When you buy a bespoke formal suit for a special occasion, it’s undeniable that a three-piece set of uniform, made-to-measure tailoring is the classiest move. However, whilst your suit jacket and trousers may make frequent appearances in your every day outfits in between occasions (the jacket and trousers for work, jacket with jeans for a smart/casual event), your poor old waistcoat can sometimes be overlooked as a less versatile piece. However, this needn’t be the case. Simply check out our formal waistcoat style guide below for three excellent excuses to dust off the ol’ sleeveless faithful and bag serious style kudos in the process.
Waistcoat look 1 – The Dandy Hipster
Trust us fellas, this look is a serious hit with the ladies out there. To add a laid-back vibe to your formal waistcoat, there’s simply one thing you need and that’s pattern. Paisley and floral are two fantastic ways to bring your waistcoat bang over to the right side of casual. Try layering your waistcoat (browns and greys look best with this look) over a loud and proud patterned shit. A small floral print will work brilliantly for this. Add some indigo jeans, matching brown brogues and, for the extra gentlemanly vibe, a pocket watch, and you’re looking at one seriously cool outfit. Finishing touches can be found in the rolling up of sleeves, some clubmaster sunglasses and a contrasting colour tie or cravat. All you need is a pint in hand and you’re ready to go.
Waistcoat look 2 – The French Riviera
Whilst focusing on the waistcoat, there’s no reason why you can’t give your matching jacket a good old lint roll whilst you’re at it. This dapper look is sure to get you noticed and is a fantastic combination of smart and effortless. Team your waistcoat with a contrast-collar shirt (blue with a white collar looks great) and a skinny tie. Add some rolled up chinos (go for white if you’re feeling brave), your jacket and some boat shoes and, voila, you’re ready for some serious blue steel. This look is all about being polished and cool, so make sure that your hair’s looking smart and add a watch to be extra smooth.
Waistcoat look 3 – 70s Inspired
Another great way to style up your waistcoat is to layer it up over a plaid shirt. To make this look even bolder, wear the shirt unbuttoned with a colourful crew underneath (make sure the waistcoat is fully buttoned though, otherwise you’ll end up looking like a coat horse). Team this look with some 70s cords and colourful Converse. Baby-faced readers beware: a beard (preferably red in colour) is what you’ll need to give this look a certain, je nais se quoi.
In today’s society of Shoreditch hipsters and speakeasy chic, the waistcoat can easily become the most worn item of your three-piece suit - get creative!