THE BOW TIE

First, let’s get to know the different types of bow ties: Self-tied, pre-tied, and clip-on. Ignore types two and three immediately.

If you’re the type of person who wants to wear a bow tie, you should be the type of person that wants to learn how to tie one. There are literally 100,000 videos to choose from (my personal favorite is this one).

The key to wearing a bow tie is to do it sparingly, unless you’re trying to make it your “thing,” like a certain Supreme Court Justice. Make it about a special event, and keep the rest of your outfit muted  think a solid color suit and shirt.

adam levine bow tie hair
Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. 
Paul A. Hebert/Getty Images

For a suits, go with navy, black or grey, and for shirts, stick to blues and whites. It’s possible to wear a pinstripe suit with a bow tie, but make sure the stripe is subtle. And make sure the suit and shirt match, since they’ll be more visible than they would be with a regular necktie, which bisects the male torso. 

Most important is the bow tie itself. Since the rest of your outfit will be conservative, this is the time to make a statement.

A basic place to start is with some stripes, but once you’re comfortable with patterns, start experimenting with polka dotspaisley, or anything else. A bow tie is such a small piece of clothing that it’s acceptable for it to get loud. You wanted to stand out by wearing one, so embrace it.

Once you’ve tied your bow tie and you’re happy that it’s not going to come undone, leave it alone. It’s part of the fun that the knot won’t be perfect; that’s how people will know you did it yourself.

Remember, bow ties don’t look nearly as cool loosened like regular ties, so keep it tight. Don’t touch it again until you’re ready to untie it completely for that rakish (cool) end-of-a-great-night look you’ve been waiting for.

MAN SCARF

Scarf Knot Style: The City Slicker

A simple, no-nonsense knot that keeps your scarf neat and fuss-free.

how to tie a scarf - The City Slicker scarf knot

  • Fold the scarf in half lengthwise and wrap it around your neck
  • Pull the loose ends through the loop of the fold.

The City Slicker knot is both functional and easy to adjust while on the move. This classic knot also keeps your scarf on, and in place. This is especially important if you ride a bike, drive a motorcycle, or prefer to ride with the windows down. The City Slicker knot is even perfect for summer scarves. It adds a clean, put-together element to your ensemble.

Scarf Knot Style: The Sophisticate

This knot strikes a splendid balance between thoughtfully put-together and comfortably indifferent.

how to tie a scarf - The Sophisticate scarf knot

  • Drape the scarf around your neck, leaving one end shorter than the other
  • Wrap the longer end loosely around your neck once, twice if you want a chunkier look or need more bundling.
  • Leaving one end slightly longer than the other gives a more natural and spontaneous look, but the length can be adjusted to your preference.

The Sophisticate works well with winter outerwear.

This is perhaps the best way to wear a lightweight linen scarf in the summer: with T-shirt/blazer or T-shirt/cardigan ensemble, your lightweight scarf will add a slight buffer when that onshore breeze whips-up, or that cafe AC is a tad too frosty.

Scarf Knot Style: The Ivy-Leaguer

The first-choice for formalwear and whenever you’d like to add an element of color.

how to tie a scarf - The Ivy Leaguer scarf knot
There are two variations:

  • The scarf may be worn draped over the shoulder (Step 1)
  • Or tucked into a buttoned jacket/blazer (Step 3)

Go with this style when sporting an opera scarf over a tuxedo or dinner jacket. This style is contingent upon the length of the scarf. If the ends of the scarf extend below the bottom of your jacket, think carefully about whether the ensuing look is appropriate. When wearing a topcoat , we do not recommend wearing a scarf under the lapels–a common but unfortunate arrangement. With topcoats and outerwear, either tuck the scarf inside (as in Step 3) or opt for another style of knot.

Scarf Knot Style: The Connoisseur

The Connoisseur knot is reminiscent of the knot used for an ascot .

how to tie a scarf: The Connoisseur

  • Lay the scarf around your neck, such that both ends are parallel in the front
  • Bring one end over and then underthe other end
  • Drape the front end over the back, adjusting the length to your liking.
  • This style may be worn loose and on the outside of your ensemble (Step 4), or slightly snugged-up and tucked into a sports coat or blazer.

If one is wearing it snug-and-inside (Step 5), silk scarves work best. Because this is a secure knot, The Connoisseur is another appropriate choice for those on the saddle of a two-wheeler or in an open-top vehicle. For classic roadsters, go Connoisseur. Hardtop off the Jeep? See below.

Scarf Knot Style: The Jet Setter

This style maximizes the motion impact of your scarf.

How to tie a scarf: The Jet Setter scarf knot

  • There’s no knot here, just a light drape around your neck that leaves one end shorter than the other.
  • Throw the longer end of the scarf across the front of your neck and let it hang over your opposite shoulder.

If the scarf is extra long, loop it around your neck once before placing it behind your shoulder. This is one of the most casual styles, and it successfully communicates activity and mobility.

Scarf Knot Style: The Weekender

A casual scarf knot, most likely to be seen on the streets of Rome, Paris, and Shanghai.

How to tie a scarf: The Weekender scarf knot

  • Start with one end in the front, close to your neck, and wrap the long end around your neck until it is short.
  • Tuck both ends into the wrapped scarf.
  • For volume, fluff-out the knot.

