Waistcoats in general, including the men’s wedding waistcoats, are a type of garment, worn on the upper part of the body. It is distinguished by the fact that it doesn’t have sleeves and it is usually worn over another garment, like a shirt or a necktie. The men’s wedding waistcoats are garments that are designed with buttons only and are buttoned in front, like the jacket. Usually men’s wedding waistcoats and vests in general are long enough to cover the waist and the buttons fall down in front of the waist.
How are men’s wedding waistcoats worn?
In the “assembly” of the suit, as a formal wear, the men’s wedding waistcoat goes over the shirt and under the jacket. The waistcoats, including the men’s wedding waistcoats are also called vests. You can hear or find this definition in the United States of America. So you should remember that men’s wedding waistcoats and vests are one and the same thing.
The history of the vests and men’s wedding waistcoats
The vest, including the men’s wedding waistcoats, are a fashion trend, known for centuries. Actually the exact year of their appearance is unknown. A lot of fashion experts believe that vests and men’s wedding waistcoats have appeared first in the 17th century. It is debatable whether the fashion trend has its roots in Persia or if it was created by the British Monarch King Charles II.
Theory 1 – men’s wedding waistcoats and vests inspired by Persians
The people, who believe that vests and men’s wedding waistcoats have originated in Persia say, that the British Monarch was inspired to create a garment, similar to the Persian sleeveless jackets. According to different resources, the fashion was brought by Persian travelers, who said that the weather in the country is so warm that it does not allow people to wear a sleeved jacket. They saw the vests and men’s wedding waistcoats more as an element of decoration and to use it for its pockets, so they can carry valuable things in safety.
Theory 2 – men’s wedding waistcoats and vests are a truly British invention
The other part of experts believes that vests and men’s wedding waistcoats are a true British invention by King Charles II. No matter what is the theory in the end they end up in the same place – Britain. It is unanimous that the development of vests and men’s wedding waistcoats has happened in Britain under the ruling of King Charles II. It is believed that he wanted to create a garment, that should be worn by fashionable men and people in court. Some experts say that after the Great Plague occurred the invention of vests and men’s wedding waistcoats as a move to distinguish the British Monarchy from the views and influences of the French.
Development of the term men’s wedding waistcoats
Wearing a waistcoat, including the men’s wedding waistcoats, was regulated and promoted in a decree by the King. That is, actually, the first time that the term waistcoat was used. Many believe, that the term “waistcoat”, including men’s wedding waistcoats, is derived from the length of the cut cloth that is used in tailoring the vests, because before the invention of the waistcoats, tailors used to cut about coat-length.
The theories around the vests and men’s wedding waistcoats can be traced even in the name of the garment – waistcoat. Again, we have two main theories
- one of them is that the name comes from the idea that the garment is tailored at waist level;
- The other theory about the men’s wedding waistcoats and vests is that the name comes from the fact that tailors used the excess material from the making of a two-piece suit. That means that the term men’s wedding waistcoats can be broken down to “waste-coat” which is explained by using the fabric left from the suit. This theory is also backed by the fact, that in the 17th century military personnel used to wear waistcoats that were actually made from old coats, turned inside out.
Actually, in the beginning the men’s wedding waistcoats and vests have been tailored in the same length as the coat, but they had much tighter fit. It was introduced in simple and plain materials so it can discourage the use of lace and silk. Before the introduction of the vests and men’s waistcoats, the gentleman’s outfit included many garments, tailored from different textures and textiles in many bright colors.
Back in the 17th century dyes were very hard to find and extremely expensive, but when used to color fabrics, the tailors used insane amounts of the powder. This is having bright clothes was a clear sign of status or wealth. When the vests and men’s wedding waistcoats were introduced, they were again tailored in popping colors for the wealthy people, making them the centerpiece of their garment.
