Good advice – commissioning a custom-tailored waistcoat

05 June 2018

"The waistcoat can create a subtle slimming illusion with its classic V-shaped front – obscuring bulges and elongating the torso."

There are several manners where a man can sharpen his look; dressing up business or wedding suits with a waistcoat is one of the most effective and versatile sartorial measures.

We’re confident that a made-to-measure tailored waistcoat will draw appreciative nods of approval whether in work, social or formal settings and somehow feel good when worn.

Glimpsed beneath a suit, or appreciated in full sans-jacket splendour, a made-to-measure tailored waistcoat is a testament to its wearer’s sharp sense of style, and vouched for by sartorial traditions. The waistcoat can create a subtle slimming illusion with its classic V-shaped front – obscuring bulges and elongating the torso.

The modern waistcoat can be traced back to the mid-1600s, when it was mandated by England’s King Charles II as part of “correct dress” for men. It has since been worn for both day- and evening wear, as well as in military and clergical contexts. Although the two-piece suit has taken over as the minimum requirement for working professionals, the addition of a well-fitted waistcoat to suitings can still be relied upon to add a stamp of class and authority.

The beauty of a waistcoat is how it can be simple and elegant – single-breasted, three buttons and collarless – or magnificently detailed; think double-breasted closure, back with the same fabric or contrast lining and additional hallmarks of quality including pick-stitching. There are several design options available, and even more considerations while selecting the appropriate fabric.

But, what makes or breaks a waistcoat is essentially the fit. In the hands of an experienced team of fitters and tailors, the waistcoat should encompass the torso snugly, yet without creating restrictions in breathing or movement for the wearer.

Of course, in the same manner as how a jacket should be worn, a tailored waistcoat should not create visible pulling across the front where the buttons fasten.  In addition, the proper fit of a waistcoat should sit flat across the wearer’s shoulders – for men with a more pronounced slope on their shoulders, this is not easily fixed with mere alterations from a ready-to-wear garment. Thirdly, the length of a waistcoat should also just hide the wearer’s beltline while relaxed – many men make the mistake of buying ready-to-wear waistcoats that are obviously too short in the torso and therefore, revealing untidy glimpses of their shirts underneath.

A good tailor should also note the intended use for the waistcoat, and subsequently design it to fit effortlessly into an ensemble – taking into account how the garment will be mostly worn. In the design headspace, for instance, a waistcoat can be single- or double-breasted. While the former is a classic best suited for the conservative, the latter is a bolder and dressier alternative that’s increasingly popular for weddings, white tie and the whimsical.

Deployed as the third element of a three-piece suit, the waistcoat is typically identical in fabric to the suit jacket and trousers, the ensemble makes for a rather powerful and masculine statement in business-formal environments.

Rather  straightforward but highly versatile in the manners at which it can be styled, a made-to-measure tailored waistcoat is worth considering while building a classic wardrobe of business essentials. Book an appointment with our Melbourne and Sydney showroom fitters to upgrade your two-piece suits with a waistcoat or discuss other bits of stylistic advice today.

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