This knot is perfect for windy days and joyrides with the top down.

Wrap It Up

Wearing a scarf is a great way to put your signature on your ensemble. A good-looking high-quality scarf needn’t be a costly purchase, and scarves are one of the few easily-sourced male accessories that can turn a by-the-numbers look into something eye-catching.

HOW TO WEAR BRACES

If you’ve made the decision to wear braces (suspenders) in lieu of a belt, you should be commended. You’ve made a decision to take the sartorial road less traveled, and in so doing, opened yourself up to a world of style previously unavailable to you.

Every garment we wear has “rules” associated with it, and suspenders are no exception. How do manage to wear suspenders in an aesthetically pleasing way?

Read on for our top tricks for how to wear suspenders.

Top Nine Tips & Tricks For Wearing Braces

1. Coordinate With Shoes

coordinating-braces-with-shoes

The button holders should coordinate with the color of your shoes. This is a good rule of thumb except in the case of white braces that are worn with a tuxedo, in which case you’ll obviously be wearing black shoes.

Additionally, if you’re a bit more advanced in terms of your color matching prowess, you can break this rule within reason. For example, Bespoke Unit Founder Paul Anthony often wears exotic leathers in non-traditional colors that don’t always match when wearing braces. We’ll go more in depth in terms of “uncoordinated coordination” in step three below, but know that once you’ve demonstrated mastery of the rules, you have some license to bend them.

Such is the way with clothing and in life, we suppose.

2. Coordinate With Your Outfit…

Logic and a decent sartorial sense dictate the guidelines for wearing suspenders well. Braces live on the torso, which means they share the same visual plane as the tie. Therefore, your tie and braces are the first things that you should coordinate.

coordinating-suspenders-with-tie

The standard pattern and color mixing concepts apply for which are some basic, quick tips:

  • Solid suspenders are your best starting point due to their versatility. Most men tend to wear patterned ties, and coordinating these with solid braces will make your life easier because your only mixing criteria will be color.
  • Patterned braces such as stripes, plaids, dots, etc. will work best with solid or discreetly patterned ties. They are less versatile than solids, of course, but the payoff for a good combination is quite high.

If coordinating with your tie is something you can’t or don’t feel like doing, the next garments to consider are the dress shirt and trouser. Again, the same pattern and color mixing guidelines apply. Note above how there’s blue in the tie, shirt, and suspenders, while the yellow in the tie also hearkens back to the shirt.

Finally, suspenders are similar to socks in that they spend most of their time covered up by another garment (trousers in the case of socks, waistcoats and / or jackets in the case of braces). With that in mind, you have some license in terms of what you coordinate your suspenders with. It really just depends on your skill, comfort level, and audience.

Let’s assume you’re going to a wedding and you want to wear braces with your suit. Sure, you can wear blue suspenders to coordinate with your purple-and-blue striped tie. But if your socks are, say, blue with green polka dots, who’s to say you can’t wear some green braces to call out those dots? We wouldn’t recommend this for a board meeting, but it’s a great move on a more festive occasion.

3. …Or Don’t Coordinate At All

Dotted Suspenders With Striped Tie

Braces live underneath a jacket or vest, as such you have a lot of leeway in terms of color and pattern. You can theoretically let your suspenders do their own things and be just fine.

4. Don’t Wear Clips & Never Wear A Belt With Braces

how-to-wear-braces

No clip-on suspenders please, and NEVER a belt. Combining the two gives off an air of extreme pessimism, to paraphrase Glenn O’Brien:

braces with a belt

Clip-ons are decidedly bush league, corny, and whatever other synonyms you can think of for those words, and wearing a belt with suspenders indicates a man who’s far too concerned with keeping his pants up.

5. Belt Loops?

trouser waistbands for suspenders

Ideally, trousers worn with suspenders will not have belt loops, which look conspicuously empty when worn without a belt. Still, if everything else in the outfit is pulled off well, you can get away with it:

braces with belt loops

 

Side adjuster tabs are still perfectly acceptable, however, and can be seen in action below:

white braces with blue trousers

6. Trouser Rise Should Be High

trouser-rise for suspenders

Low-rise pants simply don’t look right with suspenders. Opt for trousers that sit at your natural waist, not your hips. This is a physical comfort issue as well.

7. (Somewhat) Looser Trouser Waistband

Braces are known to allow your pants to “float” around your waist, which is part of their value. To achieve this, they must be a bit looser than your snug trousers.

8. Formalwear

Black-Tie-Accessories

Braces are de rigeur with formalwear. Formal trousers take either side tabs and / or braces, and traditionally the braces are white. Under no circumstances should you wear a belt.

9. Adjuster / Buckle Placement

correct suspenders buckle-placement

All braces, even custom ones, have buckles so that length can be adjusted. It used to be that braces were sold in set sizes like belts were (32, 34, 36, etc.), which was very helpful in terms of keeping the buckles where they should rest, which is pretty much right in the center of the torso.

Nowadays, braces are all sold in one set size, which is quite long so as to accommodate tall men. With that said, men under 5’10” or so can run into issues of having buckles up around their collarbones.

Do You Know How To Put On Suspenders?

Knowing how to wear suspenders with style is definitely important knowledge for any man. However, it won’t matter if you don’t know how to put them on!

