There are many rules to dressing well, one of them is making sure that you match. Another rule is to make sure you do not match. Whichever you choose to follow, I won’t judge you. The rules of fashion are there to be broken – or at least bent a bit. Wearing the right suit, for the right event is a must. Equally so are waistcoats. Showing up to a board meeting in a navy pin-stripe suit and a grey checked waistcoat might not be a good idea. It’s probably best to stick to the waistcoat that matches the suit for all formal events/meetings.
In every other circumstance out of the boardroom, wearing a contrasting waistcoat will work wonders.
The History Of The Waistcoat
The history of the waistcoat is quite boring, some English King (Charles II) decided that men were not dressing correctly in the monarchy. He decided in 1666 that all men must wear a vest. It started off as a colourful royal vest and then eventually ended up over the years as a really formal waistcoat. When they became formal, they lost their colour and generally just became black or navy.
Up until recently, it was unheard of to wear a waistcoat that didn’t match your suit to the T. It would have been considered scruffy. Matching your waistcoat is still very important in this day and age. If you’re attending something formal, then it’s polite to match your waistcoat. It’s a way of subtly looking head and shoulders above all those two piece wearing people without making it look like you tried too hard. Here are some great examples of men wearing waistcoats as they we intended to be worn – matching.
Thankfully for us, times have changed and people now use fashion to express themselves. Everywhere you go, every Instagram page you visit, you see people breaking fashion rules all the time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it looks horrible, live and learn. Gone are the days of plain waistcoats. Tailors are now expressing themselves with massive lapeled waistcoats and double breasted buttons. The outcome: pure beauty.
I, like most, can’t afford to pay £250 for a waistcoat. Instead of me buying expensive double breasted waistcoats or amazingly crafted checked waistcoats, I keep it simple. I buy a black three piece suit, a blue three piece suit and a grey three piece suit. Then I simply mix and match them as I wish. This ALWAYS results in a ton of compliments by shocked colleagues and friends who consider me as some fashion innovator. The problem is they only see the mannequins in the store windows and they see movies of wall street actors in the fully matching three piece suits. When they see something in contrast to that, it’s overwhelming. Thankfully in a good way.