Waistcoats are traditionally associated with men’s formal wear and are most commonly seen at weddings or as part of a mans business suit. Traditionally worn with a three piece suit gentlemen also used to keep their pocket watch in the waistcoat pocket.
Suddenly the waistcoat is back in fashion, they are far more than just an uncomfortable formal accessory and they can offer you a very versatile accessory for your wardrobe. While the three piece suit can still hold a powerful demeanour in the business world, the waistcoat has crossed the boundaries and can now be worn casually as well as formally.
Many men be left with the dilemma of when and with what outfit to wear a waistcoat, the occasion needn’t be formal, in fact the waistcoat would be fine to be worn for a drink at your local bar, rather than the traditional jeans and t shirt. The beauty of the waistcoat is that it can be dressed up or down, they can look great with a simple t shirt and look equally as good with a casual shirt or a formal suit or blazer. However you wear your waistcoat, it can add a huge amount of style and finesse to the way you dress
Waistcoats are now available in a variety of materials, tweeds are popular for the winter months and cottons more popular for summer. Like any jacket or blazer, colour may vary and you can opt for neutral or solid colours such as black, grey or navy or you may prefer brighter colours or patterns, remembering to keep your other accessories simple as not to distract from your waistcoat. Traditionally, if wearing a tie this should match in colour and design, and if wearing a jacket the material should be coordinated too.
An easy way to incorporate a waistcoat into your casual collection is to wear it with your pair of jeans and your favourite t shirt, or alternatively with a pair of chinos, which are also back in demand, opt for a contrasting colour for maximum effect. More formally the waistcoat can be worn with a plain shirt and tie, but try dropping the jacket, ensuring your waistcoat takes centre stage.
As with any attire the correct fit is very important, ensuring you have enough room for comfortable movement without restriction, but at the same time if the cut is too loose it will look untidy.
Traditionally waistcoats are worn with the bottom button undone to allow for comfort and extra movement, the top button may also be undone for extra comfort if required and if worn casually, leave completely unbuttoned.
A waistcoat is often overlooked as a fashion accessory, but they will make a great addition to your wardrobe for both formal and informal occasions.