We have created a very detailed step-by-step guide on how to put on suspenders in case you need help. Have a look!

Classic Suspender Pairings For Men

Suspenders With Jeans

suspenders with jeans

Full disclosure: we do not care for the braces-and-denim look. Knowing that, if you choose to wear this combination, you might as well do it correctly.

The most important thing to do is retrofit your jeans with brace buttons. Clip-on suspenders, as mentioned above, are bush league no matter how you slice it. In other words, they come across as half-hearted and considerably less than authentic.

Furthermore, clip-on suspenders will be ineffective when undertaking manual work. Therefore, if you’re pairing them with jeans and undertaking some heavy-lifting, they may well come undone when you least expect it.

Having addressed the need to wear proper, to-button suspenders with denim, the next thing to talk about is material. Most suspenders nowadays are made from rayon, while others are made from necktie silk (the latter is particularly true in the world of custom clothing).

While silk suspenders have a nice feel to them, they tend to not be as durable as rayon ones. When we talk about the rougher aesthetic aspects of denim, it stands to reason that silk suspenders are just too delicate a look to pull off. Stick with rayon, whose rougher texture will sync more harmoniously with the more casual vibe of jeans.

Finally, the question of width comes into play. Any suspenders worth wearing are either 1.25″ or 1.5″ wide. Similar to belt width, any narrower or wider and they will start looking costume-y and silly.

Just as you typically wear wider belts with jeans, so should you wear wider suspenders with denim. Again, this goes back to the concept of sartorial harmony; generally speaking, “bigger” is synonymous with “more casual,” and your jeans-with braces outfit will look better when you keep this in mind.

Wearing A Bow Tie & Suspenders

suspenders with necktie and bow tie

Wearing suspenders and a bow tie is a classic combination that makes for a natty presentation if you do it right. If you do it wrong, you end up looking like a hipster who goes nuts for Disney theme parks’ Dapper Day, which is anything but dapper.

What’s the difference between right and wrong here? Adherence to or disregard of the no clip-on rule.

For the third time, clip-on suspenders are simply a non-starter. Clip-on bow ties are similarly a non-starter as they look too perfect and lack the style necessary to be truly pulled off. If one or both of these elements is clipped on, your look is doomed.

On the other hand, if you tie your own tie and button your braces to your trousers, the chances of you looking actually dapper go through the roof.

Braces With A Tuxedo

Wearing braces with a tuxedo is a wonderful idea, though it’s not necessary if your trousers stay up on their own (tuxedo trousers often have side adjusters). Just make sure they’re white, and know that they can be paired with either a cummerbund or a vest.

Suspenders With A Vest Or Waistcoat

You can certainly wear suspenders with a vest. In fact, a hundred years or so ago when braces were considered underwear, a waistcoat was meant to cover them up, in addition to the brace buttons which lived on the outside of the waistband.

A word to the wise: give yourself a few extra moments when using the bathroom while wearing braces with a waistcoat. What was once a one-minute time investment becomes a multi-step process when you have to remove a vest before relieving yourself!

Parting Thoughts

Man In Blue Suspenders

Suspenders have the potential to add a lot of style to your presentation. This is not just because they look good on their own as a standalone item, but also because the increased comfort and mobility will allow you to carry yourself in a more comfortable way physically. Feeling comfortable in what you wear is perhaps the most underlooked aspect of style.

QUILTED JACKETS

As the frost begins to spread across the land, it becomes ever harder to leave our tightly tucked quilts. What we need is something equally quilted.

Like a jacket made of a quilt. A quilted jacket, if you will. And even if you’ve never been pheasant shooting in the three counties let us tell you, it’s a gloriously cushy thing.

Giving it these posh-boy connotations isn’t too unfair when you find that the style started life as a quilted vest actually meant for shooting in the mid-1960s. The quilting part refers to garment that stitches at least two layers of cloth – traditional quilted jackets add a third layer of padding to create that distinctive diamond pattern.

The first version was made out of a synthetic polyester to help with the soggy British weather while the quilting element provided a light, natural insulation without the need for the ethically dubious down padding like its less posh cousin the puffer (although some options do contain down).

Later versions brought waxed cotton to the mix for a softer feel, while the early green and navy versions have remained the standard go-to shades, as the style grew in popularity largely thanks to its flexibility of movement and its dressed-up but still casual appearance.

Pair with a smart cotton button-down shirt and chinos for a look that reeks of the countryside, or a crew neck and slim jeans for a contemporary appearance better suited for shooting the breeze at the pub than any wild game.

The Best Brands For Quilted Jackets

Barbour

Barbour has been outfitting outdoorsy types since the 19th century, and although it hasn’t been making quilted jackets for as long as that, the style has still become synonymous with the British heritage brand. Having started life as the Countryman jacket in 1979, Barbour changed the name of its flagship QJ to the Liddesdale in 1994 after the valley of the same name in the north of England (a spot where a warm quilted jacket would certainly not go amiss).

The Liddesdale, which consists of a corduroy collar and a diamond pattern, isn’t the only quilted jacket in the Barbour armoury though, with other popular versions including the Edderton which comes with a shorter, blouson cut and the Chelsea Sportsquilt which is modelled after the ones worn by horse riders.

