The Gareth Southgate-Inspired Guide to Wearing a Waistcoat
As the song goes, “Southgate, you’re the one. You still turn me on. Football’s coming home again.” It’s coming home. The whole country knows it. But not only is England manager Gareth Southgate loved for his ability to turn the most cynical country on earth into pride-filled drunkards, he’s also locked down his touchline look. So with the news that waistcoat sales are up 35% in the UK, we take a look at how to wear a waistcoat.
The Waistcoat Revival
We’re going to put this as plainly as we can: waistcoats deserve more respect than they get. While it’s often perceived as just for the upper class or the McLovin geeks of the world, we love a waistcoat – and not just at a wedding. The issue comes from fear of the unknown. Put simple, Joes don’t know how to deal with a waistcoat.
Believe it or not, the garment can actually be dated back as far as King Charles II. But it wasn’t until the 19th Century, when Joes with a bit of cash began wearing them, that the waistcoat we love was born. But it has seen a revival recently thanks to the likes of Sir Gareth and show like the Peaky Blinders proving a waistcoat isn’t just for people with money.
How to Wear a Waistcoat
The absolute number 1 tip to wearing a waistcoat is getting one that fits. It may seem obvious and yes, all of your wardrobe needs to fit. But there’s just no margins when it comes to a waistcoat. Too large and it’ll be baggy around the chest and possibly crease. Too small and you’re in corset territory.
Having said that, don’t be afraid if your waistcoat feels a little tight – it’s meant to and it’ll slim your build, as well as flatten the stomach area thanks to a straightening of everything, including your shirt. One thing that you should always be on the lookout for, however, is that your tie doesn’t poke underneath your waistcoat. It just looks scruffy and why kill all that effort you’ve gone to?
Does a Waistcoat Need to Be Worn with a Suit?
Though a waistcoat is traditionally worn as part of a three piece suit, you absolutely can make it the centrepiece of your outfit and wear it without a suit jacket. This does mean you have no place to hide, however. As such, the material, colour and/or pattern need to complement the rest of your attire.
We would also advise wearing your waistcoat without too many accessories. Unless you’re after the steampunk aesthetic, a waistcoat is an accessory in itself and you don’t need to be busying your look up with pocket watches and pins.
Do I Need To Do Up the Buttons on My Waistcoat?
In a word; yes. While we’re sure that some will disagree, we’re often amazed that some Joes wear their waistcoat unbuttoned. Buttons are there for a reason – use them. This isn’t a sport’s jacket. Essentially, there’s no reason you should ever wear a waistcoat unbuttoned.
Now, while we’ve just ranted about needing to button up your waistcoat – and that is true – we should probably make it clear that the bottom button on a waistcoat is purely for show. You do NOT need to use it. “Why is it there then?”, we hear you ask. Mainly because of tradition. But we assure you, it doesn’t ever need to be used. Not only does it look cleaner undone, it will also give you more room for manoeuvre on the dancefloor.
Can I Wear a Waistcoat with Jeans?
This is a tricky one. You definitely can wear a waistcoat with jeans if a suit is a little too formal for you, but we’d only suggest you do it if you’re confident in what you’re doing. Otherwise it can just look a bit mutton dressed as lamb.
That said, when done properly, it can add some character to an outfit – especially with older Joes who are looking for an alternative look. Just maybe get a little bit more creative with accessories and textures to take away from the shock of it all. If you think jeans are a too risky, a good pair of skinny-fit chinos could do just the trick too.
If you’re after a pair of sunnies to go with your brand new waistcoat-orientated look, here’s what we think are the best sunglasses styles this summer.