Waistcoats from Suits Direct
As M&S sells out of waistcoats thanks to England manager-come-unwitting fashion icon Gareth Southgate, we look at how to wear them and ask if this trend was just for men…
“Women can absolutely wear waistcoats!” They’re actually really versatile garments, as tailor and dressmaker Dara Ford explains.
“It’s a great way to up level a look without going for a formal suit. Waistcoats are a great way of showing some personality too, as the front can be kept quite formal in a traditional wool suiting material whilst the back can be made from a colourful lining or print,” she says.
“The joy of making bespoke garments is that all those choices are very individual.”
Whilst the passion for the item has been driven by Southgate’s pitchside appearance at England’s World Cup matches this summer, it’s one of the few items of clothing that can be traced to a specific historical invention, being introduced by King Charles II in 1660. Of course, they were specifically for men, and it’s only across recent decades that they’ve become acceptable dress for any gender.
“I recently made a waistcoat for a client who wanted a very fitted version to wear for public speaking engagements,” Dara says. “She had a full bust and small waist, so buying things off the rack just wasn’t an option.
“She chose a grey woolen worsted with a pink pinstripe which we picked up in the lining. It’s to match with other items in her wardrobe, and she likes wearing it with formal trousers as well as jeans.”
Waistcoats work in a multitude of business situations, can be dressed up and dressed down, but there are some fundamental principles that Dara encourages everyone to follow.
“The key to a great looking waistcoat are the proportions. If it’s too loose or high at the front it risks looking conservative or frumpy. It needs to sit well over the bust and show off the waist.
“For women a slightly curved neckline works well. Adding a little collar makes it look more considered and less boring.
For evenings or less formal occasions, Dara suggests you could “replace the white cotton shirt with a silk satin or chiffon version, and the look is completely transformed. Or for a sexy look ditch the underlayer completely and wear it next to your skin!”
Dara Ford’s business provides contemporary tailoring for women.
The team at Suits Direct agree that the waistcoat is one of the most adaptable garments in your arsenal, adapting to both your social life and work, but there are certain looks that will maximise this suave style.
"There is no need for men to add extra items such as a pocket watch to your look, as the wearer must remember the waistcoat is the accessory! Keep it simple and you’ll look great either in the office or out." This clean Limehaus number can be matched with a pale grey shirt and a classic tie to keep you looking stylish.
For a more casual look suited for a Friday morning in the office and Friday evening socialising, wear a simple blue waistcoat. This Ben Sherman product can be worn with a smart white shirt, a simple tie and your average pair of blue denim jeans. This looks is highly recommended during the summer months, and would look the part in any rooftop city bar.
A few key tips to considered when in your waistcoat include:
Suit Direct offer a wide range of waistcoats, creating the perfect formal outfit for the office or adding extra layer of sophistication to your wardrobe. We all need a little inspiration from time to time and with the new collections you can keep you looking effortlessly stylish.
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement