The Waistcoat

A waistcoat is a sleeveless garment that is worn with a suit jacket and/or a dress shirt. The waistcoat is the third piece to a three piece suit. It was very popular in the 1920’s. In the last years the waistcoat and the three piece suit is regaining popularity.

History

The waistcoat is one of the few articles of clothing whose origin historians can date precisely. King Charles of England, Scotland and Ireland introduced the waistcoat as a part of correct dress after the restoration of the British monarchy in 1660. It was derived from the Persian vests seen by English visitors to the court of Shah Abbas.

The word "waistcoat" derives from the cutting of the coat at waist-level. 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. During the seventeenth century, soldiers wore waistcoats which were the reverse colour of their overcoats. It is believed that these were made by turning old worn-out overcoats inside-out and removing the sleeves. The term "waistcoat" might therefore also be derived from the wastage of the old coat.

Fit

The fitting of any tailored waistcoat should be done with its back strap fastened. The adjustable rear belt gives shape to the vest's waistline and discourages the vest from riding up the torso during the course of wear. The waistcoat's chest should be full enough to allow its wearer to sit comfortably with no hint of looseness at the waist. Only a small segment of the waistcoat revealing no more than the top button,  should be visible above the jacket. The waistcoat must be long enough to cover the trousers waistband.

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Style

There are many different waistcoat styles. The most basic one is a single breasted waistcoat with five buttons and no revers. But you can choose a lot of different options when it comes to a waistcoat. You can decide for a double-breasted or asymmetric waistcoat, with or without revers or maybe you would like a standing collar or a single breasted waistcoat with just two or maybe even six buttons. 

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