BUY NOW: £89.95

BARBOUR LIDDESDALE QUILTED JACKET

Jack Wills

In its two decades, Jack Wills has positioned itself as the offspring of Barbour so while papa is galavanting around the estate in his Land Rover and Barbour jacket, the heir to the family jewels can crawl to lectures in their Jack Wills quilted car coat.

And with a flannel lining, corduroy collar and chunky front pockets there ain’t much difference between this version and the Barbour Liddesdale, apart from the branding and being less spenny of course.

BUY NOW: £60.00

WENTWORTH CAR COAT

Burberry

If there’s anything Burberry does well it’s reeling off British classics with a high fashion edge (and adding that oft-repeated, never bettered Burberry check). It’s not all about the style with the luxury fashion house on this one though, with cutting-edge thermoregulation technology to help keep your core body temperature at the ideal 37.5°C to go with the sharp Harrington cut and that check.

BUY NOW: £690.00

Diamond Quilted Thermoregulated Harrington Jacket

Superdry

Shooting a little younger than the other British brands on this list, Superdry aims for the streets rather than the well-beaten country road on its quilted jackets.

And so we get an icy blue side stripe bolting down the sleeve, a protective hood because a flat cap is too sepia-toned for street style and a chevron styled pattern leading into the more traditional diamond up top.

BUY NOW: £99.99

Quilt Fade Fuji Jacket

John Lewis

By definition shopping at a department store can be a mixed bag, but with British chain John Lewis, quality is guaranteed (it’s quite literally ingrained in the brand). Its own brand quilted jackets are a particularly safe option among a hard-to-go-wrong style.

Its classic version is made out of a waxed cotton so you don’t have to worry about getting caught in one of those pesky showers, while a slim fitting mid-length cut flatters those broad shoulders.

BUY NOW: £109.00

John Lewis & Partners Quilted Wax Cotton Jacket

Ted Baker

Don’t forget to add Ted Baker into the mix for star baker in the great British quilt off. The premium high street retailer excels at shaking up design standards like the quilted jacket, and so we get a classic Harrington shape cut to the waist with a square, not a diamond pattern and a jazzy inner lining to flash at passersby.

BUY NOW: £245.00

RELLTT Tall quilted Harrington jacket

Gant

Preppy giant Gant is targeted at a bit more of the older gent than its fellow American rivals, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren, a demographic where the quilted jacket is fertile territory. Cut like a field jacket with extra length at the hem and more room around the body and waist this QJ is forgiving enough for all gents to sport, and with padding made from recycled material. Wait, did we just say sustainable? Well, that’s one more reason to buy.

BUY NOW: £250.00

GANT The Quilted City Jacket

Joules

The quilted jacket is the jewel in the Joules outerwear crown and that’s quite enough puns so let’s move on swiftly to the brown outer making a welcome change from the standard blue, the longer lengths and the bevvy of pockets.

And outside of Barbour, the British country lifestyle clothing brand has one of the widest collections. So quilt us up, Joules, we’re ready to get snug.

BUY NOW: £99.95

DERWENT LONG LENGTH QUILTED JACKET

Belstaff

Having repositioned itself from solely a heritage brand to a luxury sportswear maker championed by the likes of David Beckham and Brad Pitt earlier this decade, Belstaff has made a habit of taking classic outerwear out of its stuffy cupboard and into a box labelled cool as a leather-clad cucumber.

Case in point is its reinvention of the quilted jacket, which is a lot less country bumpkin and a whole lot more motor racing rogue, clad in super sleek black with reinforced shoulders that mimics the brand’s stylish leather jackets.

BUY NOW: £450.00

Bramley 2.0 Jacket In Black Lightweight Technical Quilt

Emporio Armani

In a list dominated by British brands it’s refreshing to see the Italians rearing up into the QJ dogfight. It’s a mighty fine stallion too – the imperious Emporio Armani – the second brand from Giorgio Armani and one of only two that is designed by the ledge himself.

This quilted bomber jacket is indicative of the range – all-black and as slick as a dollop of hair gel – you’ll probably catch Keanu Reeves slo-mo repping this in the Matrix 4.

BUY NOW: £278.00

Emporio Armani quilted bomber jacket

Adidas

Now we have to admit you won’t catch grime superstar Stormzy in a quilted jacket. Really, what? Shut up? Adidas do a quilted jacket? Maybe you just might then, along with all the other hypebeasts and rappers who worship the sportswear brand, with this glossy jacket that takes after the traditional Adidas track top (you know that one that Stormzy fella wore in that video) with the addition of a striking zig-zag pattern.

BUY NOW: £100.00

ADIDAS Quilted padded shell jacket

WAISTCOATS

No man’s wardrobe is complete without a suit, and no man’s suit is complete without a waistcoat. If you’re wondering how to wear a waistcoat then give our style guide a read for all the best tips and tricks. 

Have you ever watched an old gangster film like The Godfather and thought, despite the fact that they’re gangsters, these guys look great in a waistcoat? That’s because waistcoats are an amazing way to add an element of class and style to any outfit that you may be wearing.

Unfortunately, Waistcoats deserve more respect than they receive. Wearing a waistcoat seems like a scary task to many men who aren’t sure how to properly style it. Well, with a little bit of know-how and advice you will soon be able to wear a waistcoat in a modern and stylish way.

