I am currently compiling material for my forthcoming post on the ‘Rules of Waistcoats’ which would attempt to explain a few things such as why the bottom button of a SB waistcoat should remain unbuttoned, etc. I have recently come across this example of a DB waistcoat in buff linen. Although I have no problems with the fabric, I have serious issue with the cut. Take a close look at it:
From this you can see that it is cut in a very untraditional manner. Nothing wrong you might say but look again at the fit and the styling and how it all goes together.
Firstly, you can see that the waistcoat is far too long. Instead of the hem ending a few inches below the waist, it ends so far down onto the hips! What’s wrong with that you may ask. What is wrong is that it would have a constricting effect on the hips. As the hips are larger than the waist, the effect it has on the waistcoat is to push the waistcoat upwards. This tendency is natural as the line between the waist and hips are slanted and as you know, if you squeeze a block of wood that has sides that taper with a wide bottom and and narrow top, your fingers would naturally slide upwards rather than downwards or stay in position. That’s the exact same effect that would happen here and more so as the waistcoat is body hugging rather than a drapping garment.
Secondly, because of the extremely low hemline, the balance of the whole ensemble is thrown off. Strangely, the person who made it has decided on four buttons rather than the usual six or eight (the latter would have have been more appropriate for this waistcoat given its length) which means the bottom buttons are bizzarely placed on the middle line of the waistcoat rather than (correctly) an inch or so above the hem. This has to be done, of course, because if he places them in the correct place, the opening would gape and also (as above) the hip would be constricted and created discomfort as well as cause the waistcoat to be pushed up even more to remove the pressure and force placed on it at the bottom. Hence we end up in this strange scenario where there is a good 4 inches of opening running down to the hem. This is fine when the wearer is standing but when he sits down, the opening would slay open as the hips expand and the force travels sideways (and the entire waistcoat would be pushed upwards; with a big gape at the opening between the top and bottom buttons as they are placed too far apart). The result is an inelegant look and rather messy.
Lastly, there are no pockets which renders the whole waistcoat’s value and practicality (to store small items such as loose change, Oyster cards and timepieces, etc) null and void.
There seems to have been no thinking by the ‘tailor’ about how waistcoats are meant to fit a person’s body or why things are done in certain ways in the first place. It seems more of a display piece of how not to cut a waistcoat rather than an item of merit that is meant to be worn at all. This is all down to modern fashion and designers who creates things that ‘look cool’ in their eyes but in actual practice does not work as a functioning piece of clothing.
First and foremost in the importance of tailoring is fit and this seems to have been entirely ignored. One wonders whether the ‘tailor’ ever made a DB waistcoat at all or even knows how to draft a proper pattern…
Note that there are other issues that I haven’t dealt with here but more of the details would be covered in the said post about waistcoats mentioned at the beginning which would include, amongst other things, a WTF?! on this little number: