The backwards racer vest: How to nail spring’s biggest (and trickiest) fashion trend like a pro

Posted by for Fashion

The backwards racer vest (it is a thing, we promise) is the starting point to all great outfits this spring. 

Whether you’re an avid gym goer or not, we predict you will already be familiar with the classic racerback vest (think straps that meet high on the back, in that lightweight material that’s quickly become synonymous with athleisure wear). 

Now, the typically sporty style has had a resurgence in the fashion world once again. This season, however, it’s the backwards racer style that’s getting all the love – which basically means the wide straps that usually go in at the back to create that racerback look are now at the front, too. 

We know what you’re thinking: it’s a logistical nightmare when it comes to bra straps. However, we ask that you hear us out…

Street style racer vest

The trend first started when minimalist fashion editors and influencers began bringing the wardrobe basic to the forefront of their spring wardrobe, pairing it with wide leg trousers, midi skirts or jeans

Now, it seems the style is sticking around for spring (and beyond), as even supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has joined the long list of back-to-front racer top fans. And she did it in a £12.99 body from Zara

Yes, we said £12.99. Yes, we said Zara. And yes, it comes in three colours.

Check it out:

So, we hear you ask, why is the backwards racer top a trend to try out this spring? Well, we’ve come up with three solid points. 

1) Like a T-shirt or an average vest, the backwards racer top is one of those items you know will never let you down. Because, no matter what you team it with, it’ll always work. From wide leg jeans and Teva sandals to a leather midi skirt and mules – throw it on anytime, and go. 

2) The backwards racer top is available from pretty much every fashion outlet, from high street to designer, which means you can nab one no matter what budget you’re working towards. 

3) The backwards racer top is perfect for layering, so you can take yours from spring to autumn in an instant by teaming it with a trench coat, utility jacket or even a puff-sleeve organza top like influencer Rikke (as seen bel0w). And, when it gets really chilly, you can wear yours underneath boiler suits and shirts, too. 

Essentially, what we’re saying is that you’ll end up making the back-to-front top you never knew you needed (until now) work hard for you from here on out.

Of course, it’s best to get your racer in a neutral hue that’ll work across all seasons, mixing with other simple separated and keep the look tonal for a minimal vibe. 

And when it comes to the eternal bra strap question? Well, opt for a strapless bra or make like RHW and go braless. The world is your oyster at this point.

Convinced? Then shop our edit of the best backwards racer vest tops now. 

  • Topshop

    Racer vest tops: Topshop
    Racer vest tops: Topshop

    This fine-rib racer tank top strikes the perfect balance between sporty and slinky. Available in silver, navy and classic black, we can see ourselves wearing this effortlessly easy-to-wear piece on heavy rotation for years to come. 

    Shop Topshop racer vest, £9

  • Maggie Marilyn

    Racer vest tops: Maggie Marilyn
    Racer vest tops: Maggie Marilyn

    Already thinking ahead to summer? Then look to Maggie Marilyn’s camel and pastel pink take on the racer back. Knitted in Italy from oh-so-soft Merino wool, this top is the cosiest (and most chic) interpretation of the trend we’ve seen so far. 

    Shop Maggie Marilyn two-tone merino wool-blend top at Net-A-Porter, £235

  • & Other Stories

    Image of & Other Stories top
    Racer vests: & Other Stories

    While we usually go to & Other Stories for dreamy dresses, statement arm-candy and killer shoes. This time it’s for basics, with the white cotton blend racer.

    Team with a leopard print midi skirt and strappy mules for evening.

    Shop & Other Stories cotton blend racer tank top, £23

  • Goldsign

    Image of Goldsign vest
    Racer vest tops: Goldsign

    It may be on the pricey side, but you know how much you wear your favourite black dress or T-shirt? You’ll wear this just as much. 

    If you calculate the cost-per-wear it’ll end up being pennies. 

    Shop Goldsign ribbed stretch-jersey tank at Net-A-Porter, £190

  • Zara

    Image of Zara top
    Racer vest tops: Zara

    This is the exact racer body supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has got in all three colours. Not only does she have the £12.99 bargain body in all hues, she’s already shown seven ways of how to wear it on her Instagram.

    Sold? Us too. 

    Shop beige body at Zara, £12.99

  • Topshop

    Racer vest tops: Topshop
    Racer vest tops: Topshop

Sign up for our essential edit of what to buy, see, read and do while at home and also receive our 11-page Ultimate Guide To Making Your Home Feel Bigger.

Images: Getty / Instagram 

Share this article

Recommended by Harriet Davey