What is a Waistcoat

In its simplest form, a waistcoat is a waist length jacket that generally comes without sleeves or a collar. Done up with buttons on the front, it is typically tight fitting. Men predominantly wear waistcoats over a button up or dress shirt and under a jacket.

However, what a waistcoat can be, is so much more. Although the history of the waistcoats has been dated back as far as King Charles II, it wasn’t until the 19th Century, when elite gentlemen began to wear them, that the waistcoat we know and love was born.

Originally waistcoats for men became fashionable when it was the style to have a clinched in waist with an emphasised figure. Throughout the 20th century the style became straighter, putting less emphasis on a restricted waist. This has remained the fashion for waistcoats ever since and confirms the waistcoat’s rich history in mens fashion. If anything, this emphasises just how versatile and classic the waistcoat really is.

waistcoat street style combo_166

If you’re wondering what the difference is between a waistcoat and a vest, you can stop. There is absolutely no physical difference between a waistcoat and a vest. The only difference is that if you’re British you will call them waistcoats, and if you’re American then you will probably call them vests.

Although the waistcoat is traditionally a formal item of clothing that is worn as part of a suit, there are also plenty of other ways you can use the waistcoat to create a great stylish outfit that isn’t necessarily ultra formal.

How to Wear a Waistcoat

If you’re reading this then you’re probably wondering how to wear a vest or waistcoat. Well, the main thing to consider when wearing a waistcoat, is that it fits correctly. Getting the size of your waistcoat wrong can be a disaster for your outfit, and is therefore very important, no matter how obvious it may seem. If your waistcoat is too large it’s going to be baggy around your chest and possibly balloon or crease. On the other hand, if your waistcoat is too small, it will appear as if you’re wearing a corset and possibly be hard to breath. Leave the corsets to the Elizabethan women.

The good thing about a waistcoat is that it simultaneously slims your build as well as tidying up the torso section of your outfit. Even if you tuck your shirt in, if you’re wearing a button down or dress shirt, it’s probably going to crease out at the sides. This is where a waistcoat can come and save the day. By wearing a waistcoat the lines of your outfit are made more straight, ultimately making you appear slimmer and taller.

waist coat combinations
PHOTO CREDIT: Kaamdaar

Although a waistcoat is traditionally worn as part of a three piece suit, it can be a great item to wear on its own as the centre piece of your outfit. However, in order for this to work, you need to make sure the material, colour and pattern of your waistcoat compliments the rest of your outfit.

When it comes to materials you want to stick to natural fabrics. Avoid any completely polyester waistcoats and stick to cotton, linen and wool. This will not only be more comfortable for you to wear, but will look a hundred percent better on you, avoiding looking like a waiter with that shiny polyester look.

Avoid wearing a waistcoat with any accessories. The waistcoat is an accessory in itself and thereby already gives your outfit all the extra detail it needs. If you start attaching pins or pocket watches you’re just going to look like a steampunk cosplayer. Additionally, although patterns can add detail to your waistcoat, avoid any fancy lace or detailing. Unless you’re going to a wedding you’re going to look over dressed.

Button Waistcoat

Almost any waistcoat you come across is going to have buttons down the front. These buttons are their for a reason and you should use them. Some men have in the past thought that it’s ok to wear a waistcoat with the buttons undone. Don’t do it, this isn’t a sports jacket. If you don’t do up your waistcoat buttons then you will be flapping about all over the place, loosing any formal sense of style that you gained with the waistcoat. The whole point of a waistcoat is to tidy up your outfit whilst adding a subtle and stylish detail. If you unbutton it you will just look as if you haven’t dressed yourself properly.

waist coat button
Bottom Button Undone | PHOTO CREDIT: Me My Suit and Tie

Bottom Button Unbuttoned

I know we’ve just told you that you must, under all circumstances, button up your waistcoat. Which is still true. However, this is with the exception of the very last button of the waistcoat. In many ways, the bottom button of a men’s waistcoat is completely pointless. When you raise your arms or move around you’re applying pull and pressure to your waistcoat. Leaving the bottom button undone reduces this and stops the buttons popping off after a few beers.

Waistcoat with a Suit

The most classic way in which to wear a waistcoat is as part of a suit ensemble. There is a reason that a three piece suit has been a stylish part of mens fashion for decades. In many ways, a three piece suit is the epitome of style, class and formality for mens fashion. If done correctly.

If you’re going to wear a waistcoat with a suit jacket be sure that the colour or pattern is very similar if not exactly the same. Unlike when wearing a shirt with a different colour or pattern to your jacket, a waistcoat should match your jacket in a way that makes it appear almost as if it’s part of the jacket. This will create a continuity to your outfit and add to the stylish flare of the waistcoat jacket combination.

blue three piece suit
PHOTO CREDIT: Robbreport

Also make sure that you don’t do up your jacket over the waistcoat. If you’re just going to end up hiding it behind your jacket, why go to all the trouble of wearing a beautifully patterned waistcoat? Leave it on show for all the world to see and it will add a great detail to your suit without appearing too cluttered.

Waistcoat and Jeans

If a three-piece suit is too formal for you, there are plenty of ways to wear a waistcoat vest for men in a more casual but stylish way. The easiest way to do this is by wearing a waistcoat with jeans. When you’re wearing a waistcoat with jeans think about being a bit more experimental with colour and pattern.

