The Suit Vest
Far from being an anachronistic fashion accessory, the waistcoat as they say in England, or vest in American parlance, adds a touch of individual style. The deep “v” in the front perfectly frames the shirt and tie, and draws attention to the face. It lends a formality to the suit, staying buttoned even when the jacket is undone. It can minimize the bulk of a larger physique as well as lending height to one of a shorter stature. It’s no wonder the rise of the expression “close to the vest” came to become part of normal conversation.
Apart from being merely stylish, the vest serves a practical purpose, giving a mid-weight suit an additional layer of warmth during the cooler months , and it can be shed on warmer days. Both single and double breasted vests are great options, and both styles can be given extra panache with the addition of lapels. Notch or peak lapels are a fashionable touch to the single breasted , often reflecting upon the choice of the lapels for the jacket, whereas peak or shawl lapels are de rigueur for the double breasted versions. Whereas a belt on the back of the vest allows the off the peg variety to be adjusted to a plethora of girths, a perfectly fitted custom vest needs no such adjusters. Further personality can be added to the vest by the addition of a patterned or contrasting color lining. Typically, this would match the lining of the jacket, and with the jacket removed, the vest lining is exposed, therefore the choice is much more critical. The material should be Bemberg (more durable than silk) and a multitude of solids, iridescent colors, and patterns are available. Pockets can be flapped or welted, and two pockets are dressier than four. Fit is critical, as the vest should more closely follow the lines of the body and should just reach the bottom of the waistband. No shirt should peek out from beneath the vest and the vest should not fold over one’s lap. The bottom button of a single breasted vest should be always left open, but on a double breasted, all buttons should be engaged.
Remember that for an ultimately stylish suit, good things come in threes.
- Will That Be a Single… Or a Double?
- A Vested Interest, Part II