A vest, also known as a waistcoat in the U.K., is a type of sleeveless top that’s frequently worn over a dress shirt and tie but under the coat or jacket, as part of formal wear. When referring to a three-piece business suit, it’s the third piece (the other two being a shirt and jacket or coat). Being that vests are usually optional, however, many men don’t know how to wear them. So, if you’re thinking about wearing a vest but don’t know how, keep reading for some helpful tips.
Choose the Right Color
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a vest is the color. Because it’s worn with a jacket, dress shirt and necktie, you’ll need to choose a color that flows cohesively with the rest of your outfit. A good rule of thumb is to choose a vest color that’s slightly darker than the aforementioned garments and accessories, typically in a color that matches your trousers. As shown in the photo above, this allows for a deeper, more aesthetically pleasing appearance. And best of all, it simplifies the process of choosing a vest color.
Check the Size
In addition to color, you should also consider the size of your vest. If it’s too big, it will awkward and baggy. If it’s too small, it will restrict your movement, preventing you from extending your arms. Your vest should rest against your body, providing you with just enough “wiggle room” to extend your arms up, down and from side to side. If your vest doesn’t fit correctly, consider taking it to a professional tailor for adjusting.
Don’t make the mistake of wearing a wrinkled vest. Even if it’s the “perfect” size and color, a wrinkled vest isn’t going to enhance your appearance. On the contrary, it creates an unkempt appearance that hurts the rest of your outfit. Depending on the material, you may be able to press it with a hot iron. Some vests, however, are dry clean-only, so check the manufacturer’s care label before attempting to iron it.
Like a suit jacket, you should leave the bottom button on a vest undone while fastening the remaining buttons. This helps to define your appearance while also giving you enough freedom to move around with feeling constricted. Even if you’re wearing a jacket over your vest, you should still follow this basic rule when buttoning your vest.