Toward the end of the century, the Edwardian look made a larger physique more popular— Edward VII having a large figure. More than just the second layer of a suit, the vest signals the intrinsic fashion sense and finesse of the wearer. Waistcoats, alongside bowties , are commonly worn by billiard players during a tournament.
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. The formality of a three piece suit is such that it requires a necktie. Since only a few inches of the tie are visible, the knot should be tied with extra care.
Particularly bulky ties knits especially may create a bulge under the front of the vest, and should be avoided. The end of the tie should not stick out from under the bottom of the waistcoat. If a tie is a good match but a touch too long, it can always be tucked into the trousers. It is possible to wear a vested suit with a waistcoat that does not match the jacket and trousers. This is even less common than the usual matched approach and does bring the formality of the outfit down somewhat, but it can make for a very elegant appearance if the colors are chosen carefully.
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.
The waistcoat served to emphasize the new popularity of the cinched-in waist for males, and became skin-tight, with the overcoat cut to emphasize the figure: Without a corset, a man's waistcoat often had whalebone stiffeners and were laced in the back, with reinforced buttons up the front, so that one could pull the lacings in tight to mould the waist into the fashionable silhouette.
Prince Albert , husband of Queen Victoria , had a reputation for his tight corsets and tiny waist; and although he lacked popularity during his early reign, men followed his style , and waistcoats became even more restrictive. This fashion remained throughout the 19th century, although after about the style changed from that of a corseted look to a straighter line, with less restriction at the waist, so that the waistcoat followed a straighter line up the torso.
Toward the end of the century, the Edwardian look made a larger physique more popular— Edward VII having a large figure. Waistcoats have also become popular within the indie and steampunk subcultures in the United States. Although not related to formal wear, a type of waistcoat have also been used as part of workers uniforms, such as at Walmart prior to ,  and also as high visibility clothing usually bright " safety orange " color.
Part-way through the tournament, the Museum of London announced that it hoped to acquire Gareth Southgate's waistcoat in order to display it as part of its permanent collection of historic clothing.
Guitarist Ruthie Morris of Magnapop wearing a leopard print vest on stage. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For a Boleslaw Prus novel, see The Waistcoat. It has been suggested that Vest be merged into this article. Discuss Proposed since July This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
October Learn how and when to remove this template message. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. March Learn how and when to remove this template message. Transactions of the Philological Society 6:
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.