Why the waistcoat is so controversial – and how to style one yourself


The waistcoat is considered to be fashion Marmite. You either love it or loathe it, and you have strong options either way.

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The problem is, this garment has been loved and loathed for years and has often been the subject of ridicule too. Many believe it simply serves to restrict the wearer, doesn’t look smart and is simply a useless garment, while others sing its praises for offering added flair and style, and extra warmth.

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A fashionable divide

The biggest problem is that the waistcoat has been worn by those on either side of the cool spectrum. David Beckham, the cast of Peaky Blinders and Gareth Southgate have all donned it, and last year at the height of the World Cup, England was even gripped by Waistcoat Wednesday fever https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-44793694. But the waistcoat also risks making you look like an estate agent, a cruise ship magician or a waiter from the 1970s, plus it was Boyzone’s go-to item and the Chippendales love them, so this speaks volumes.

At the end of the day, this controversial garment can look good when paired with the right mens Farah clothes from somewhere like ejmenswear, but you need a certain panache to pull it off.

Styling certainties

If you want to wear a waistcoat you need to know a little bit about styling.

For starters, the secret to pulling one-off is to make sure it is appropriate for the occasion and that it will fit in without looking over the top. The trick here is to find a single-breasted waistcoat in a fabric that works well with your outfit and complements it accordingly. Tweeds and checks are ideal for a more casual look, and a looser rather than a tighter fit is always a winner.

What you wear your waistcoat with is also important and jeans and an open-necked shirt makes a great pairing.

If you are going more formal stick to a single-breasted waistcoat that matches your suit, and that has a slim cut and good fit, without being too restrictive. Or, if you are feeling daring, opt for a waistcoat in a contrasting color, but rather stick to a lighter, more muted shade than a dark one, or you may come off as overly gaudy rather than supremely stylish.