Types Of Waistcoat Or Vest
September 13th, 2010
A waistcoat has a full vertical opening in the front which fastens with buttons or snaps. Both single-breasted and double-breasted waistcoats exist, regardless of the formality of dress, but single-breasted ones are more common. In a three piece suit, the cloth used matches the jacket and trousers.
Before wristwatches became popular, gentlemen kept their pocket watches in the front waistcoat pocket, with the watch on a watch chain threaded through a buttonhole. Sometimes an extra hole was made in line with the buttonholes for this use. A bar on the end of the chain held the chain in place to catch it if it were dropped or pulled. Now waistcoats are worn less, so the pocket watch may be more likely be stored in a trouser pocket.
Wearing a belt with a waistcoat (and indeed any suit) is not traditionally correct. The waistcoat instead covers a pair of braces (suspenders in the U.S.) underneath it, to give a more comfortable hang to the trousers.
A custom still sometimes practiced is to leave the bottom button undone. This is said to have been started by King Edward VII (then the Prince of Wales), whose expanding waistline required it. Variations on this include that he forgot to fasten the lower button when dressing and this was copied. It has also been suggested that the practice originated to prevent the waistcoat riding up when on horseback. Undoing the bottom button avoids stress to the bottom button when sitting down; when it is fastened, the bottom of the waistcoat pulls sideways causing wrinkling and bulging, since modern waistcoats are cut lower than old ones.
Waistcoats worn with lounge suits (now principally single-breasted) normally match the suit in cloth, and have four to six buttons. Double breasted waistcoats are rare compared to single. As formalwear, it used to be common to wear a contrastingly coloured waistcoat, such as in buff or dove linen. This is still seen in morning dress, which requires a waistcoat.
The tailored waistcoats worn with white- and black- tie are different from standard daytime single-breasted waistcoats, being much lower in cut (with three buttons or rows of buttons, where all are fastened). The much larger expanse of shirt compared to a daytime waistcoat allows more variety of form, with "U" or "V" shapes possible, and there is large choice of outlines for the tips, ranging from pointed to flat or rounded. The colour normally matches the tie, so only black barathea or satin and white marcella are worn, although white waistcoats used to be worn with black tie in early forms of the dress.
Waiters and other servants at white-tie events, to distinguish themselves from guests, sometimes wear grey tie, which consists of the dress coat of white tie (a squarely cut away tailcoat) with the black waistcoat and tie of black tie.
The clergy vest is a form of waistcoat. It differs in style from other waistcoats in that it buttons to the neck and has an opening that displays the clergy collar.
Source : Wikipedia