Contrasting Waistcoats – Fashion Tips

contrasting waistcoat

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.

matching waistcoats

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.

Matching Waistcoats

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.

matching waistcoat

Contrasting Waistcoats

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.

contrasting waistcoat cover

Is The Waistcoat Size The Same As The Jacket Size?

waistcoats cover photo

Waistcoats aren’t worn nowadays as much as they should be. With six months of cold ahead of us, layering up makes sense and wearing a waistcoats is a great idea. How do you know your size?

How do you know your waistcoat size?

Is the waistcoat size the same as the blazer or jacket size?

The model David Gandy wearing a bespoke suit by Henry Poole & Co

Waistcoats are sized by our chests, the same as the suit jacket sizes. If you wear a size 40 blazer then you should follow suit accordingly with the waistcoat size. There are a few things to consider before purchasing a waistcoat.

Waistcoat & Your Stomach

If you have a large stomach then you need understand that unlike the suit jacket, the waistcoat will be done up all the time. It’s best to order one size up in the waistcoat if this is the case. It will give you more room to breathe, especially if you’ll be eating.

Copy The Suit Cut

Many suits come with waistcoats however some don’t. All suits and waistcoats are cut in different sizes. If you’re going to be buying a waistcoat from a company your not used to, go one size up to be safe.

Remember: Leave the bottom button open.

River Island Brown Check Three Piece Suit

River Island Brown Check Three Piece Suit 5

I’ve noticed recently people pretty much wearing the same type of suits with similar colour schemes. Obviously blue, black and grey suits are standard but who wants to look like everyone else. I definitely don’t like it. So I figured today I would bring you something different. Something that doesn’t look like its off the rack, yet still won’t actually break the bank.

This Brown Check Three Piece Suit is from an unusual source for myself, River Island. I’m not the biggest banner holder for River Island but I must admit there suits aren’t too bad. The quality you will get from River Island suits is similar to the suits you would get from Next or Burton.

This three piece suit is quality and for quality you will definitely have to pay a bit more than average. Made from mostly polyester but combined with wool, known as a polyblend suit, this isnt one of those lightweight summer suits. Polyblend suits are incredibly comfortable and do tend to mainly worn in winter but really and truly, we live in the UK, it’s always winter here except in July. So this polyblend suit will cost you £135 for the suit and an extra £40 for the waistcoat. Whether you choose to go for the two-piece or go all out with the three-piece, you definitely won’t regret it.

The whole suit has this beautiful brown checked design, which really makes the suit look and feel vintage. That vintage look just gives off this persona about it’s wearer as being a man of absolute class. If you are going to wear the suit on a weekend, please don’t wear the trousers, the blazer by itself is perfect for the weekend. The full suit with waistcoat is perfect for formal events, while the two piece is great for everyday work.

You really can’t go wrong with this River Island Brown Check Three Piece Suit

Skopes Madrid Suit

Skopes Madrid Suit

Shopping in department stores can be a little tricky because there are tons of brands and you never really know if everything you’re looking at is of the quality you would expect. A great example of that is Primark have stores inside Selfridges so you can’t always trust department stores. House Of Fraser is no different, so I’m generally a bit picky when shopping with them.

Skopes Madrid Suit 3
Skopes Madrid Suit 4
Skopes Madrid Suit 5
Skopes Madrid Suit

Skopes As A Brand

While browsing through the website I was looking for a suit that’s different to what I’ve been posting recently and I realised I haven’t actually posted a decent black suit. Skopes as a brand is a trusted brand in the suit tailoring world. They are not known for skinny or slim fit suits that portray you as a young person starting out in your career. However their suits are almost all tailored fit to give you that well established in the suit wearing world look.

Skopes Madrid Suit

The Skopes Madrid Suit is made from a super fine twill cloth, which is a very practical and comfortable suit. It feels very light weight yet still feels like it will last a long time. The lapels are your standard peak lapels but not the skinny ones, nor are they too wide, they are just the middle width – perfect for average/wide ties.

Three piece suits are amazing and the Skopes Madrid Suit is no different. Available in black, grey, charcoal and navy in jacket, trousers and waistcoat all for only £118. You can also buy it without the waistcoat for under £100. I must warn you though that House Of Fraser sell out on suits very quickly, I’ve lost suits by waiting too long.


I picked out two reviews of the suit from the house of fraser website for you guys to have a look at.

Very Good Quality
The delivery was superbly on time considering the item was ordered late Saturday night and arrived as promised Sunday night. The quality was excellent and fit was perfect.

Unbeatable Value
Great slimmer fit suit at an amazing price! Durable finish with luxurious lining optimizing on attention to detail. Great for work or occasions. Jacket true to size, trousers slightly generous on waist but a nice tailored fit.

Skopes Madrid Suit

Skopes Madrid Suit 2