• Hi, I'm the owner and main administrator of Styleforum. If you find the forum useful and fun, please help support it by buying through the posted links on the forum. Our main, very popular sales thread, where the latest and best sales are listed, are posted HERE

    Purchases made through some of our links earn a commission for the forum and allow us to do the work of maintaining and improving it. Finally, thanks for being a part of this community. We realize that there are many choices today on the internet, and we have all of you to thank for making Styleforum the foremost destination for discussions of menswear and fashion.
  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Proper waistcoat etiquette?

DouggiePhresh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2008
Messages
85
Reaction score
0
I have never worn a suit with a waistcoat (is vest the same thing?). What is the etiquette for wearing a suit with one? For example, does it have to be made out of the same material as the rest of the suit? Can it be different? Different styles for double or single breasted suits?

I would like to get one for my current suit or purchase another suit with one.
 

Sator

Distinguished Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2006
Messages
3,083
Reaction score
32
The British tend to say 'waistcoat' and the Americans 'vest'. If you read Charles Dickens he will only write 'waistcoat'. The only exception is in tailoring parlance, where the British also say 'vest' eg 'vest maker'. The word 'vest' is actually a bit older and dates to around the time of Henry VIII IIRC.

The waistcoat need not match the coat. In fact, a bit of contrast can be interesting. I like odd waistcoats with a bit of pattern such as an understated check with a base colour a bit lighter than the coat. If the waistcoat has a pattern, you must ensure that shirt, tie and coat are plain solids to avoid it looking too busy. The more versatile waistcoats for wear with a lounge coat include cream, and dove grey. For a more informal look a more prominent check can be attractive. When worn with a sports coats you may mix patterns more - if you know how.

Waistcoats may be single or double breasted. The later is much more formal. They may or may not have lapels. If they do, they can be shawl collared or else have a form matching that of the coat. Double breasted waistcoats with a horse shoe shaped front are particularly formal and are worn only with formal and semi-formal dress (both morning and evening dress).

As for form and fit, it is by far and away preferable that the trousers be brace trousers so that the bulge from the belt underneath is not visible under the waistcoat. The waistcoat should be long enough to fully cover the waistline of the trousers. If bespeaking the waistcoat and trousers, a shorter waistcoat and brace trousers with a higher rise will also give the illusion of a longer leg-line.
 

DouggiePhresh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2008
Messages
85
Reaction score
0
very informative. thank you.

If the shirt and tie are patterned, one would need a solid color waistcoat I presume? So then with a black suit what solid color waistcoat would look appropriate?
 

DouggiePhresh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2008
Messages
85
Reaction score
0
Also, as stated by Sator, what are horse-shoe shaped waistcoats?
 

SoCal2NYC

Fashion Hayzus
Joined
Apr 8, 2007
Messages
12,204
Reaction score
8
Don't button the bottom button.
 

Roikins

Distinguished Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
1,951
Reaction score
2
Originally Posted by DouggiePhresh
Also, as stated by Sator, what are horse-shoe shaped waistcoats?
I think that means a U-shaped opening, as opposed to the vests you see at your tuxedo rental places in the mall that have the V-shaped openings... this photo is of a single-breasted one.
 

DouggiePhresh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2008
Messages
85
Reaction score
0
Originally Posted by Roikins
I think that means a U-shaped opening, as opposed to the vests you see at your tuxedo rental places in the mall that have the V-shaped openings... this photo is of a single-breasted one.



Oh, ok, thanks for the clarification. I have always figured those for formal only anyway.
 

Sator

Distinguished Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2006
Messages
3,083
Reaction score
32
Originally Posted by DouggiePhresh
very informative. thank you.

If the shirt and tie are patterned, one would need a solid color waistcoat I presume? So then with a black suit what solid color waistcoat would look appropriate?


Yes, it is always easier to choose a solid waistcoat if the shirt and tie are patterned. Basically, the greater the number of patterned items you wear, the more informal the dress - and the greater the danger of having patterns clash.

As for the black suit....well... it depends on what sort of "suit". If you mean a lounge suit, then read here:

http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=8221

If you mean a dress suit:



...a white pique waistcoat is correct.

Here is another dress suit worn with this time with a waistcoat with a horse shoe shaped front:



Notice the way it forms an elegant U shape.
 

Ralph

New Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2010
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
SoCal2NYC wrote not to button the bottom button. I have heard that before, but where does the rule come from? And is it an American usage, a European one, or both? Not vital information, but if one does wear the thing (which I do from time to time), then one wants to do it right.
 

ktrp

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
447
Reaction score
11
I believe 'vest' in england refers to the garment known where I grew up as a 'wife beater'.

I just though I'd toss that helpful bit of info out.
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

What Is The Best Value Shoe Brand For Money?

  • Meermin

    Votes: 36 15.9%
  • TLB Mallorca

    Votes: 39 17.2%
  • Cheaney

    Votes: 7 3.1%
  • Carmina

    Votes: 34 15.0%
  • Crockett & Jones

    Votes: 38 16.7%
  • Other

    Votes: 73 32.2%

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
457,010
Messages
9,904,992
Members
206,494
Latest member
Mantsjoe
Top