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Double-breasted waistcoats


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#1 Floatinjoe

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 03:09 AM

As I mentioned in another thread, I am in the process of getting bespoke Morning Dress. With this ensemble, I am looking to incorporate a double-breasted waistcoat. The waistcoat will have the buttons arranged in a V shape, and I have not decided whether or not to have lapels.

From my research of the waistline options, I have slowly eliminated different types. Originally, I was going to go with a straight horizontal waist, but I like the idea of having some shape along the bottom edge. The three remaining options Ive found are for a rounded waistline, 2-pointed, or a single-pointed one. These create a nice image elongating the body, much like a Basque waistline on a womans dress.

Of the three options, I am leaning towards the single point. I believe it looks the most elegant and formal of the three.

Several questions.

With this cut, just how pronounced should the waistline be? Should the sides be at the natural waist and the point be several inches below the navel?

How many buttons do you think I should use? The pictures Ive found range anywhere from 2 rows to 6 rows.

How deep should I have for an opening in the vest?

If I do use lapels, what type should I use?

How far below the link closure on the coat should the vest go/show?

Also, do you think this cut can be used with pleated trousers, or does the cut demand flat fronts?


I realize that these questions are all a matter of personal preference, but Id like to hear what you have to say.

Thanks,
Mike

#2 Bird's One View

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 03:18 AM

I think a DB vest looks much better with lapels. (Either peak or shawl-style lapels are fine.)

I would get six buttons (three rows) but if you are tall you might prefer more.

#3 Sator

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 07:10 AM

It's all a matter of personal preference. None of these are any more proper or formal than the other - SB, BD, shawl, pointed lapels, single point, double points etc. Whatever peaks your fancy is what you should get. I like DB W-Cs both with and without lapels, with pointed and with shawl collars. I also like SB W-Cs with double points that just peak out underneath the cutaway fronts:

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You have to coordinate the cutting of the coat and W-C carefully to achieve that.

#4 Charles R Bingley

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 08:55 AM

Here is my vintage DB waistcoat with a single point for reference:

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This shows the hemline:

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You might want to get a white slip installed as well whilst you're at it.
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#5 JMB

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 05:38 AM

Floatinjoe:

From the bottom up...if your trousers have a high-rise with double forward-firing pleats, on-seam side pockets and a fishtail back, chances are they will be held up by braces rather than self-fabric side adjusters with buckles. They are to be worn on your natural waist, not your hips. Next comes the waistcoat, which should be double-breasted with six-buttons, three per side, angled outward. The lapels of the waistcoat should be generous, neither too narrow nor cut with too much belly, and they should be peaked and have a fairly high gorge. Oddly enough, with your coat buttoned no one will see the peaks. Two lower pockets should suffice on the waistcoat and you might consider making them ever so slightly barchetta, or little boat-shaped. The reason for the slight curve is to complement the waist suppression of the waistcoat when the backstrap and buckle are tightened. To keep the bottom of the waistcoat from riding up above your trousers, have your tailor add two elastic holddowns so you can button the vest in place on either side of your fly. Said buttons should be placed between your brace buttons inside the waistband. Next comes your coat, which should have a single button closure and peak lapels with a high-gorge, a nipped-in waist, and narrow sleeves. Add some elegant accessories, not least a tasteful silk pocket square stuffed in your barchetta-shaped breast pocket and a seasonal flower or sprig of flora stuck in your left buttonhole. Grab your topper and buttery suede gloves and you're good to go, 'Squire.

JMB
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#6 Floatinjoe

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 01:43 AM

Charles, that vest pretty much looks exactly the way I'd like mine to look.

JMB, after much thought, I have decided to go with flat front trousers. I think it will look cleaner and crisper.


A couple more questions. I am thinking of doing the vest in a buff linen, and I was wondering what people thought of the buff linen vest compared to the typical dove grey wool ones. Any thoughts?

Material: My tailor didn't really have anything in his linen swatch book that I felt fit the bill. Does anyone know of a good linen for this purpose?

Buttons: Has anyone ever seen a vest like this where all six buttons are working buttons (on the right side and button through the left)? Also, is this something where I'd want to use vest studs, or are buttons the way to go? What type of buttons should I use?

As always, thanks for the information so far, and for any more thoughts to come.

Mike

#7 Charles R Bingley

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 08:18 PM

Colour: Buff linen is as good as grey wool. It is more festive I give you that, and more summery. It is up to you really.

Buttons: I suppose you could have all six buttons working (I have never seen one in real life). Buttons would be MOP or maybe shanked MOP like the studs of a DB white tie waistcoat.
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#8 Floatinjoe

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 05:02 AM

In doing more research on the topic, I found references to "fawn linen". Is this the same as "buff linen"? Could someone post some information on these two items and maybe pictures of both?

Also, I read that gloves should match the waistcoat color. Any thoughts? What about spats, should they match too?