By the end of the 17th century, the vest and the men’s wedding waistcoats have managed to become a major fashion trend throughout Europe, with nobility persons in particular.
evolution of vests and men‘s wedding waistcoats
With the years vests and men’s wedding waistcoats got significantly shorter than in the beginning. The tailors even started to sew different vests, that were actually designated to be worn in sport events or activities. With cutting the length of the men’s wedding waistcoats and vests, the front became much more revealing with a specific curve, designed to show the gentleman’s breeches. Of course, with the evolution of vests and men’s wedding waistcoats come different fashion trends. Tailors started to sew men’s wedding waistcoats, that provided various methods for closing, such as hooks, eyes and even buttons, that matched the ones on the coat.
Men’s wedding waistcoats and vests in the 18th century
In the beginning of the 18th century the most worn men’s wedding waistcoats were the double-breasted ones that also featured small pockets with flaps. Since the middle of the century the fashion has changed significantly and the tailors started to shorten the sleeves of the men’s wedding waistcoats. They started with half sleeve and by the end of the century all men’s wedding waistcoats were sleeveless. The evolution of fashion has introduced different ornaments and fabrics in the tailoring of men’s wedding waistcoats.
Men’s wedding waistcoats and vests in the 19th century
In the beginning of the century, the men’s wedding waistcoats’ fashion has changed significantly and they became a really decorative element of the gentleman’s wardrobe. The key element for a fashionable men’s wedding waistcoat in the 19th century was considered that it had to be long, embroidered and visible from a far distance. In the 19th century tailors started using brighter and lighter colors when tailoring men’s wedding waistcoats rather than very popping and vibrant colors.
The interesting thing is that men’s wedding waistcoats have actually created the fashion trend of wearing corsets underneath the vest. Yes, we’re talking about men, wearing corsets. The fashion of men’s wedding waistcoats created a different perspective and understanding of beauty and the men started to desire small waists like their wives of mistresses. The fashion then changed, because most of the upper-body garments for the gentlemen have been tailored in a new way. The overcoat and men’s wedding waistcoats were cinched-in to create broad shoulders, pouting chest and small waist. There existed different ways in shrinking the waist with not only corsets. If you didn’t know, prince Albert, who was the husband of Queen Victoria, was well known for his madness for wearing corsets and he was well known for his small waist. The rapid development of the men’s wedding waistcoats and vests has stepped down its pace in the end of the 19th century.
Men’s wedding waistcoats and vests in the 20th century
In the beginning of the century the men’s wedding waistcoats have become much more calm and sober. In that period, they were used mainly as an addition to the suit, not as a center of attention like before. In the 20th century men’s wedding waistcoats were tailored from fabrics in the same color palette as the suit and often even from the same fabric as the suit itself. Even though the men’s wedding waistcoat was still popular in the beginning of the 20th century, there is a significant difference with a few centuries ago.
When people stopped referring to the men’s wedding waistcoat as a separate garment and more like an addition to the suit or formal wear, the style of clothing started slowly to fade. The decline started when people started seeing men’s wedding waistcoats only as a practical place to store a pocket watch and soon even that changed. With the introduction of the wrist watch the need of men’s wedding waistcoats was almost gone. Some say that the fading of the men’s wedding waistcoats has happened with the introduction of the belt as well. This led to less of a need for braces and the men’s wedding waistcoats and vests, that actually covered them. The new “belt” trend was combined with the introduction and rapid expansion of the knitted articles of clothing, especially sweaters.
Men’s wedding waistcoats and vests in the 21th century
Even though history might try to tell us that men’s wedding waistcoats and vests started to go out of fashion in the 20th century, that is definitely not the case in the 21st century. The men’s wedding waistcoats made a grand comeback in many fashion lines of great designers such as Armani and Dior. They re-introduced the men’s wedding waistcoats as an essential part of the costume and the vision of every man.
Vests, including men’s wedding waistcoats, can be worn as a piece of a 3-piece suit (that includes the waistcoat, trousers and jacket). Some occupations still require the 3-piece suit as a company dress code, like businessmen, lawyers and others. But many men want to look amazing on their special wedding day and decide to combine their suit with a matching men’s wedding waistcoat. That will certainly guarantee a classic and amazing look, that will make everyone turn their heads after you!
Types of men’s wedding waistcoats
Like every other article of clothing, men’s wedding waistcoats also vary in different styles and colors, that can be combined with the rest of the clothing, according to the situation or event.
