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How to successfully wear a waistcoat

A waistcoat can say a lot about a man. It can be smart, modern and worn for a variety of occasions, but if it doesn’t fit correctly, not only will it be uncomfortable, it also won’t look good.

The fit

A good fitting waistcoat should be fitted to the body, but not so tight that you feel restricted. It should be comfortable on the shoulder and not slip or move around when moving your arms. Most traditional waistcoats have a small strap at the back to adjust the fit, but be careful not to pull this too tightly as it will cause the fabric to gather which can be unsightly.

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Casual look

If you are dressing for a more casual occasion, a waistcoat with different coloured chinos can give off a charming look and you could always add a knitted tie if you need to.

Shirts

If going for a three-piece outfit such as that which is traditionally worn at a wedding or a corporate day out, contrast the colour with a brightly coloured tie and shirt. Companies such as mens Farah shirts have a great selection of Farah shirts to choose from. Alternatively, you could leave the top button undone and go for the smart/casual look without a tie, just always be sure to check if there is a dress code.

Colour

As an alternative to the traditional three-piece, consider getting a patterned waistcoat which blends with your suit, but makes you stand out in a crowd. Contrasting colours can be fun and make you and your outfit look interesting and different from all the others in the room!

Depending on the time of year, you could just wear a waistcoat without the jacket. This look has recently been made popular by the England football manager Gareth Southgate, who sported the look during the 2018 World Cup campaign and again more recently when he took part in a new TV survival series.

Finishing touches

Always make sure your shirt is newly ironed, fits well and doesn’t clash with the lining colour of your waistcoat. Never do up the bottom button and always try on a selection of fits and styles to see which suits you best. For example, a skinny fit waistcoat will give the illusion of bigger arms, if this is the look you’re wanting to achieve.

 

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