A vest is an essential part of any gentleman’s wardrobe. It has been a staple throughout society for centuries past. Not only is a waistcoat a fundamental element of a three-piece suit, but it has gained popularity over the years, letting it be an indispensable element in every man’s garment arsenal.
Our custom clothing stylist at Jaxson Maximus has put together this guide on everything you need to know on how to wear a men’s suit vest.
What Is A Waistcoat?
Commonly referred to as a vest, by definition, a waistcoat is a sleeveless garment that covers the upper body of a man and is usually worn over a dress shirt and with a neckwear accessory. The word “vest” was originally a French term “veste”, meaning a sport coat or jacket.
There is no difference between a waistcoat and a vest, as the terms are often used interchangeably. The difference in terminology mainly refers to where you are related to geographically. Here in the United States, we refer to the garment more commonly as a vest versus in the United Kingdom, where it is more commonly referred to as a waistcoat.
what are the different type of vests
The single-breasted vest is the most common type of vest that you will see in retailers across the globe. Denoted by its usually 3-6 buttons down the front of the garment, this vest type is the most traditional choice.
When purchasing a single-breasted vest to wear with your suit, our rule of thumb is that you should always have one additional button more than on your suit. So, for example, if you are wearing a three-button suit, your vest needs to have four buttons on it.
The more formal of the two, the double-breasted vest, is an excellent option for those who still want to look elegant in their daily routine. Wearing a double-breasted vest to the office for a business casual approach is a great way to look smart and sophisticated no matter what.
Most double-breasted vests have between 4-8 buttons mirroring each other on the front of the vest. The most common amount of buttons is six.
When wearing a double-breasted vest, always make sure the vest is fully buttoned at all times. They should never be worn undone. Add on a peak lapel for a stylish and sophisticated look to your vest.
How A Vest Should Fit
With all of our garments at Jaxson Maximus, the fit is everything. When wearing a vest, you want to make sure that the garments fit precisely to your body shape while being slim cut and slightly tapered at the waist. If you begin to see gaps along the side of your vest, this means that the vest is too big for you and needs to get tailored.
The shoulders on a vest should lie completely flat against your body and feel almost slightly snug along the shoulders. There should not be any gapping along the blades of the shoulders.
For the armholes, you want to make sure they are high against your underarms. If there is any pulling of the vest buttons, this means that the vest itself is too small and needs to be altered.
For the neckline, you want to entire that the vest creates a natural v-shape against your body and hits relatively high against your chest. You want to make sure that with your v-shape that you can still see a hint of your shirt below the vest.
Vests almost always have a back buckle to adjust the waist of the vest. You want to make sure that the buckle is somewhat tight against the front of your stomach, so your vest does not look baggy in the front areas.
The rule of thumb when it comes to wearing a vest is that you want to make sure that in all areas of the vest, there is no bagginess to the cloth. The vest should fit slightly snug but not so tight that you can not move.
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How Long Should My Vest Be
The rule of thumb when it comes to vest length is that it needs to fall around 1″ below the waistline of your pants. A property-fitted vest should cover your entire waist and fall just below your natural waistline. Your dress shirt should never poke out from underneath your vest.
What To Wear With A Vest
A common question we get at Jaxson Maximus is what type of neckwear to pair with a vest. Inherently a bowtie is going to be a more formal accessory than a necktie would. If you are attending a wedding or other black-tie formal event, we would recommend pairing your vest with a bowtie. The most common type of bowtie we see with a formal three-piece suit is that made in velvet to complement the outfit’s formality.
If you are wearing a three-piece suit for work or want to wear your vest as a stand-alone accessory then we would recommend sticking to a tie for your neckwear.
Not all vests need to be paired with neckwear. For a more trendy approach, try leaving the top button of your shirt collar open.
A vest should always be paired with a crisp button-down shirt, or else you risk looking like you are part of a rock band! Our recommendation is to wear a crisp white long-sleeve button-down shirt if you wear your vest on its own. Both sophisticated and classic, this look will never go out of style no matter the occasion.
Suiting & Jacketing
The most common way of wearing a vest is to pair it with a three-piece suit. A three-piece never goes out of style, no matter the occasion or time of team. At Jaxson Maximus, we design hundreds of custom-made three-piece suits for wedding and day-to-day office wear.
A common misconception about wearing a three-piece suit is that the vest needs to match the same fabric as the suit. For example, if you have a solid navy suit, your vest might be a scrap sharkskin grey for that sophisticated look.
If you are aiming for a casual but sophisticated look, try pairing your vest with a pair of fitted jeans. If you are sticking to a true denim color, opt-in for a darker slim-fit wash. At Jaxson Maximus, we pair our vests with our Paige Federal line. The Federal line is a great way to add a pop of color while also looking sophisticated no matter the occasion.