The origins of men’s vests and waistcoats started as a piece of men’s functional outerwear. The vest or waistcoat was used primarily by servants especially those who worked mostly outside the home. Around the 19th century, this additional garment kept them warm during colder months and easily became a regular fixture in winter clothing.
The waistcoat is also referred to as vest which is a specific term to mean a piece of sleeveless garment which gives coverage to a man’s waist area including the trouser’s top portion. For the 3-piece tailored suit, the waistcoat is fashioned from the same material or fabric as the entire garment. The waistcoat can be worn as a separate piece in men’s fashion and regarded as either formal or casual clothing.
Men’s Formal Waistcoat
A waistcoat such as one for a black-tie event is meant to be worn at a formal event and not intended for casual wear. They should always be worn with a jacket. Some waistcoats are backless with just straps to hold them together. The formal types of waistcoats have lapels which are rather unusual on other vests. It can be cut lower at the front to allow more of the formal shirt to be exposed.
Formal waistcoats are fashioned from the same black tuxedo jacket but for variety’s sake at formal occasions, another subtle color can still be used. Flashy colors you see at rental shops are merely for entertainment value, however, deep reds or greens are acceptable colors for formal wear.
Men’s Vested Three-Piece Suit
The three-piece suit was commonly worn in the early twentieth century and only became unpopular around the 2nd World War mainly due to unavailability of fabrics. It is an attractive addition to men’s tailoring with a similar formality as that of a double-breasted suit. The quality of the waistcoat is best determined by its fit, and a well-fitted one should be tapered as close to the wearer’s body as possible without disregarding proportion so it can be worn under the jacket. Waistcoats intended for suits must always cover the waist area and should be seen just slightly above the jacket’s lapels.
Men’s suits can include a number of odd vests as well which can look a bit dressed down that is suitable for casual evening dinners than formal events. For odd vests, patterns can also be incorporated which can liven up the look to contrast the jacket.
A Standalone Waistcoat
A similar waistcoat with a three-piece suit worn separately can be an acceptable piece of menswear. It can serve the same role as that of a sport coat adding a bit of style and color to the shirt and trousers without the formality of a suit. An odd waistcoat is a better choice as similar or matched vest and trousers can make the wearer look like he neglected the suit jacket. Rolling up the shirt’s sleeves may lessen the formality of the vest and trouser outfit but it works to show the cohesiveness of the attire. The vest provides more style when worn casually without the jacket. The color and texture of the vest may still be in focus without clashing. However, men don’t wear waistcoats as they used to in today’s fashion. The look is different today with more flashy patterns with the modern vest now made with no lapels.
Vests can look a bit awkward when worn casually without a neck or bow tie. When it comes to accessories, neckwear is a vital component of your garment. A confident man can easily pull of a bow tie as much as he can wear the regular tie worn underneath the vest. In the old days, a cravat was the fashionable neckwear worn by men but has become irrelevant in modern times.
There are vested styles for menswear other than the front buttoned waistcoat as can be seen from the sleeveless jackets worn as outerwear. An undress vest is intended to be worn for warmer climates while a sweater vest meanwhile can act as a sweater. Undress clothing such as active wear in fleece, has the same function and are made for everyday casual wear. The vested style is simply another choice for men’s clothing for a more comfortable wear during warmer climates.
Depending on the style and occasion, sweater vests can be dressy or casual. A monochromatic color or subtle patterns will be regarded as formal in the same way as pairing it with a dress shirt and tie.
Vests in Menswear
Men’s vests and waistcoats are essential and stylish garments to include in your wardrobe. They give suits a sense of formality and style to outfits worn separately. Vests and waistcoats also provide comfort to casual clothing as well as warmth to cool climates.
A vest can be fashionably worn beginning with a 3-piece suit especially for a stylish man. Since the vest can be worn as a separate piece from the suit, take caution in wearing it frequently as it may easily appear discolored than the rest of the suit. Make sure to keep 1 or 2 vests and rotate the garments often to maintain color.
Upon wearing your first vest, the choice to wear or frequency on which to wear the waistcoat becomes the man’s ultimate decision. Style is meant to have variety so getting dressed is a welcome task and not a boring chore. So wear the vest when you need to up the ante with style. The unique style of vests and waistcoats is a testament to its timeless wear in men’s fashion.
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