He was an Englishman who had been a traveller in Persia for years. It is possible to wear a vested suit with a waistcoat that does not match the jacket and trousers. The term "waistcoat" might therefore also be derived from the wastage of the old coat.
Check our list of the best three-piece suits in ! Standing out in a crowd is as simple as adding a waistcoat — and when a simpler look is called for the vest can always be removed, unlike the equally striking but less flexible double-breasted jacket. Waistcoats add to the character of a basic 2-piece suit; a matching fabric waistcoat can transform a two piece suit to a level below evening wear but above simple business dress while a contrasting odd vest can make a drab grey outfit and the man wearing it more lively and approachable.
As this definition implies, an odd vest and suit — defined as a waistcoat made from a different fabric than the jacket and trouser — is not a true three piece suit. Since then the waistcoat has become an uncommon yet striking accent, going in and out of style regularly but always distinctive if worn well. For a man seeking a distinctive style, the three piece suit has obvious merits.
A man can safely assume he will be one of the only people wearing a vested suit at most social occasions. It also creates a single, unbroken stretch of the suit fabric from ankles to shoulder.
Worn on its own, the waistcoat of a three piece suit is usually an acceptable piece of dress-casual clothing. Of course, a three piece suit can always become a two-piece suit through the simple expedient of leaving the waistcoat at home — unlike the double-breasted suit, the three-piece sacrifices no versatility for its elegance. Its only drawback so long as the rest of the suit is well-made is the added cost of the third garment.
Vests are a surprisingly hard garment to fit properly — cautious tailors will often insist on making at least a shirt and a jacket for a man to familiarize themselves with his measurements and proportions before tackling a waistcoat. A well-made waistcoat will be tailored with the assumption that it will sometimes be the outermost garment, meaning that the fit needs to be appropriate even at points that are usually hidden beneath the jacket.
Nearly every point on a vest has relevant benchmarks for fit. At the bottom, the vest should be long enough to completely cover the waistband of the pants.
Any visible shirt around the waist will destroy the top-to-bottom sweep of the suit fabric. Too long of a vest starts to look absurd, so the trousers on a good three piece suit will be fitted high, around the natural waist, and should ideally be worn with suspenders.
A belt may cause bulging in the waistcoat fabric and will be completely hidden, rendering it unnecessary. A good waistcoat should be fitted; that is, it should have a distinct waist. Most will be somewhat adjustable by means of a strap in the back.
Waistcoats are now worn less, so the pocket watch may more likely be stored in a trouser pocket. Wearing a belt with a waistcoat, and indeed any suit, is not traditional. To give a more comfortable hang to the trousers, the waistcoat instead covers a pair of braces suspenders in the U. A custom still sometimes practised is to leave the bottom button undone.
It has also been suggested that the practice originated to prevent the waistcoat riding up when on horseback. This convention only applies to single-breasted day waistcoats and not double breasted, evening, straight-hem or livery waistcoats that are all fully buttoned. Waistcoats worn with lounge suits now principally single-breasted normally match the suit in cloth, and have four to six buttons.
Double breasted waistcoats are rare compared to single. As formalwear , it used to be common to wear a contrastingly coloured waistcoat, such as in buff or dove linen. This is still seen in morning dress , which requires a waistcoat. The waistcoats worn with white- and black- tie are different from standard daytime single-breasted waistcoats, being much lower in cut with three buttons or four buttons, where all are fastened.
The much larger expanse of shirt compared to a daytime waistcoat allows more variety of form, with "U" or "V" shapes possible, and there is large choice of outlines for the tips, ranging from pointed to flat or rounded.
The colour normally matches the tie, so only black barathea wool, grosgrain or satin and white marcella, grosgrain or satin are worn, although white waistcoats used to be worn with black tie in early forms of the dress. Waiters , sometimes also waitresses, and other people working at white-tie events, to distinguish themselves from guests, sometimes wear gray tie, which consists of the dress coat of white tie a squarely cut away tailcoat with the black waistcoat and tie of black tie.
The variant of the clergy cassock may be cut as a vest. It differs in style from other waistcoats in that the garment buttons to the neck and has an opening that displays the clerical collar. In the Church of England , a particular High Church clerical vest introduced in the s was nicknamed the "M. In the Girl Scouts of the USA , vests are used as an alternative to the sash for the display of badges. In many stock exchanges , traders who engage in open outcry may wear colored sleeveless waistcoats, or trading jackets , with insignia on the back.
Waistcoats, alongside bowties , are commonly worn by billiard players during a tournament. It is usually worn in snooker and blackball tournaments in the United Kingdom. The waistcoat is one of the few articles of clothing whose origin historians can date precisely.
King Charles II of England , Scotland and Ireland introduced the waistcoat as a part of correct dress after the Restoration of the British monarchy in It was derived from the Persian vests seen by English visitors to the court of Shah Abbas. He was an Englishman who had been a traveller in Persia for years.
A certain similar type of vest has also been worn by the Indians, named Bandi jacket. John Evelyn wrote about waistcoats on October 18, Samuel Pepys , the diarist and civil servant, wrote in October that "the King hath yesterday in council declared his resolution of setting a fashion for clothes which he will never alter. It will be a vest, I know not well how". This royal decree provided the first mention of the waistcoat.
Pepys records "vest" as the original term; the word "waistcoat" derives from the cutting of the coat at waist-level, since at the time of the coining, tailors cut men's formal coats well below the waist see dress coat. An alternative theory is that, as material was left over from the tailoring of a two-piece suit, it was fashioned into a "waste-coat" to avoid that material being wasted, although recent academic debate has cast doubt on this theory.
During the seventeenth century, troops of the regular army — and to some degree also local militia — wore waistcoats which were the reverse colour of their overcoats. It is believed that these were made by turning old worn-out standard issue overcoats inside-out so that the lining colour appeared on the outside and removing the sleeves. The term "waistcoat" might therefore also be derived from the wastage of the old coat.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, men often wore elaborate and brightly coloured waistcoats, until changing fashions in the nineteenth century narrowed this to a more restricted palette, and the development of lounge suits began the period of matching informal waistcoats. After the French Revolution of , anti-aristocratic sentiment in France and elsewhere in Europe influenced the wardrobes of both men and women, and waistcoats followed, becoming much less elaborate.
After about the fit of the waistcoat became shorter and tighter, becoming much more secondary to the frock-coat overcoat and almost counting as an undergarment, although its popularity was larger than ever. With the new dandyism of the early 19th century, the waistcoat started to change roles, moving away from its function as the centrepiece of the visual aspect of male clothing, towards serving as a foundation garment , often with figure-enhancing abilities.
From the s onwards, elite gentlemen—at least those among the more fashionable circles, especially the younger set and the military —wore corsets.
Suitsupply Waistcoat: Our tailored waistcoats are ideal to complement your style. Italian fabrics, impeccable slim fit—just a few reasons you should check out our latest arrivals! Free shipping and free returns on Try our Suit Finder. Not Dressing Men. If you’re unsure of the dress code then play it safe and match your trousers and jacket to your waistcoat. If you think there’s room to have a bit of fun, then try pairing a bright or patterned waistcoat underneath your usual suit jacket and trousers. A classic collared shirt is best, but ties are optional. So, there really is no difference between a vest and a waistcoat. Whether one term is used or not is also geographical. In England, for example, the garment is more commonly referred to as a waistcoat, while in America we tend to refer to it as a vest.