Popular conception holds the waistcoat as the final third of the three piece suit. It is something of the final piece of the puzzle. There are however no official rules as to the suit jacket being the first and primary piece and slacks second. This view of the waistcoat as the last piece tends to diminish its worth and at times it holds the spiritual place of an unnecessary accessory. We forget that suits are accessories to an idea of life and are in and of themselves unimportant, particularly from a survival standpoint. All this to say that the waistcoat is every bit as important in the presentation of a suit as that of a jacket. There is no correlation between its diminished size and its importance for in style, the small details seal the vibe. We say waistcoats and the public hears vests but from a tailored standpoint a vest is a knit fabric. A knit suit may be an interesting anomaly, something Maison Margiela throws out during fashion week, but you will not find knit suits anywhere either off the rack or bespoke, and we all pause in gratitude. A waistcoat is made, particularly its front section, from the same material as the jacket and slacks. At that point the waistcoat is the suit and has the same importance as any other element. Waistcoats provide a distinctive look which veers towards formal and can at times have an armored look. More cloth equals greater layers of separation from the people around you and is one of the reasons why men in three piece suits always feel a bit remote. In terms of the five senses they have distanced themselves, and this reserve can lend a mystique which is one of the pillars of classic style. There are a great variety of waistcoats available for today’s modern gentlemen and each in turn help direct a specific atmosphere which is the visual greeting card of any man of means.
This type has between six to seven buttons, two welt pockets and a pointed front covering the waistband. There is usually a cinch adjust in the back and the back is often made of silk or bemberg. The bottom button of the classic waistcoats can be left unbuttoned.
A tweed has the advantage of being lighter than the tweed suit jacket while still carrying the rich texture tweed is famous for. Tweed waistcoats make such bold statements they can hold attention without a suit jacket without suffering a dressed down approach.
Where tweed is a perfect fabric for the fall and winter months, the hopsack waistcoats work well during spring and summer. One of the disadvantages of the hotter months is that suit jackets become uncomfortable, and here a waistcoat made of a lighter fabric can keep the fashion conscious man looking sharp without suffering.