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Types of Waistcoats

Updated April 17, 2017

A waistcoat, called a vest in Canada and the U.S.A., is a sleeveless garment, which buttons up the front. It completes a three-piece suit, traditionally worn over braces to hold the trousers up rather than a belt. Less formal waistcoats are available and the waistcoat has become a staple of men's wardrobes -- and some women's too -- transcending fashions to look good over jeans and a T-shirt.

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Double-Breasted Waistcoats

These waistcoats provide a formal look with the right hand side of the waistcoat reaching farther over the left, necessitating two rows of four to six buttons. They can have a collar or a simple v shaped neck and anything from one to four pockets.

Single Breasted Waistcoats

Single-breasted waistcoats have one row of four to six buttons and, like the double-breasted waistcoats, can have a collar or just a simple v shaped neck, and have anything from one to four pockets. They are the basis for many a contemporary waistcoat.

Short Waistcoat

Contradicting the traditional waistcoat dictate that a waistcoat reaches below the trouser waist, this single-breasted waistcoat is short, exposing the belt of the trousers along with some of the shirt underneath. It is a young, casual look.

Elegant Waistcoat

A dressy waistcoat with five buttons, yet still single-breasted, this is a traditional waistcoat to wear over trousers in the same material, providing a complete summer look without the suit jacket.

Athletic Cut Waistcoat

Cut with raised armholes and an athletic cut, the design of this single-breasted waistcoat will show off the torso. A fitted single-breasted waistcoat; it has four buttons and ends just below the waist of trousers.

Backless Waistcoat

This double-breasted waistcoat is based on 1920s fashion, and has adjustable attachments around the neck and waist. The front is low, necessitating only three buttons at the bottom and it has two pockets on either side of the buttons.

Differing Style of Gorges

Traditionally, waistcoats have a high gorge (the upside down v shape at the bottom when both sides are buttoned) but more contemporary designers are playing about with this gorge. Single-breasted waistcoats now can have a low gorge, which means the v-shape is shallow, or a high gorge, which has a deeper v shape.

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About the Author

Karen Lovell started writing professionally in 2009. She specializes in diet, nutrition and exercise along with the information technology, hospitality and catering industries. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Lovell holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and English from Greenwich University.

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