Given its simplicity and practicality, it’s small wonder that the flat cap has almost global appeal. But then, whilePeaky Blindersmay have energised interest in it and its six or eight-panelled cousin the ‘baker boy’ style, the flat cap has been around since the 14th century.
An Act of Parliament in the UK in 1571 made it mandatory to wear a woollen cloth cap on Sundays and public holidays – more as a boost to sheep farming than weekend style. But today, it’s all about aesthetics and what it can add to your look.
There are plenty of pitfalls of course, but these can be easily avoided if you know what you’re doing. The whole ‘faux-gentleman’ thing that embraced the flat cap (as well as thebeardand exaggeratedmoustache) has come and gone, but it is possible to wear one and look both contemporary and cool.
What Is The Flat Cap?
There is, in fact, a genius inherent to this affordable and durable design: less formal than more structuredhats– and so less off-putting for men who can’t, as it were, get their heads around hats – its design is still a deceptively clever one.
Cut deeper at the back, it has more purchase than it looks like it does – useful especially when lifting eyes to the sky while shooting, for example; the brim is short but still enough to shade eyes; and the whole thing is foldable, easily stowed inside a pocket.
These are all notions nicked by spin-offs such as the driving cap, cycling cap and even the baseball cap. Perhaps the most appealing thing about the flat cap right now though is that it’s not abaseball cap. Ever understated, you’d never get a flat cap sporting some brash logo.
How To Wear A Flat Cap
Like its American equivalent, the baseball cap, the flat cap has an everyman quality to it, as fitting atop a pigeon-fancying Yorkshireman as it is an estate-touring toff, whether working the land or owning it. It found a place in skinhead culture, but alsohip-hopand has been favoured by everyone from Del Boy to Samuel L. Jackson.
Likewise, while it’s not a hat for all seasons – linen versions may work for summer, but the flat cap is essentially a cold-weather style – it is a hat for almost all occasions. Unlike the baseball cap, the flat cap is as at home withtailoringas with jeans and T-shirt, flattering most faces into the bargain.
Opting for one in a neutral colour such as navy or dark grey will offer up the most versatility. Introduce one as part of a monochrome look consisting of black tailored trousers, a grey T-shirt and a navybomber jacket, and it’ll serve you well in a casual office environment as well as the weekend.
Wear It With
Best Flat Cap Brands
Lock & Co
Unarguably one of the UK’s most esteemed hatters – its namesake’s story in hat-making can be traced back to the 1750s, and the company is said to have invented the bowler hat – this is the place to go should you ever need a hot weather flat cap. They have styles in cashmere and Escorial wool, but also linen.
Yes, there really is an official ‘Peaky Blinders’ flat cap, not least because the TV show’s creator, Steven Knight, set up a company to make them and other clothing befitting a Brummie hoodlum at the turn of the last century. The English-made tweed style names? Arthur, Thomas and Shelby, of course.
One of the all-time great American hatmakers, it was Bailey – once better known as Bailey of Hollywood – that made hats for all the big stars of the golden era of cinema, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant among them. Grant’s best hat moment?
In None But the Lonely Heart, wearing a flat cap throughout. Bailey’s also makes them in showerproof cotton.
Better known for its bucket hats – LL Cool J might spring to mind – Kangol is the definitive headwear of US hip-hop, despite being a British brand.
It adopted its marsupial logo only in 1983 to deal with American’s persistently and puzzlingly asking for ‘the Kangaroo hat’. Its cloche-like 504 flat cap is a classic.
Gamble & Gunn
Based on Portsea Island near Portsmouth, where a naval cap might be more in order, hatmaker Gamble & Gunn have built a deserved reputation for the bolder choice of materials from which it makes its caps, ochre Donegal tweed, suede and lux merino wool among them.
Established in Scotland in 1748 by one Miller Christy – his company would later win one of the first contracts to supply hats to the newly formed Metropolitan Police, while Queen Victoria’s consort Albert favoured its top hats – Christys’ offers flat caps in trad tweed but also hardwearing melton and moleskin.
It was a Borsalino that Warren Beatty wore in Bonnie and Clyde, Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca and Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones – a tall crowned felt fedora that in time would take the name of its maker.
But who’s to say the Italian hatter can’t turn its hand to caps? Its version, in fact, has an innovative multi
For more than 60 years Canada Goose has been making Arctic-worthy down jackets and other winter woollies worn by explorers and research scientists. The brand is best known for its distinctive red, white and blue circular logo, which is a reverse image of the North Pole, as well as its technical but fashionable coats, which have been worn by supermodels, rappers and tonnes of well-heeled teens. Canada Goose is involved in several environmental and social initiatives but has come under fire in recent years by animal rights groups, especially for its use of coyote fur on hoods. This is a brand for people who really value being warm, but not so much for veggies and vegans.
