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The wonderful, oh-so wearable waistcoat

— by Alyson Walsh

Photos: Sarah Brick

 

For some time now, I have been admiring modern day, waistcoat-wearers from the sidelines. Including our brilliant, history-making Lionesses in their official tailoring by M&S. This summer, encouraged by tons of enthusiastic comments from TNMA followers (thank you, thank you), I have moved on from a knitted jersey tank, to a tailored garment. Upgraded my sleeveless wardrobe and unleashed the arms, again.

Fans of Gentlewoman Style, whose heroines include: Katharine Hepburn, Diane Keaton, Patti Smith, and Janelle Monae, will be familiar with the wonderful, timeless waistcoat. American readers know this garment as the versatile vest. Back in the post-punk years, my younger brother bought a second-hand men’s three-piece suit, he wore it with messy hair and bovver boots, and I would borrow the waistcoat to pull on over one of my dad’s old white shirts, and DIY drainpipe jeans. Today, I’m enjoying the more elegant pairing of wide leg trousers and brogues.

Like the tank top, a tailored waistcoat is a great layering piece. I always admire the styling at Alex Mill, where a neat waistcoat is often teamed with a full midi skirt. Check out the American brand’s lovely corduroy vests for fall (the corduroy trousers are available on Net-a-Porter, so hopefully the waistcoats will follow). Right now, I’m looking forward to cooler days and dressing down in jeans and a white T-shirt.

 

 

The Lauren Waistcoat and wide leg trousers I’m wearing are on loan from Winser London. But having had the opportunity to ‘try before I buy’, I’m convinced that a waistcoat would become a reliable wardrobe staple. If you’re following Second-Hand September, there’s plenty of information HERE. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for another vintage men’s version. Skilled dressmakers might like the Miller pattern from Merchant & Mills and there’s a selection of versatile vests, below:

 

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STYLE NOTES

Lauren waistcoat and wide leg trousers on loan from Winser London. My own jewellery and sample sale Grenson brogues (this style is still available HERE)

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  For some time now, I have been admiring modern day, waistcoat-wearers from the sidelines. Including our brilliant, history-making Lionesses in their official tailoring by M&S.