While the history of a vest dates back to the mid 16th century, it has evolved over the past few decades to incorporate several different types of garments under one parent label. It is still in effect a sleeveless garment that’s worn underneath an outer layer, which is usually a man’s coat, but recent fashion styles have allowed the vest to become a fashionable garment on its own without any extra layers. Let’s take a look at the different types of vests and how they’re worn in modern times.
When it comes to formal vests, the humble waistcoat is what comes to mind for the majority of people. Literally a “sleeveless under-jacket”, the waistcoat is worn as a part of a formal suit as the third piece in many instances. It may also be a part of a lounge suit or smoker’s jacket, although this sort of use is far less common.
The Cut-off vest is a garment typically made by cutting the sleeves off of a longer jacket. They were a popular fashion statement in the mid 1990s, when denim jackets were turned into cut-offs and branded with various patches. These were common across biking communities, but also found themselves popular with various music genres and audiences.
More commonly known as tank tops or simply “vests” in many European countries, A-shirts make up one of the most readily available forms of athletic wear worldwide. While they are mostly worn under shirts, they are increasingly becoming their own fashion statements and often have their wearers including several accessories to create a more complete outfit. They’re especially common during the summer months, when wearers find them cooling in comparison to fuller t-shirts or dress shirts.
Slipovers are the cold-weather ready variants of a-shirts. While they’re mostly seen as casual wear for around the house during the cooler months, sweater vests are slowly becoming a part of more formal attire within three-piece suits. While they do not replace the more formal waistcoat in these situations, they are seen as perfectly acceptable alternatives for casual gatherings when dressier options are required.
At Michael Snell Bespoke, we take great pride in our assortment of waist coat varieties. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post dedicated to waist coats only.