Sleeveless waistcoats are making a comeback, offering a stylish and put-together look

Gareth Southgate is admired for his fashion sense, not only in this publication but also within the fashion community.

In addition to his contributions to football and promoting positive masculinity, Gareth Southgate has revived the waistcoat trend in fashion. The waistcoat even takes center stage in James Graham’s play, Dear England.

During the span of forty years, starting from Diane Keaton’s iconic waistcoat in Annie Hall to the euphoric era when Southgate had our hopes high, the waistcoat suffered neglect on the sidelines. Waistcoats became synonymous with snooker tournaments and hotel concierge desks. They were reserved for best men, magicians, and ticket inspectors.

Waistcoats never faced complete expulsion from our wardrobes, yet they were far from being in the center of attention. Traditionally associated with formality, waistcoats always carried a hint of lightheartedness that made it difficult to fully embrace their seriousness.

For a period of time, waistcoats were somewhat of a comical fashion element, but now they have gained significant coolness. A notable turning point was when Bella Hadid confidently sported a waistcoat with ultra low-rise trousers on Stella McCartney’s Paris catwalk show last October.

While the trousers grabbed the fashion headlines, it was the waistcoat that women embraced as a fashionable look. Furthermore, Jodie Comer has established waistcoats as her signature red-carpet style.

The waistcoat offers not just one, but two distinct new looks. It can be worn as a standalone piece, with either nothing or just a bra underneath, creating a daring and confident style.

Alternatively, it can be layered over a shirt and matching trousers, introducing a fresh twist to the ensemble. When worn as a separate top, it serves as this summer’s natural successor to the trend of wearing a white vest, which was a significant fashion statement last year.

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Boasting a minimalistic design and a scoop-neck shape, the waistcoat shares a similar silhouette with a timeless vest. However, it proves to be even more effortless to wear.

The white vest, on the other hand, is one of those clothing pieces that can easily miss the mark of achieving an elegantly understated look and instead appear dull—unless you meticulously ensure that the rest of your ensemble is flawlessly polished, with perfectly blow-dried hair, immaculate makeup, and captivating accessories.

At times, it feels much simpler to opt for a smart top and be done with it rather than going through the meticulous styling process.

When a waistcoat is worn as a standalone piece, buttoned up and serving as a sleeveless top, it exudes a slightly unconventional aesthetic that catches people’s attention.

This means that you will be recognized as someone who has put in the effort to create a distinctive look. (If you have any doubts about the appeal of a waistcoat worn with nothing underneath.

Moreover, and I must say I enjoy a good two-in-one deal, a waistcoat can also serve as a substitute for a jacket when paired with a shirt and trousers. This comes in handy when the weather doesn’t require a structured outer layer, but your overall look could benefit from it.

I’ve personally experienced that a shirt and trousers ensemble is one of those outfits that can feel sophisticated and stylish in my mind, but sometimes falls slightly short of that mark when I gaze into the mirror.

Unless you have broad shoulders and long legs (which, like me, I don’t possess), wearing a shirt and trousers combination can sometimes appear shapeless and unkempt when your intention was to achieve a dynamic and polished look.

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However, by adding a waistcoat over the ensemble, you introduce visual structure without sacrificing style or comfort. The best part is, you don’t even need to button up the waistcoat to achieve this effect.

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