Unsurprisingly, Shackleton London is inspired by polar explorer extraordinaire, Ernest Shackleton. Launched in 2016, the British brand’s speciality is engineering extreme-weather performance apparel that combines advanced technologies with top quality materials. Its parkas and jackets undergo extensive field-testing and have been proven in Antarctica and the Arctic, having been used by record-breaking polar explorers in recent years. Cool.
The most ‘fashion’ of serious performance wear brands, you can see Moncler’s latest down coats on catwalks. The Italian sportswear co. was founded in the 1950s and is known for its distinctive logo and tricolour details. In 1954, Moncler quilted jackets were chosen to equip the Italian expedition to K2, which culminated with the conquest of the earth’s second-highest summit, and were worn by French skiers during the Grenoble Winter Olympics in 1968. In more recent times they are the choice of many a model and celeb, but the brand’s fashion credentials are backed up by its technical heritage.
Arc’tryx is a Canadian outdoor high-end clothing co with a distinctive logo of a bird fossil. (You know the one.) The brand often divides its products by the activity they’re best suited for, making it easy to buy the right kit to suit your hobbies and it’s stand-out jacket if the Alpha SV. Like many of the other brands on our list Arc’tryx treads that fine and difficult line between being practical and fashionable, making it a great option for outdoorsy and city types.
If you want some great quality and fashionable outerwear, The North Face offers one of the widest and most reasonably priced selections out there. The brand’s technical fabrics really stand up to scrutiny and its coats are reliably warm and dry while comparably-priced offerings from the high street might not be. Plus, they are fashionable and even a status symbol in some parts of the world, such as South Korea (apparently). Whether you’re looking for a great waterproof for less than £100 or a reasonably-priced synthetic down coat, The North Face will come up with the goods.
Not only does it change how other people perceive you, but it can also alter the way you see the world.
This is according to a new study that found people who wear suits tend to focus on the bigger picture rather than on minor details.
Researchers at California State University, Northridge, describe people who put on formal clothing as abstract thinkers.
‘Putting on formal clothes makes us feel powerful, and that changes the basic way we see the world,’ Abraham Rutchick.
While the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs may have made it acceptable to wear jeans at work, the new study argues formal wear is better suited for the office environment.
Thinking abstractly can help in situations such as getting negative feedback on a piece of work, allowing the person to take a step back from the criticism.
Michael Slepian, another of the paper’s authors and a professor at Columbia Business School, said it could also help deal with financial situations by preventing impulse purchases.
The researchers performed a series of experiments in which students had to rate the formality of the clothes they had on.
They then answered a questionnaire designed to understand the way in which they think.
The researchers then asked the casually dressed participants to wear formal clothing, such as a suit, and found those who did began looking at the bigger picture when solving problems.
‘No matter how often you wear formal clothing, if you are wearing formal clothing, then you are likely in a context that’s not the intimate, comfortable, and more socially close setting with no dress code,’ says Slepian.
‘Thus, whether you wear formal clothing every workday, or only every wedding, my prediction is that we would find a similar influence because the clothing still feels formal in both situations.’
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 awaistcoat? 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 predominantlywear waistcoatsover 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.
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 abutton 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.
Although a waistcoat is traditionally worn as part of a three piecesuit, 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 aweddingyou’re going to look over dressed.
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 asports 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.
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 asuit 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.
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 withjeans. When you’re wearing awaistcoat with jeansthink 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.
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 anyflat capswith it. A plain neutral coloured shirt will work perfectly. If you want a pattern, try a thin vertical stripe or small check.
To finish off this classic look, add somebrown leather brogues, and aknitwear 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.
The Limited Edition Tourbo-X is the first ever Tourbillon watch from STORM, a feat of mechanical engineering. This Limited Edition timepiece features the triple axis Tourbillon automatic movement. Each intricate movement is made individually by hand, creating a timepiece more accurate than an ordinary automatic, as the rotating tourbillon cage negates the effect of gravity on the escapement. Sapphire crystal glass front and back ensures the movement is perfectly protected from scratches. The Tourbo-X features a see through case back and contemporary 3D Roman numeral dial with semi transparent back, allowing you to see the movement underneath in more detail.
This Limited Edition piece is available in solid stainless steel with exhibition case back. Water resistant to 50m
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-cutT-shirtand 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 towear a waistcoatis 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 ofDavid 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 pennyloafersand you’ve just done what the haters said wasn’t possible: successfully worn the waistcoat without a suit.
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.
Those hoping to rock a waistcoat without looking like an extra fromPeaky Blinderscould 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.
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.
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.
Tailoring at high-end high street retailer Reiss bridges the gap between shiny flammable polyester horrors and bank account batteringSavile Rownumbers – 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.
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.
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.
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.
Regularly worn by one of Britain’s best suit wearers (Mr Gandy, FYI), Chester Barrie is atailoring brandwhich 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.