So I’ll be the first to admit that I am running low on ‘men’s basics’ to cover these days. I look back on the previous instalments and I’m pleased with how they’ve turned out and also just how MUCH we’ve covered together. However, I feel that our time together may be drawing to an end soon but never fear; I still have some aces up my sleeve before it’s all said and done.
I was walking through town the other day trying to get ideas for an article, watching all the unwanted winter stock getting shoved into smaller and smaller corners like your ugly cousin at a wedding and being replaced with all the new and shiny things of summers to come… when I came across an item that had escaped my mind for the past few months. A waistcoat. Suddenly, all sorts of images flashed across my mind, Justin Timberlake videos, Tom Ford in his three piece suits and Paul Newman looking like the coolest man alive in his tweed version from the 60’s. And I remembered just what we’d all been missing out on in this harsh winter we’ve had.
Waistcoats are great… brilliant… fantastic or any other superlative that takes your fancy. Despite what others may think, they are an extremely versatile asset to your wardrobe and will always add a unique twist and dash of sophistication to your ensemble. Nothing can quite beat the powerful demeanour of a man in a three-piece suit in the office (just think of Al Pacino in the Godfather films) or how the right waistcoat can straddle ‘casual’ and ‘formal’ like no other clothing can.
As always guys, the fit is EVERYTHING. Make sure that it is cut with high armholes so you can have more movement and less restriction and that it has a snug but not tight fit to your body. Similarly, don’t be wearing your looser fitting shirts or t-shirts with waistcoats because it creates a billowing effect at the shoulders and waist that just looks untidy generally.
When it comes to style and material, there is as much variety out there for waistcoats as there is for blazers right now. You can buy them seasonally with tweeds and herringbones for the colder months and cotton for the summer. You can go for them in standard neutral tones, bright bursts of colour or even plaids, checks and gingham patterns. In the end, it will come down to your personal preference and what you want out of your waistcoats. For more versatility, start off with neutral tones like grey, black and navy that will be easier to pair with what’s already in your wardrobe, then graduate to the colours and the patterns. And when you do, remember to keep your other pieces simple and neutral in colour so as not to detract from the focal point of your outfit; the waistcoat itself.
And as always here are some fool proof ways of wearing a waistcoat: -
Finally, a word on buttons. As some of you will find, there are some waistcoats available that have all there buttons low down and the V is similarly cut low as well. These are fine and should always be buttoned due to the way they have been designed. However, for the standard 5-button waistcoats in a traditional cut, try to leave the top and bottom button undone to allow more room for movement or leave completely unbuttoned instead for a more casual look. Other than that, go go go! Get yourself a waistcoat lads.
Until next week
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