Men’s wedding waistcoats – singe or double-breasted
As we mentioned above, since the creation of vests and men’s wedding waistcoats, that is the main division between this article of clothing. The single breasted men’s wedding waistcoats are the one that have only one line of buttons in the center of the vest. They can vary in number, depending on the men’s wedding waistcoats, but usually the vests have between 4 and 5 buttons. The double-breasted men’s wedding waistcoats have two parallel rows of buttons, placed in the front of the vest. Usually double-breasted men’s wedding waistcoats are worn for very formal events and can be easily combined with a tie or a cravat, depending on the look you want to achieve.
Men’s wedding waistcoats – different variations of the neckline and collars
Every men’s wedding waistcoat is different and this gives every man the opportunity to best express himself and choose the most suitable vest for his suit. You can find on the market variations with collars, tailored from the same fabric as the entire vest, or men’s wedding waistcoats that have a pinch of something different with a collar from a different fabric. Usually the necklines and collars of the men’s wedding waistcoats have 2 main forms – they can be pointed, like a V-shape, or they can be rounded. The men’s wedding waistcoats vary on the size of the neckline as well. Some men’s wedding waistcoats have a small V-shaped or rounded collar, that shows only the top section of the shirt and the knot of the tie, cravat or bowtie. The larger V-shaped or rounded collars of the men’s wedding waistcoats show a larger section of the shirt and the tie or cravat. Usually, depending on the size and depth of the collar, the pockets of the men’s wedding waistcoats can vary. Usually, men’s wedding waistcoats have three pockets – two at the waist line and one on the chest, usually on the left side, where you can put a handkerchief. If the neckline of the men’s wedding waistcoats is too deep, many designers have removed the pocket on the chest, but have kept the two on the waistline. So it all depend on the style, that you’re looking to achieve and also the functionality, that you search for in a men’s wedding waistcoat.
Men’s wedding waistcoats – colors and styles
You can find men’s wedding waistcoats in many colors and in various fabrics. They can be easily combined with a suit or just be worn separately with a shirt. When we talk about men’s wedding waistcoats, we at TruClothing advice you to coordinate the suit and the men’s wedding waistcoat. This means to choose a 3-piece suit or a men’s wedding waistcoats, that is made from the same fabric and it is in the same shade and color as the rest of the suit. This will guarantee every man that he will look amazing on his most important day!
To button or not to button – that is the men’s wedding waistcoats’ question
Since the creation and introduction of vests and men’s wedding waistcoats, there has always been the question for the last button – to button or not to button. There are many theories about the tradition not to button the last button in the row. Some say that the custom not to button vests and men’s wedding waistcoats originates from King Edward VII. Of course, there are two ideas why this happened: one suggest that when he dressed himself he simply forgot to button the last button, and others think that the King became so fat, that he wasn’t able to button the last button on his vest.
The other theory suggests that the custom of wearing two vests or men’s wedding waistcoats at the same time required to leave the last button of the top garment free, so that people could see both men’s wedding waistcoats.
There are many other theories about the last button of vests and men’s wedding waistcoats but if we have to look at the matter practically, nowadays it is more a matter of personal and fashion choice.
Tips on how to wear a men’s wedding waistcoats
Like every other garment, men’s wedding waistcoats have some specific rules about their wearing. We at TruClothing want to help every groom to look perfect, this is why we’ve collected some men’s wedding waistcoats’ tips:
- Always choose a men’s wedding waistcoats, that fits you perfectly. That will not only provide you with comfort, but it will be stylish as well;
- Vintage men’s wedding waistcoats are as good as the modern versions;
- If you go with a deep, rounded neckline of the men’s wedding waistcoats, always wear a bowtie;
- Don’t wear a belt, when wearing a men’s wedding waistcoats.
We at TruClothing offer all our clients with men’s wedding waistcoats with the best quality. They’re tailored to fit every body type and can guarantee you will look incredible. In our product range, you can find many types and styles men’s wedding waistcoats and choose what will be the best for you! We at TruClothing can dress every man with men’s wedding waistcoats for their perfect wedding day. No matter if you need only the men’s wedding waistcoat or a 3 or 5-piece suit, we will help you dress to impress!