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The Joy and Horror of the Vest Couple

On Saturdays, they wear vests.

Photo: Getty Images

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Science tells us that if a couple A) genuinely enjoys spending time together, B) believes a perfect weekend involves shopping at Trader Joe’s followed by playing Jenga at a local brewery, and C) has enough disposable income, there is a 97 percent chance that they also wear vests.

Reader, we are living in a Vest Couple’s world.

The phenomenon of the Vest Couple is simple: It is the act of being in a couple, and also wearing vests. They don’t have to match, by the way, the vests. One vest might be fleece, and the other one a puffer. Probably one of them is Patagonia. One half of the Vest Couple may pair hers with a plaid flannel button-down, her significant other with a turtleneck sweater. If they are a more advanced Vest Couple and it is particularly cold out, maybe one of them will wear a sweater under a vest under a puffer coat! All that matters is that vests play a deeply crucial role in the personal styles of both partners.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Vest Couples over the past few months, mainly because fall is almost over, and fall is Vest Couple mating season. It’s the time of year when you do things you would never do in any other season, like drive two hours to perform voluntary manual labor (apple picking), or make really dorky spontaneous remarks about how the air feels super crisp today, both of which pair perfectly with vests.

Here is a list of other things, besides vests, that all Vest Couples enjoy: expensive socks, vinyl records as wall art, Friends (they’re Monica and Chandler), indoor ficuses, eggs Benedict, sharing household chores, limited-batch double IPAs, the Madewell Transport tote, items in buffalo plaid print, very large scarves, thinking about running half-marathons, saving up for their yearly vacation, and being on a first-name basis with their barista.

It is for all of these reasons that for many people, Vest Couples are a particularly excruciating breed. Here are two people, seemingly so smug in their stability and overlapping taste in home décor that they symbolize everything adulthood is supposed to be. For some, a Vest Couple is the thing they’re most terrified of becoming, and for others, a Vest Couple is everything they’ve always wanted and afraid they’ll never have. Both are scary!

I actually love Vest Couples. I genuinely enjoy spending time with couples, period, but when you’re around a Vest Couple, you just feel safe. Plus, they sometimes pay for your brunch. They don’t even ask you to Venmo them afterwards!!!! And then when your brunch turns into day drinking at a picturesque dog-friendly outdoor bar, and day drinking turns into tipsily laying on their gorgeous couch and watching New Girl for the rest of the evening while one half of the Vest Couple fixes you a cheese plate, you suddenly understand why people purchase minivans and get excited about different kinds of blenders. Vest Couples don’t force you to dress up and go out to a bar when you just feel like slowly sinking into the couch. That is the Vest Couple’s favorite activity, right behind meeting up after work and going to the wine store!

Sure, sometimes it feels like the universe is made up of Vest Couples and you are the only one in a regular coat with sleeves. Sometimes you walk down a beautiful tree-lined residential street in Brooklyn and you have to stop and ask yourself, “Why are all the vests in pairs, and why do they look so happy?” And then you think, “Will I ever be one of the vest-wearing happy people?” And then you feel kind of sad, and so you duck into a store and buy the coolest, most impractical, least vest-y dress you can find and remind yourself that honestly, vests are kind of ugly, and maybe that’s the point.