The vest (or the waistcoat as its being referred to in the UK) is the single, most versatile and smartest clothing item a guy can have. Mostly known for its role as the unappreciated member of the three-piece suit family, the vest made a move and over the years declared its independence, separated from it's family and developed its own life. Adding grandeur and sophistication to almost any outfit, from making the casual jeans and T look stylish and unique or when paired with a suit adding sharpness and a twist making it dressier and even more powerful.
For me it all started with my father (RIP). He loved three-piece suits and had a few custom made for him. One in particular, a gray wool pinstriped was my absolute favorite. I had been eying it for a while when sometime in my early 20's the suit got too small for him and I inherited it....the jacket was too big, the pants needed to be taking in but the vest....well, the vest was
perfect! It was love at first sight (truth to be told is that at times when i was younger i "borrowed" the vest for a night out here and there...), and that was when I learned about the power of the vest in a man's wardrobe. Fast forward 20 years, I still wear that same vest along with few other vests that i have made over the years for different occasions and seasons, I usually make what I like to call the NEW SUIT which is a pants and vest set (instead of the jacket), it looks great and fresh together and i can than mix the vest separately with other items in my closet.
What to look for: Well, just like any other clothing item - FIT, FIT and FIT again. Although almost any vest have an adjustable back strap, this serves just for a little adjustment in the waist not for making an XL fit a Small size body, it should have a snug fit to your body but not too tight and looking like your breath is restricted...make sure that they armholes fit close to your body and cut high ( that will ease your arm's movement). The trickiest part of the fit is the length of the vest, generally you don't want a gap between the bottom of the vest and the waistband on your pants, but that is hard to get nowadays since pants are cut lower and sits on the hip rather than on the waist as in old times, so just make sure that whatever you wear under the vest whether its a dress shirt or a T it should be fitted and not loose so there will be no fabric bulging in the gap between your vest and pants. Also make sure the sleeves of the shirt you are wearing under are fitted and cut with high armholes as well other wise it will be very uncomfortable to have all this excess of fabric under you arm and needless to say will look bad as if you are trying to restrain your shirt from escaping.....
Style and colors: There is a lot to choose from but for a start you should have at list one solid classic black or gray (pinstriped or any subtle tone on tone stripes will work as well). If you feel more adventures, look for plaids and bold stripes (although than you should keep your under shirt and pants in solid colors to avoid looking like a clown...). One way to take a risk with your vest and still keep a dash of sophistication is to look for one with a twist in the back, such as a bold pattern or color instead of a solid black, or a shirting fabric instead of the typical silk, or even more extreme with an unusual back shape, like the below:
How to wear it: This is were fun and creativity come to play, and a chance for you to practice your mix and match skills.... therefore this time I'm going to skip the words and leave it up to you...after all this blog intendeds to inspire you to create your OWN PERSONAL STYLE! I leave you with few examples for inspiration.... enjoy and have fun!