Without a suit jacket, your waistcoat will become the centre piece of your outfit. This means that you are now free to wear exciting colours and patterns that you can base the rest of your outfit around. A good way to do this is by wearing various textures. For instance, a checkered tweed waistcoat combined with some dark navy blue jeans and a blue checkered shirt gives a great rustic aesthetic to your outfit in a smart casual way.

waistcoat and jeans combo

Once again, a lot of this depends on the material of the waistcoat. You could wear a thick wool, or corduroy waistcoat for an interesting style that you don’t usually get with more typical cotton vests.

Remember that your shirt should always be tucked in when you’re wearing a waistcoat. The bottom of your vest should sit at, you guessed it, your waist. Nothing should come below the waistcoat and it should connect straight on to your trousers. In terms of ties, it is entirely up to you. Traditionally, you would always wear a tie with a waistcoat as it can bring the whole outfit to a neat conclusion. However, if you’re trying to go for a particularly relaxed look then you could possibly wear one without a tie.

Brown Herringbone Vest

If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration for typical vest and waistcoat styles then why not start with one of the most classic? A brown tweed Herringbone waistcoat vest is about as classic as they get.

If you wear a brown tweed Herringbone waistcoat with a pair of blue jeans or check trousers you will have a great stylish combination. Be careful what kind of shirt you combine with this as you may end up looking like a farmer. So try not to wear any flat capswith it. A plain neutral coloured shirt will work perfectly. If you want a pattern, try a thin vertical stripe or small check.

brown herringbone combo

To finish off this classic look, add some brown leather brogues, and a knitwear tie. The brogues and tie will contribute to the overall rustic feel and give a great hipster look. All you need now is a big ginger beard and you’ll basically be a member of Mumford and Sons.

Your Quick Guide on How to Wear a Waistcoat:

  • Make sure you get a waistcoat that fits properly. You won’t be able to breath properly if it’s too small, and anything too big, you’ll look like a balloon.
  • Stick to natural materials. Buy a waistcoat in cotton, wool or linen. Avoid any cheap polyester vests, you will definitely be able to tell the difference.
  • Button your waistcoat up. If you’re wearing a waistcoat, do all the buttons up accept the last one. You don’t want it flapping in the breeze, but don’t want it to pop open either.
  • Experiment with different combinations. Don’t be afraid to have fun with a waistcoat. Wear it on its own with some jeans and a shirt, or as part of a suit ensemble.

On That Note…

The waistcoat has a history in men’s fashion that spans back for hundreds of years. After all that time it remains one of the most classic and stylish items of clothing a man can own. Whether you’re wearing it as part of a suit to add an extra layer of formality, or wearing it as the centre piece to your entire outfit. Follow this style guide and you will be donning some dapper vests in no time.

AIR JORDAN V

In his 1989 — 1990 season, it was clear that MJ was better than ever. Setting a points per game personal record, he drained 69 points against Cleveland. He hit 92 three-pointers, compared to only 68 in all prior seasons combined. Every aspect of MJ’s game was flawless, but it was his dogfight-like flight that separated him from every other player on the planet.

Tinker Hatfield took inspiration from Jordan’s biting style and, likening it to an American WWII fighter plane, he designed the Air Jordan V with shark-tooth shapes on the midsole. Paired with a clear outsole, the shoe a imbued a ferocity reminiscent of its relentless muse.

WAISTCOATS

Tailoring though has never really gone away. Sure, it’s had its lulls in popularity, but if you want to look properly turned out there’s only one way to go – suited.

And the most suited of them all is the three piece. This of course means wearing a waistcoat, perhaps the sharpest way to instantly take your suit from prom relic to boardroom ready.

Waistcoats have been around since the birth of modern menswear, and today are about as classic as it gets. Wearing one is far from a walk in the park though, and there are plenty of pitfalls when it comes to fit, style and what to wear them with.

So, whether you want to impress at your next job interview or fancy adding this overlooked piece of tailoring as part of your permanent line-up, we’ve rounded up the best waistcoat brands and will explain just what it takes to pull off this divisive garment.

How To Wear A Waistcoat

Despite being a timeless piece of menswear, the waistcoat comes fraught with dangers. Take the last decade as a cautionary tale: every manufactured boyband worth their salt was sporting some kind of waistcoat, accompanied by a ludicrously low-cut T-shirt and ill-advised beads in most cases.

Style crimes aren’t all you need to look out for though, technicality is important here too. Find a design too tight and you’ll look like an overstuffed sausage, go too loose and you’re the barely visible page boy buried in panic-bought polyester.

Your waistcoat’s fit should enable you to put a hand snugly beneath the closure without any strain on the buttons. Oh, and speaking of buttons, always leave your bottom button undone, those are just the rules.

The smartest way to wear a waistcoat is as nature intended – wear as part of a three piece suit. For a formal look the waistcoat should appear as an extension of your suit, so a design in the exact same colour and fabric as your blazer and trousers is preferable. That’s not to say that you can’t add a lone waistcoat to your existing tailoring line-up however.

It can work if you opt for one that’s an almost identical colour and texture to an existing suit, which’ll keep things feeling harmonious.

A navy, pale grey or charcoal suit worn with a corresponding colour waistcoat, white shirt, tonal tie and black dress shoes may not be groundbreaking, but it’s foolproof.

