Wear it 5 Ways…The Pinstripe Waistcoat

pinstripe wasitcoat

Today’s 5 ways was a bit of an experiment for myself. I was running late to a doctors appointment on Wednesday and was digging through my closet trying to find something to wear. So I  found and dusted off my old pinstripe vest from the back of my closet and I threw it on.

Now, I know waistcoats and vests seem to have gone out with the fedora, but I liked it. They are so dated it was almost impossible to find a decent one for sale on Polyvore. They reek of early millennium and Disney Channel child stars (it has also become synonymous with steampunk). I know this. But for some reason I was digging the relaxed yet “I tried” look the vest gave a otherwise really boring and frumpy outfit….and I was running late…and it worked. I was kind of glad I hadn’t chucked the vest years ago and still was hanging onto it like a desperate hoarder.

A waistcoat, buttoned or unbuttoned, tends to have a aura of “punk rocker chick” to it that can also feel grown up. Depending on how you pair it, it was feel professorial or boyish, but flirty or grungy.

If you pair it with a fresh white button up, you tend to get the “naughty librarian” look. You could pull this off at work easily.



Layer it unbuttoned over an old band tee or graphic tee and you get a really cool, relaxed and grunge look that could be taken day to night. Literally, no effort with great payoff.



POPSugar seems to have featured a waistcoat centric outfit recently as well. Maybe waistcoats are on the up and up! But look at this updated rendition of a classic – the suit dress? It’s actually quite stunning but probably will take a lot of bravery to pull off outside of the bathroom mirror.



Personally, I love outfits that give the assumption that you have stolen your super well-dressed boyfriend’s vest for the day. Take an over-sized waistcoat and throw it over a boring top and it looks like a sexier version of the “morning after” over-sized white tee and boyfriend jeans.



How about layering a vest top over a tank top? This is a very casual and relaxed vibe.



Now, since the early 2000’s and the fall of the waistcoat, vests have seem to adopted newer and better trends. Fur vests were starting to appear again a few years ago – and are coming back in full force this winter season. Then denim vests. Leather vests still exist for the daring. Puffy down gillets are going strong (can’t see a pair of brown riding boots without the puffy vest it seems). The trends now seem to be leaning towards long, mid-thigh length vests. They’re like duster-vests.



Even with the retro hate, I think waistcoats or vest tops are a good staple to have in your wardrobe as an option. They can cinch in a waist without needing a belt. They also are great for accentuating a bust or cleavage – whether you are small chested or have a very large bust, the tailored neckline and perfectly placed buttons tend to make any bust look amazing. If you get an actual mens waistcoat to wear they usually will have the belt and buckle on the back making them adjustable. The only thing to avoid, I think, is making it look too matchy-matchy and 2-dimensional with a very structured look. Tousle some hair, leave the shirt untucked, forget the top button… mix it up. You’ll look like you rolled out of bed that way.


xoxo Miss C



Wear it buttoned up or open, a waistcoat can be dressed up or down for any occasion. Shown here with Wardrobe Essentials.

A waistcoat looks sharp and professional over a structured white oxford shirt – but can be modernized with a snazzy leather pant or a high-fashion event. (Pro trick: the sharper the collar on the oxford, the more “professorial” you’ll be)

Wear it open over a long sleeve neutral top with comfy jeans to make it a stylish day wear for anything from running errands to grabbing a coffee with friends.

If you have arms to be proud of, wear it with a light colored tank top (perhaps a sequin one, from last weeks 5 ways…?) to look fun and flirty for a night out, or even a day out at the festivals. Pair it with a fringe hobo bag for a real bohemian feel.

The art of pairing a waistcoat with a skirt it to match the skirt with the color of the pinstripes. Go to full – the fuller the better – or use luxurious fabrics like chiffon, silk or cashmere to feel girly and sleek at the same time. The key to pulling off a waistcoat and skirt is confidence (and maybe a strappy heel).

And, the go-to rocker girl staple: pair it with a graphic tee. Wear long jeans or shorts, a graphic tee shown off under a vest is a killer and immortal combination for any “casual chic” chick.

xoxo Miss C


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