Suit Vests – Tips on Choosing Your Waistcoat

Suit Vests – Tips on Choosing Your Waistcoat

Three peice suit and waistcoat or vest and wide tie

Suit vests or in the UK called a waistcoat these days are an essential must. In the past they were commonly worn for formal wear by older gentleman. But those days are far form over. Vests are an eye-catching look, but be aware that there are a few basic rules in making sure your vest suits you.

The key is to work out for what occasion you want to show offer your waistcoat.  So I will break it down to day vest and night vests. What I adore when I see a man in a waistcoat is it shows off the size of his chest and waist.

Tips on Choosing Your Suit Vests or Waistcoats

The correct fitted vest is long enough in the front to cover the man’s waist (hence “waistcoat”). Ideally no dress shirt showing between the belt and the vest. Regarding your shoulders, the vest should always lie flat against your body and below any collar points. When wearing the vest with a suit coat, the V-shape of the vest should be narrow enough that the suit lapels don’t hide it entirely. Choose your vest fabrics around seasons and look for intricate details. Hence quirky buttons, labels that mix and match fabrics. Desigual do great waistcoats for day wear. I find there is a huge difference regarding the quality of fabrics in vests. So make the investment and understand your fabrics. Make sure you choose your colours that suit you.

Occasions for Men to Wear Vests

At black tie or formal events vests or waistcoats are usually backless, fastened with an adjustable strap unless custom made. They have lapels, which makes the waistcoat more formal, and the fabrics used are the same material called grosgrain found on the black tie jacket. The waistcoats cut is lower to show more of the dress shirt front. Don’t opt in wearing these outside formal events. There are plenty of options for casual vest wear. It looks silly if you do.

When wearing the three piece suit, your vest should usually match your suit, and most of the time worn with a necktie. An open collar just looks odd on a full three-piece suit.


You can experiment and break all the the rules. I call this the day and casual look vest. Go for an unmatched vest and team it with chinos, trousers or jeans. I find the long-sleeved dress shirt is the only thing that looks great under one. You can roll the sleeves up for a more casual style. Make sure your vest is long enough to cover your waist in the front!

David Gandy wearing a waistcoat at London Collections Men

Keep you colour pallets simple

Waistcoats, Suit Vests or Vests for men casual wear

Waistcoats, Suit Vests or Vests for men formal wear

Three Piece suit mix and match your vest

Waistcoats, Suit Vests or Vests for men  green

Great example of mix and matching your vest

Waistcoats, Suit Vests or Vests for men beige

About The Author

Gracie Opulanza

Global menswear and luxury lifestyle journalist. Co-founder and editor in chief of Men Style Fashion. is my personal blog. Protection Status

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