure or someone who was lucky enough to get on board early. There exists a large hole in the vest world now that could be filled by a number of brands — many of which we will cover today to.
Today’s detailed guide includes 10 top brands and over 40 different vest models to keep you kitted out into the colder months looking like you move serious size. I’ve provided the cost, model names, and a wide range of different options for budgets of all types today.
This Fall/Winter is going to be grind head down season for many as they look to get a better job, keep their current job, expand a side business, or make more money for the new year — make sure you’re comfortable and dripped out properly with some of the top picks from this list before the first frost arrives.
Don’t make the mistake of being the guy who doesn’t get promoted because he wears his massive jacket or dorky college sweater to the office everyday, make sure you’re fit to flex.
Ah yes the original finance and tech bro vest. Unfortunately we saw Patagonia corporate let their far left emotions get the best of them when they decided to stop contracting for bulk orders for financial firms back in 2021.
Which sucks because Patagonia vests were top tier in terms of fit, embroidery, and shape — they weren’t too heavy or too light and paired ell with a nice business shirt.
Patagonias became so associated with “bro culture” that the company quite literally panicked as the bros moved in to overtake the key demographic of granola eaters and teva wearers in the Pacific northwest.
Fratagonias, Patty’s, Stockbroker Lifejacket, and other nicknames immediately stuck with these once treasured pieces of inter office insulation.
Back in 2021 Kim, president of the communications agency Vested, received the following note back from a reseller after attempting to place a bulk order for corporate vests:
“Patagonia has nothing against your client or the finance industry, it’s just not an area they are currently marketing through our co-brand division. While they have co-branded here in the past, the brand is really focused right now on only co-branding with a small collection of like-minded and brand aligned areas; outdoor sports that are relevant to the gear we design, regenerative organic farming, and environmental activism.”
Unclear what the official reputation of Patagonia is now after rejecting their most wealthy and rizzed out clientele base but if you want a taste of the vests of old, you can still go source one yourself.
Only issue now is your willing wearing a vest brand that actively chose to distance itself from the power and money hungry savages that litter the tech and finance industry — if you have an original one I can understand rocking it but choosing to still go with the brand now despite the controversy is a bold move and as you will see there are plenty of other brands and styles up to the task of unseating the original.
Men's Better Sweater Fleece Vest - $119
Men's Retro Pile Fleece Vest - $129
Nano Puff Vest - $189
“You ask me about the past, you ask me about the future, the only way to be happy is to be living right now.”
— Yvon Chouinard (Founder Patgonia)
Now let’s get into our sleeper vest brands that have the potential to take the historical top slot from Patagonia with their slick designs and different styles.