Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Little Men's Style, Anyone?

Selecting Your Waistcoat Fabric

Okay. We'll get the technicalities out of the way ... you can call it a vest (most do), but it's not a vest, it's a waistcoat ... and it's not pronounced ˈwās(t)ˌkōt, it's pronounced ˈweskət. So, just so we're clear, if you insist on using the term vest (which is perfectly acceptable), whenever you see the word 'waistcoat,' think 'vest.' And we'll be on the same page!

In the 1850's, American men started wearing "ditto suits" or suits sewn with the exact same fabric for the suit jacket, the waistcoat, and the trousers.

This practice of choosing a waistcoat fabric that exactly matched the suit coat and trousers saved time and simplified the tailoring process.

As a result of the perceived ease in ordering a ditto suit (as waistcoats with suits were prominent in the 1800's and selecting a waistcoat fabric could be a thought intensive process), the ditto became a less formal choice, and was general worn for business, travel or street wear.

Examples of "ditto suits," using the same fabric for the jacket, waistcoat and trousers.

Before the ditto suit, most waistcoats did not match the suit jacket and trousers at all.

Compare the practice of using the same for the entire suit, as shown above, with the practice of choosing a fabric for the waistcoat that contrasts the suit fabric...

 While the general rule for selecting a contrasting waistcoat is to choose a fabric with obvious color and design variation, your eye will be the ultimate decision-maker on what looks good and what does not.

One of the benefits to contrasting the waistcoat with the base suit fabric is that the same waistcoat can be used with multiple suits, yielding more suit ensembles ... a plus when overall cost and closet space are important factors in building your wardrobe!

Now, wasn't that a fun break from vintage and antique women's clothing?!

...so go make something beautiful!

¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan
Much of the source material for this article was found in Marybelle I. Bigelow's Fashion in History: Western Dress, Prehistoric to Present. Minneapolis, MN: Burgess Publishing 1970



Susan said...

I prefer the contrasting or coordinating VEST to that of the same fabric.

While I am here, I do not think you are following me on FB, but I follow you :)

be well,

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

TRISTAN! Well, I've never heard how this was pronounced and thank you for providing that info! And this was delightful because yes, all we see out here are posts about women's fashion. This was fun, especially that last photo with the fairies. Is that you or a loved one on the bench? GOOD TO SEE YA! Anita

Anonymous said...

interesting info... no mention of whether ditto or contrast is suggested for people who are more...um...thick waisted than these models.

Mrs. K

Teresa said...

I like the contrasting best. But was thinking these suits must have been very hot.

Scott Crawford said...


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

TRISTAN! HELLO! I am very happy to see your FB timeline announcement and your comment this morning! It has really been a fun 4th annual Irresistible Link Party! My first two were focused on Paris, the third on France and this year, all of Europe. Many hugs and thanks for visiting! Be well, and I hope you are making something beautiful day! XOXOXO Anita