Overlooking Your Waistcoat? Think Again


Did you know, during the last World Cup, British retail gaints Marks & Spencer reported that sales of waistcoats had increased by 35 per cent thanks to the so called “Gareth Southgate effect”. It’s an extraordinary statistic in an age of high street profits that suggests everyone really, really likes the England manager’s new style.

Want to follow suit? Here’s our guide to help you get the Southgate look, plus the dos and don’ts of wearing a waistcoat yourself;


  1. Wear it as part of a three-piece suit

The primary function of a waistcoat is to provide both a sense of depth and formality to an outfit. The best way to wear a waistcoat, therefore, is beneath the jacket of a suit. Look to Nigerian tailoring house Mai Atafo and one of its beautifully cut three piece suits for inspiration.

2. Wear your waistcoat with a proper shirt

Because wearing a waistcoat with a T-shirt is makes you look as tacky as wearing flip flops with a suit; well unless you are Mr West.

3. Wear a double-breasted waistcoat

I personally think it looks great;I would recommend you shuffle between a double-breasted waistcoat. A double-breasted waistcoat will create an interesting interplay in the space between a shirt and a single-breasted jacket. A great option for more formal occasions.

4. Opt for a knitted waistcoat

Somewhere between a waistcoat and a gilet; a knitted button up waistcoat will add some textural interest to a more casual outfit. In addition to that, it’s a great option if you want to look smart (but not too smart). Wear with some smart pleated trousers in a tonal shade, a blazer that matches your trousers and a granddad shirt in a light hue and you are good to go.


1. Dont do the bottom button (especially of a single breasted waistcoat)

Most people (including Southgate) are in the habit of doing up the bottom button of the waistcoat, which is a massive no no. Always, always leave the bottom button undone; emphasis on ALWAYS

2. Dont opt for something too loose or too tight

The other, more practical function of a waistcoat is that it will slim down the wearer’s silhouette – a bit like Spanx in suiting fabric. The key to making the best of this, however, is to ensure that your waistcoat is neither too tight, nor too loose. If it’s the former it’ll cling to your body thus making you uncomfortable, but if it’s the latter it’ll look make you look baggy and boxy.

Now that you have been equipped, go forth and shine.






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