Waistcoats have, of course, been around for a very long time – since the 17th century at least. While they were once the preserve of English Royalty and noble families, nowadays anyone can enjoy the elegance of this formal item of clothing.
Usually worn as part of a three-piece suit, waistcoats have the benefit of being worn with or without a suit jacket, and with some clever styling can be worn on almost any occasion from a casual drink to the most important of evenings. The classic black waistcoat works in many scenarios, and various shades of greys and blues will also never go out of fashion. For the more adventurous, adding a splash of colour allows you to show off your flamboyant side and set yourself apart as more of an individual than a conformist.
For when impressions really count
Although the waistcoat is coming back into fashion as an item of clothing not just to be worn on the big occasion, many men still only seem to dig out their waistcoat for weddings and other important events. However, there is good reason for this. A waistcoat adds an extra layer of formality and style to your look, enhancing even the most wonderful of two-piece mens suits. Even better, if you wish to remove your suit jacket later in the evening when things become less formal (and a little more ‘jolly’) you will still look smart and stylish.
Another added benefit of wearing a waistcoat is that it stops your shirt from becoming so creased, and you will largely look the same in the evening as you did when you left the house in the morning. For anyone worried about becoming too hot and bothered at a summer wedding for example, a backless waistcoat will help with this as it provides a more breathable option or a linen wedding suit is also a possible option. This mens tweed wool waistcoat goes perfectly with a white shirt and a pair of Jeans.
There are also those who work in the hospitality industry at events such as wedding receptions; needless to say, if this is an area you work in, you will know the importance of also looking the part. As mentioned above, if you will be rushing around all evening in a potentially hot environment, a classic backless ivory waistcoat will look sleek, and will also help to keep you cool.
Waistcoats at work
As we just touched on, waiting staff are often required to look very smart, which is why seeing waiters (and indeed waitresses) in smart trousers and waistcoat is a common sight. For anyone working in a high class restaurant, looking formal, stylish and elegant is absolutely part of the job and will be expected of you. Such restaurants will no doubt often provide a staff uniform, but if you are left to choose your own attire, a waistcoat will always look fantastic.
Of course, anyone who sees their fair share of business and board meetings will also be conscious of their image, and image is everything in business. Meeting a new business associate whilst looking sharp in a three-piece suit is certainly a good decision, and when the formalities have relaxed and you need to get down to business, jacket off and rolled up sleeves is a great look as long as you have your waistcoat in tow.
For everyday wear
When we go about our daily business, we have different ideas about how smart or formal we want to look. Whereas many might not fancy wearing a waistcoat on a trip to the supermarket, many of us take pleasure in looking sophisticated and stylish even when going about our daily errands. For this reason, the waistcoat is still a valid choice, and if done well, can even be combined with a smart pair of jeans for the most sophisticated of smart-casual looks.
This is also where a little colour can come into play; as without the confines of wedding or evening wear formality, you can experiment more with different colours of waistcoat and shirt to create less formal and more playful looks.
A reliable choice
Any man who takes an interest in looking good and presenting himself well should have at least one quality waistcoat in his wardrobe. Even if it only comes out once or twice a year, you will certainly do yourself justice in the fashion department.