Suiting Up – The Vest

Untitled Continuing my series on educating, I’m going to talk about the vest.  Thanks to hipsters and Indie bands, the vest has risen in popularity as of late and guys tend to prefer wearing it instead of the suit jacket or blazer.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with vests, but you should learn how to wear it correctly in order to fully pull it off.

The Two Types of Vests 

Just like there is a difference between a suit jacket and a sport coat, there are differences in terms of vests.  I’m going to put them into layman terms, so I’m not going to get super technical about the use of the vests.

Firstly, we have the vest designed for a three piece (suit vest).  Just like a suit, the vest is cut from the exact same material and pattern as the rest of the suit.

UntitledSee, it goes seamlessly with the rest of the suit.

Next, we have the odd vest (on the left).


Jody is wearing a suit, but his vest doesn’t match the fabric, color, or pattern.  It makes it odd, hence the name odd vest. These are vests made for their own sake (no matching set) or this can be a vest from a suit that is worn with other clothes.  As long as it is its own item in the outfit, it is an odd vest.

How It Should Fit 

Vests were designed to add extra insulation for a suit  during the colder seasons, so at first only heavy suits had vests.  Today, menswear has designed numerous light weight fabrics so the idea of the vest has become one for just looks (just like neckties, lapels, etc).  However, there is still a correct way it should fit.

It Should Fit Pretty Snug!


Loose clothes are disgusting and uncomfortable, in my opinion.  Wearing something that fits well instantly boosts confidence and enjoyment of your clothes!  It is this same mentality that should be applied to your vest. It should fit pretty well and fit you close to your body, since this is item is supposed to be worn under your suit.   You can wear the vest alone, but you need to have the option to wear it under a jacket or suit.  If your jacket can’t handle the vest, you’ve either got jacket too small, or vest is too bulky. Find that middle ground and you’ll have a diverse piece of clothing that can be dressed up or down.  Whether alone or with a suit, having a snug vest will make you look slimmer; isn’t that something you want?

It Needs to Cover Your Belt Line! 


Look, no belt line!

Men can have cool looking belts, but the vest is meant to provide a seamless transition from your pants to your jacket.  This means it has to cover your belt line.  Do not let your shirt or tie poke through the bottom of the vest.  

Another note of history is that a vest was meant to hide suspenders because suspenders were deemed underwear back in the old times.  Suspenders do help pants fit and drape better than a belt, so if you wear suspenders with it, make sure the straps are covered!  If you want to show off your suspenders, just take off the vest!


See, just check out that amazing fit.  Seamless transition from pants to vest.  No shirt or tie poking out!


Just remember these simple rules when wearing your vest:

1.  Make Sure It Fits Snugly

2.  Make Sure it Covers Your Belt Line

3.  Make Sure No Shirt or Tie is Poking Out

If you follow these rules, you’ll bring out the best in your vest!  Just remember the one thing you can’t change about your vest is that it can’t be made longer.  If you  find a vest that covers your belt line but isn’t that snug, you can always bring it to your tailor and he can make it fit better! In fact, do this to all your clothes, because no clothes you buy are going to fit you exactly.

I hope you guys learned something and I hope to see you guys and gals wearing some great fitting vests!

Always a pleasure,

Ethan W.

Photography by Tim M. and Scott E.  


  1. Cruz Dela · July 30, 2015

    Hello Ethan, why do you button your bottom button of the waistcoat? Isn’t it supposed to be un-buttoned?


    • Ethan W. · July 30, 2015

      Hey there! Honestly, I prefer to have the bottom button undone in a vest. However, this practice is relegated to 5-button vests; most vests have odd buttons to ensure the vest doesn’t simply “cut someone in half” in terms of proportions.

      The reason I fastened the button on a 4 button vest is because the gap between buttons was much larger. If i left it undone, the vest would then flare out from the third button which is much too high and would expose the shirt, waistband, and tie.

      To be honest, the vest is a bit short! That’s why it’s good to find a vest that covers your waistband and can afford to let the bottom be undone! I hope this helped!


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