HOME > Tips & Advice >



Written by in Tips & Advice on the / How to Wear a Waistcoat Correctly

How to Wear a Waistcoat Correctly

Waistcoats are notoriously difficult to wear, but if you get them right you could be on to a winner. Here, our friends over at the menswear retailer Noose & Monkey help us explain how to work a waistcoat into your outfits.


Fit is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a waistcoat. Just like an ill-fitting suit, a poorly sized waistcoat can ruin your entire look. Choose a waistcoat with high armholes that fits closely around your shoulders and torso. It’s important to make sure it isn’t too tight — the material shouldn’t pull around the buttonholes or across the back. It’s crucial that your waistcoat isn’t too big either, as excess material can make you look larger than you actually are. In terms of length, the waistcoat should cover your waist, with no shirt showing between the waistcoat itself and the trousers or belt.


If you think a waistcoat has to be crafted from shiny, polyester material, you’re mistaken. Use your waistcoat as an opportunity to experiment with different materials — tweed, tartan and velvet are all great options if you want to add depth to your look and stand out from the crowd. As well as pairing different textures together, contrasting colours are a great way of making a statement. For example, pair a grey tweed waistcoat with a navy jacket and trousers. 

Types of waistcoat 

There are many different types of waistcoat available. Usually the type you choose will depend on the look you’re creating or the event you’re attending.

Single breasted 

As the name suggests, single breasted waistcoats have one row of around four or five buttons. They are a popular choice of waistcoat because of their versatility.

Double breasted 

Double breasted waistcoats, on the other hand, have two rows of buttons and usually overlap. They’re formal and as such, they’re usually worn at weddings with cravats.


Nearly all waistcoat designs are available with three main types of collar. These popular collars include the following: 

High V: This type has a small V-neck, so only a small part of the shirt and tie is visible. 

Shawl: A shawl neckline is softer than waistcoats with a high V, as they don’t have a spiked collar. They show off a little more of the shirt and tie too. 

Horseshoe: A horseshoe waistcoat is arguably one of the most formal types of waistcoat. The large scoop shows off a lot of shirt and should only be worn with a bow tie. 

Button up 

If you leave your waistcoat open, you’ll lose the shape of the tailoring, which could make you look bigger and less formal than you may have hoped. You should always button your waistcoat up, with the exception of the very last button, which should be left open in a nod to tradition.


comments powered by Disqus
previous post
next post