Mike

#9 Floatinjoe

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 04:21 AM

I am having a most difficult time locating a buff linen for this waistcoat. Does anyone know of a good source for this? If I can't find any, what do you think of a buff wool waistcoat? I really like the idea of a buff waistcoat.

Any and all help is appreciated. Swatch numbers would be great.

Mike

#10 Sator

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 11:48 AM

Try J&J Minnis:

http://www.hfwltd.co...p?b=jgh&c=5&p=1

You should try the sand or camel colour.

Alternatively, I would suggest the following design from the Dugdale New Fine Worsted book:

Posted Image

#11 Floatinjoe

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 10:57 PM

Sator,

Thank you for the recommendations. I really like the color of the Worsted you posted. The sand and the camel both seem to be muted and a bit dull (the sand seems to be leaning towards a grey). Do you know if there is any reason why it is so difficult to find buff linens? I really like the color of the waistcoat that Pakeman Catto and Carter offers: http://www.pakeman.c...l.php?prod=6422 Do you know a source for material such as this? I'd consider buying it from them, but I am looking at a slightly different design.

Also, would it be considered proper to wear a waistcoat in the above colors? Everything I've read has had wool waistcoats in some shade of grey.

Thank you again,
Mike

#12 Sator

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 11:04 PM

The faded colours on the Minnis website are not true to life. My scan is much higher resolution and I checked it carefully to make sure it looked like the swatch. I suggest ordering a swatch from Minnis before you decide.

Also, I suggest choosing what colour suits you rather than being too chained down to tradition - you risk looking like you are in costume otherwise. Buff-with-black is not a colour combination everyone can wear (unless you have sandy coloured hair). I can't wear it myself. Most people look better with grey-and-black or lavender-and-black.

Likewise, there is no reason that a waistcoat has to be linen. They used to use linen because it ran cooler than 18 Oz worsted for summer wear. However, wool can be woven much lighter today making this redundant. Woollen cloths are easier for a tailor to work with, keep their shape better. Modern summer weaves such as the above example from Dugdale run cooler than linen too.

#13 Floatinjoe

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 03:50 AM

Sator, thank you for the advice on the color of the waistcoat. I have decided to have the coat and trousers made and have the waistcoat made afterwards once I can settle on an acceptable color that looks good.

In regards to the lavender you mentioned, I have only heard of the waistcoats being done in buff and grey, sometimes a patterened silk. Have you seen lavender ones often? What other colors have you had the opportunity to see? I am curious about this. As I've said, I am doing this for a morning coat and was actually shocked when I saw your post.

Mike

#14 Sator

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 08:17 AM

Lavender is quite traditional, as is white or cream for daywear. In fact, even more extravagant fancier waistcoats were worn in Victorian times. Lavender is nothing by comparison:

http://www.cutterand...p?showtopic=170

The waistcoat is traditionally worn like the modern tie - the point where you are allowed to freely exercise your imagination in both cut and cloth design. However, if you do this you have to wear a plain tie to avoid clashes.

Fancy waistcoats were last in fashion in the 1920s or so. They seem to be enjoying a bit of a Renaissance of late.

#15 Floatinjoe

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 02:37 AM

That is some great information. Now I am fully intrigued. I'd love to do a fancy waistcoat for the wedding. I'll have to see what I come up with. Would they typically be silk or some other material?

Do you know where I could locate pictures or drawings of them in use with morning coats? I'd just like to see what it looked like. I imagine there wouldn't be many color photos.

#16 Sator

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 07:47 PM

Fancy means fancy in cloth and cut. All DB waistcoats are by modern standards fancy waistcoats. Anything other than a plain SB W-C is fancy.

This is a fancy waistcoat:

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It appears to be cut as a lapelless DB W-C. Note the small pattern in the presumably silk waistcoat. The trouble starts when you try to find cloth suitable for the purpose. You need to look at cloths intended for ladies' wear heavy enough to make up as a tailored garment.

Here are some more designs:

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A fancy waistcoat made by Edwin DeBoise (Steed) for Voxsartoria:

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Note that it has pleated pockets:

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...as well as a hidden hole for the watch chain:

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These examples look good because they have been done well. If you get the execution just a little bit wrong, these can end up looking totally baroque and tasteless. They take a bit of time to cut because cutters rarely draft things like this these days. You can expect to be charged accordingly.

#17 Sator

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 01:09 AM

On the subject of fancy waistcoats, for anyone out there really desperate to look like they are in period costume (:He He:) then here is a suggestion from the magazine "Fashion", considered the last word in English good taste in its time:

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The term "buff" comes from buffalo, as they used to make waistcoats out of buffalo skin in a tan coloured leather. I am sure you could substitute crocodile for buffalo.

Here is an American example of a leopard skin waistcoat (worn with a frock coat!) for the ultimate statement:

Posted Image

#18 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 05:40 AM

My favourite waistcoat has always been the cold weather morning exercise extraordinaire! The humble Sealskin waistcoat :B)
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