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Do You Know How to Wear a Waistcoat?

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Section: Essential Men's Suit Guide - Blog

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The vest, or waistcoat, is making a comeback. However, if you want to rock this trendy style, you need to know how to do it properly. We're sharing our insider secrets with you!

The waistcoat (or vest) refers to a sleeveless garment that covers a man’s waist. It hides the top of the trousers and the bottom of the shirt. Made from the same fabric and lining as the rest of the suit, it creates a uniform stretch from the ankles to the chest.


The Formal Men's Waistcoat

Never wear a black-tie waistcoat without the accompanying jacket. Period. Formal waistcoats have lapels and tend to be cut lower in the front than waistcoats that accompany three-piece suits, so they display more of the shirt.


While formal waistcoats are usually made from the same black fabric as the tuxedo jacket, a tasteful vest of a different colour such as deep green or burgundy red is acceptable at most formal events.

Three Piece Suits & Vests

Waistcoats for 3-piece suits always cover the waist and should rise just above the lapels of the jacket, spreading wide enough to fit over the shoulders without lying under the shirt collar.


For a fashion forward look, try wearing an unmatched, or odd vest, thereby giving a “dressed-down” appearance suitable for a relaxed evening. Patterns on odd waistcoats provide an interesting contrast to jackets.

Dress Waistcoat - Solo

Worn as a stand-alone item of clothing, the waistcoat is similar to a casual sports coat; it adds a touch of colour and style to a business shirt and trousers. In this scenario, an unmatched waistcoat is preferred as matched trousers and waistcoats give the impression that the man forgot to wear his suit jacket.


Worn casually, waistcoats offer more style worn solo than paired with jackets. Patterns and colours create a positive impression, and take our advice, men in waistcoats attract attention faster than men without them. Traditional stripes or checks are as acceptable as are elaborately figured patterns or diamond panes. When paired with vests, bow ties provide an aura of elegance.

Undress Vests

The undress vest is generally viewed as a stylish flourish on its parent garment. Practically, it can be worn in warmer weather conditions.

For example, a sweater-vest can be worn just like a sweater, but it makes the wearer stand out from the crowd. Sweater-vests can be casual or dressed-up, depending on the style and the manner in which they are worn.


For instance, a single colour or a muted pattern makes the look formal, while wearing a sweater vest with a business shirt and a necktie adds vim to your appearance. The same applies to fleece active wear. These are all undress vests, meant to be used for casual days spent with friends and family.

Vests & a Man's Wardrobe

Vests and waistcoats are elegant garments and add panache to almost any outfit. They add:

  • Formalness to men's suits
  • Style to unmatched outfits
  • Comfort to casual wear
  • Warmth to formal wear in cooler weather

It's well worth investing in a 3-piece suit as you can wear the vest separately with other garments, thus maximising your investment. However, please note that wearing any one piece of a suit too frequently could cause the colour to fade. Therefore, rotating clothes adds to the longevity of your outfits. Also, any style worn without variation gets boring.

We recommend you invest in a few waistcoats and vests as their versatility and style is too good to be ignored or bypassed altogether. Pop by ourSydney CDB showroom to be amazed by the vast selection of fabrics and styling options we can offer you. We'll have you suited up and strutting your stuff in no time.

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