Taking the waistcoat off piste and informal is a little trickier, but it can be done. Wearing it with a T-shirt is a seriously bad idea; try instead opting for a shirt worn without a tie. In the spirit of David Gandy, a grey or camel herringbone design will make a handsome companion for a blue chambray shirt worn unbuttoned at the collar. Stick on some black slim jeans and some black penny loafers and you’ve just done what the haters said wasn’t possible: successfully worn the waistcoat without a suit.

How To Wear A Waistcoat

Where To Buy A Waistcoat

Marks & Spencer

Like Southgate himself, Marks & Spencer is humble, unshowy and doesn’t do too much fanfare. As such, we’d forgive you if you missed that fact that this stalwart of the British high street has upped its tailoring game considerably in recent years.

Here you’ll find reasonably priced waistcoats in practically every shade of navy and grey you could think of, which is the ideal if you’re looking to colour match to a suit already hanging in your wardrobe.

BUY NOW: £19.50

M&S COLLECTION Regular Fit Waistcoat

Topman

Those hoping to rock a waistcoat without looking like an extra from Peaky Blinders could do worse than head to Topman which goes modern on fit, fabric and design.

With most examples on offer sitting comfortably under £50 and with a few style curveballs (horseshoe and shawl collars) thrown in for good measure, there’s plenty to love about Topman’s take on this icon of tailoring.

BUY NOW: £20.18

Blue Tonal Check Suit Waistcoat

John Lewis

Thanks to an unwavering commitment to quality at a fair price, John Lewis has become one of Britain’s best-loved brands.

But, if you thought that this mid-market heavy hitter was average on the menswear front, then take a look at its waistcoat offering which is chock full of Italian fabrics and attractive designs. It’s fine tailoring, but it’s extremely democratic.

BUY NOW: £59.00

John Lewis Henry Linen Cotton Waistcoat, Sand

Charles Tyrwhitt

It’s near impossible to both remember the correct pronunciation of Charles Tyrwhitt and to not think of the brand on mention of the word ‘waistcoat’. With just a fleeting glance at its comprehensive range you’ll see why it’s synonymous with the latter.

While every waistcoat may be woven from wool, there are lots of design variation to get stuck into with enough different linings, finishes, colours and collar styles to ensure you’re spoilt for choice.

BUY NOW: £70.00

Charcoal adjustable fit birdseye travel suit waistcoat

Reiss

Tailoring at high-end high street retailer Reiss bridges the gap between shiny flammable polyester horrors and bank account battering Savile Row numbers – its waistcoats unsurprisingly follow suit. In a largely conservative colour palette, to the untrained eye the brand’s offering of waistcoats may look reasonably straightforward, but slim-fits, double jetted welt pockets and interesting weaves bring the old classic bang up to date.

BUY NOW: £115.00

BELIEF W MODERN FIT TRAVEL SUIT WAISTCOAT NAVY

Hawes & Curtis

Hawes & Curtis is a big name in men’s formal tailoring, and if the sheer volume of waistcoat design options from the brand is anything to go by, it’s a reputation that’s very much deserved. Styles here come patterned, plain, in a healthy range of colours and for the maximalist, there’s a smattering of designs which feature a contrast colours to the reverse. If you can’t find a waistcoat to suit your needs at Hawes & Curtis, you’re frankly being way too picky.

BUY NOW: £40.00

Men's Navy Prince of Wales Check Slim Fit Waistcoat

TM Lewin

Since its foundation over 100 years ago, TM Lewin has grown to become a familiar fixture on high streets and at train stations, which means that levelling up your waistcoat game could scarcely be easier.

Expect to find designs crafted from pure Italian wool, a variety of button designs and options and styles of fit designed to suit every man’s taste.

BUY NOW: £70.00

Clapton Skinny Fit Textured Navy Waistcoat

Suit Supply

Launched in the year 2000, Suit Supply may be much younger than its storied competitors in men’s tailoring, but the Dutch brand got up to speed with the competition impressively quickly.

Alongside cotton and wool designs, the label is particularly skilled at producing linen waistcoats, which are just the thing for staying sharp and sweat-free if you’re at a summer wedding.

BUY NOW: £89.00

GREY WAISTCOAT

Gieves & Hawkes

With its flagship location sitting pretty at number 1 Savile Row, it’s no big shocker that British institution Gieves & Hawkes has got its finger on the pulse of the world of tailoring. The brand’s waistcoats distil all of that tailoring knowledge into designs which err on the traditional side, prizing quality fabric, exacting craftsmanship and timeless style above all else.

If you’re in the market for a luxury investment piece but don’t want to make your bank manager weep, make Gieves & Hawkes your final destination.

BUY NOW: £205.00

GIEVES & HAWKES Single-breasted wool waistcoat

Chester Barrie

Regularly worn by one of Britain’s best suit wearers (Mr Gandy, FYI), Chester Barrie is a tailoring brand which goes a long way to dispel the myth that Savile Row is for wadded geriatrics only: at any given London movie premiere, a piece of the brand’s tailoring is near guaranteed to be pacing the red carpet.

Waistcoats from this purveyor of fine tailoring do that rare thing of fusing timeless style, obvious quality and a surprisingly reasonable price tag: consider us card carrying members of club Chester.

