What Are The Different Kinds Of Waistcoats?

 Waistcoats have been a wardrobe staple for centuries and serve to add depth and detail to any formal outfit. Available in various styles, cuts, colours and prints, there is a classic waistcoat for all occasions.

In this guide, we take a look at everything you need to know about waistcoats, including the different styles you can buy. We also introduce you to our coveted collection of timeless waistcoats that you can buy here at XPOSED London.

What are the different styles of waistcoats?

Mens double breasted tweed waistcoat with lapelHorseshoe waistcoat scoop front for men's  Velvet waistcoat double breasted for men's

When it comes to choosing a waistcoat, you can choose from various styles, including double-breasted, single-breasted and horseshoe designs. Some waistcoats also come with a collar or lapel.

Whatever the occasion or event, when it comes to choosing a waistcoat, you shouldn't feel restricted to a particular style as you can also experiment with colour, texture and pattern.

What is a single-breasted waistcoat?

Single-breasted waistcoats are the most popular style and feature a single fastening straight down the middle with multiple buttons. This style offers a timeless look and typically includes a pointed edge bottom which lengthens the torso and flatters any body shape.

What is a double-breasted waistcoat?

Double-breasted waistcoats overlap at the front and feature two rows of parallel buttons. Offering a more formal aesthetic, these waistcoats feature a straight edge bottom as opposed to the pointed edge of the single-breasted style.

What is a horseshoe waistcoat?

The horseshoe or scoop front waistcoat became popular in the 1920s and is a formal option traditionally worn with a dinner suit. The opening is much deeper, allowing room for shirt studs and bibs should you choose them.

Here are the most frequently asked questions we get about waistcoats.

Now that we’ve looked at the styles you can choose from, we’ll answer some of the most frequently answered questions regarding the form and function of a waistcoat.

How should a waistcoat fit?

The perfect-fitting waistcoat should feel comfortable, button up smoothly and sit snugly against your body. It should reach your waist and should just cover your waistband.

Your waistcoat should never hang from your shoulders with lots of room between the fabric and your torso as this is a sign it is too big. Equally, it should not be riding up above your waistband as this is a sign it is too small.

Do waistcoats have pockets?

Most waistcoats do come with pockets. After all, where else would you place your pocket watch? Pockets on waistcoats are usually placed at waist level, which is particularly handy if you choose to only wear one as part of your formalwear outfit, or if you take off your suit jacket.

Should I do up the bottom button of my waistcoat?

The bottom button of a single-breasted waistcoat is not usually fastened. The bottom button of a double-breasted waistcoat should, however, be secured at all times to keep it balanced and your ensure your look remains refined.

Which style of waistcoat should I wear with a suit?

When choosing a waistcoat that complements your suit, consider texture matching, i.e. selecting a tweed waistcoat with a tweed wedding suit. Depending on the suit you are wearing, keep the colour ensemble cohesive.

Some general colour pairing tips:

  • Pair a black suit with a grey or black waistcoat.
  • Pair a blue suit with a grey or a similar-toned blue waistcoat.
  • Pair a grey suit with a black or grey waistcoat.

There are really no hard and fast rules. After all, your style is your own. If you feel like experimenting a little and looking for waistcoats in more colours, check out our range of red, green and brown options.