MOUSTACHE’S

An unlikely bit-player in one of summer’s cinematic dramas has been the humble moustache. Or, to be more precise, the face-furniture attached to actor Henry Cavill. This became an issue because extensive reshoots for Justice League overlapped with the filming of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, for which Cavill had been required to grow a moustache (which he was then contractually prohibited from shaving). The realities of stunt-work meant that Cavill couldn’t wear a falsie for M:I, so Warner Bros took the hit and removed the offending ‘tache from his reshoot scenes using CGI (the results of this have not entirely impressed fans).

But with such a high profile role celebrating the elaborate nose-warmer, are we due to see a renaissance in top-lip grooming this season? With the hipster beard possibly reaching the end of its lifecycle, this could be the next follicular frontier.

But if we’re going to reclaim the muzzy from 1980s footballers, Latin American dictators and retired Northern Irish paramilitaries, which moustache style should you be going for? Well, in descending order…

The Chevron

The closest to a naturally grown-out shape, the Chevron is a deceptively tricky style to pull off unless your name is Tom Selleck or Ron Swanson. It can balance out big facial features and conveys a certain old-school, ‘eighties dad’, anti-fashion power but you need a decent thickness of hair and growth to avoid looking like a schoolboy who’s trying to buy a pint.

It works best as part of a generally macho look, so try and put some gym-bulk on before growing this, and perhaps pair it with a heavy, unreconstructed scent for maximum alpha-maleimpact.

Key Styles

The Chevron Moustache Style

The Beardstache

The least showy, but the most easily executed of these styles – a classic workmanlike moustache, paired with a lightly developing beard. A look that suggests you did have a well kept Chevron, but a week or so of fighting crime, defending your property and generally being rugged has let it slip a little. Less eye-catching than a clean-shaven face as there’s a reduced contrast in the skin-and-hair tones, but you do need a decently even stubble growth to make this work.

This moustache style suits dark colouring better as lighter hair can make you look a just scruffy rather than ‘relaxed.’ This is Henry Cavill’s moustache in Mission: Impossible so expect to see it appearing on your high street imminently (albeit on men who don’t look quite as heroic as Cavill).

Key Styles

The Beardstache Style

The Pencil

The pencil was originally conceived as an elegant, minimalist reaction to the overbearing facial hair of the Victorians. Popularised by Hollywood idols, it only later became shorthand for the more furtive gentleman – and to this day, it does conjure up images of chaps conning lonely widows out of their savings or selling hooky nylons to London’s women during World War II.

This isn’t to say it can’t be revived in a modern context though (take a bow, Jamie Foxx), but be warned that it will require almost daily shaving to maintain its clean lines.

If you’ve got small features, it can work well. However, if paired with a scruffier look or long hair, there’s a real risk of getting into ‘amateur sorcerer’ territory (Jack White is a prime offender).

Key Styles

The Pencil Moustache Style

The Horseshoe

An extremely strong personal statement. Associated with Hulk Hogan, Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, 80s leather ‘clones’ like the guy from the Village People, and amphetamine-addled bass-wielding metal god Lemmy from Motorhead, this is an absolutely no-half-measures moustache style.

Not advised for anyone with a long narrow face as it will give you a certain equine aspect, and it needs to be considered as part of a complete outfit: it will go perfectly with head-to-toe biker leathers or broken-in double denim. Not such a good fit with something you picked up in TK Maxx to wear to the football.

Key Styles

The Horseshoe Moustache Style

The Handlebar

A tricky case to call: on its own merits, a fine moustache style that demonstrates real commitment to growth, grooming and upkeep.

But it has unquestionably suffered from association with retro-bores who have tainted it with the whiff of ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’ posters, ear-bleeding, irony-laden electro-swing music and Blitz-revival club nights.

It’s adaptable to most face shapes, so if you are going to try out the Handlebar, either contrast it with a simple workwear-inspired outfit, or go for something smart, preppy and Ivy League (or, like it’s most famous exponent, Rollie Fingers, a baseball kit). In short, if your moustache is shouting for attention, then your outfit shouldn’t be.

Key Styles

The Handlebar Moustache Style

The Walrus

The absolute big daddy of facefuzz, best exemplified by actor Sam Elliott. A shaggy, grown out, big-beast, perfect for the larger gentleman, anyone with a huge nose or a wide face.

It can make you look prematurely old, so think carefully about committing to this style. Be prepared for some gentle ribbing from your less fashion-forward peers, along the lines of ‘Careful you don’t get harpooned you big fat bastard’.

Also, check that your significant other isn’t going to dump you rather than be seen with someone who looks like they spend a lot of their free time playing Magic: The Gathering and watching The Discovery Channel.

Key Styles

The Walrus Moustache Style

The Anchor Beard

Perhaps the worst facial hair style ever devised – and one that even the patron saint of male grooming, David Beckham, has fallen victim to – a combination of a pointed beard that traces the jawline and peaks in a sort of below-lip soul-patch, sitting below a disembodied moustache.

A statement which hints at long hours arguing on Youtube comment threads about Pick-Up Artistry, in-depth re-watchings of The Matrix, and ownership of at least one sword (or ‘mastery of the blade’ as this kind of helmet would doubtless term it).

Key Styles

The Anchor Beard