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A Smart In-Vest-Ment

March 8th, 2013

A three-piece suit is one of the most powerful garments a man can own. It’s also one of the most versatile.

If you have the option of adding a vest to your suit, do it. Even if you don’t typically wear three-piece suits, this could change as you experiment with style and get older, and the vest opens up plenty of new styling options.

Here’s three examples of how adding a vest can be a versatile investment.

    1. Corporate Power


    A three-piece suit represents classic masculine elegance. It also conveys maturity and authority in a business setting.

    What I like about this particular suit is the modern trim cut, combined with old-school details (3 button front, classic houndstooth fabric, leather buttons).


    The vest (or “waistcoat” as it’s officially named) has added functional benefits too:

    – keeps your look sharp and buttoned-up when you remove the jacket
    – keeps your tie securely in place
    – holds the shirt properly tucked-in (hiding any “billowing” at the waist)
    – keeps the gut in-check (a waistcoat should be snug but not tight, there is an adjustable strap on the back for those big lunches)


    I treated myself to these custom-made crocodile lace-ups for my birthday last year. Classic, luxurious, a little in-your-face…just how I like it.

    This is my first time wearing them, but I could see these shoes staying in my family for generations.


    2. Business Casual


    This is what I call a “makeshift three-piece”.

    Take the vest from your suit and pair it with “business casual” separates (like a patterned blazer and slim cords) to polish off the look and bring everything together.


    I’ve had this suit jacket for years (in fact, it was the subject of our first ever photo post).

    I haven’t worn it in a while, but it works perfectly with this vest. The subtle pattern/texture mixing inspired me to break-out this jacket from the back of my closet.


    Of course, there are plenty of other combos using the elements of a three-piece suit.

    For example, the vest and trousers, vest and jacket, etc.


    3. Weekend


    The vest is a great piece to sharpen-up a casual look, too.

    This micro-houndstooth flannel has a slightly-rugged texture that lends itself to a casual look. The leather-covered buttons and patch pockets help, too.


    The leather piece is vintage and the corduroy shirt is from Wal-Mart.

    No need to spend a lot of money for style – post on this coming soon.


    Hemming jeans with no-break is a commitment. There’s no going back.

    I like to leave some pairs long – giving me the option to cuff em’, roll em’, or let em’ pool a little.


    • Tortoise shades by Matsuda Eyewear
    • Brown leather jacket Vintage
    • Brown micro-houndstooth vest
    • Rust corduroy shirt by George (Wal-Mart)
    • Linen crewneck pullover by Hugo Boss
    • Watch by Montblanc Timewalker Automatic
    • Brown American Bison Belt by Trafalgar
    • Washed jeans by Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply
    • Brown suede boots by Massimo Dutti


    Thanks, as always, for reading.

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier


    Photography by Alex Crawford

    • Wes

      Great look (as usual)! Who’s the jacket made by?

    • Don Pierre

      The fit on the first post is absolutely brilliant. Matsuda shades are remarkable always great to see good eyewear taste and not low quality Warby Parker.

    • Victor

      Oh and another first on this website crocodile shoes, great to see your style evolving.
      I have always wondered why stylish men ignore exotic skin shoes. Just the fell of crocodile or alligator shoes done right as in this example feels and looks beautiful.

      • Joe

        I’m a big fan of certain cuts of exotic skins on boots (like the belly of an alligator or crocodile, lizard, stingray for example). The plain toe and shape of a boot always lent themselves to showing off exotic skins. But I never liked them on a shoe until this one. Perhaps I just haven’t seen enough of them. Either the brogueing, or the sewing interfered with the natural pattern of the skin or the cut of the hide wasn’t right. The makers of this shoe did an amazing job choosing just the right hide, shoe shape, and minimal captoe pattern to make this work. Really beautiful example of hand crafting.

        • Tom H

          Just out of curiosity, how much did the alligator shoes cost you? I’m sure it was an arm and a leg.

    • Victor

      Finally a three button suit, very nice I like the vest under, reminds me of an elegant double breasted suit.

      I have been a faithful reader since the beginning, and this is the first appearance of a three button suit on this site, why did it take you so long Dan? Thanks

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        There have been several three-button jackets on the site. Most of the time we style them with the middle button fastened, which makes it harder to recognize.

        Thanks for reading Victor.

    • Gazman

      Excellent. Love all the outfits. I’m a sucker for country-style, ‘geezer’ fabrics such as tweeds and houndstooth.

    • Michael

      Love the Selvage jeans. Its strangely hard to find a distressed pair of selvage. Don’t get me wrong I love my raw denim (just got a fantastic pair of raw selvage from the Gap of all places and was more than a little pleasantly surprised) but I like distressed jeans sometimes too and selvage would make them that much better.

    • Kevin

      Awesome post, Dan. Vests really are a secret weapon of sorts in that they can add class to just about any look, even an already classy look.

      I also wanted to say that I am excited to see the post your were alluding to when you said “no need to spend a lot of money for style”. Reading the words “this shirt is from Wal-Mart” on this site was a huge surprise. I don’t have a lot of money to work with, so I’m super excited to see what a style master such as yourself has to say.

    • Alan

      That’s a great suit, no two ways – I would go against received wisdom and suggest that if you’re going to go bespoke for one suit – something like that, which is essentially a country suit but passes muster in 99% of situations (if you worked in the ‘City’ financial or legal sectors of London, maybe not before Friday). You can find a nice Navy suit off the rack and get it tailored, but you’re probably not going to find anything like the above ready to wear.

    • Bucky

      Dan this is so on-point its ridiculous, awesome job again. The vest is wicked, but those crocs are borderline orgasmic.

    • Shawn

      Look no.1 is awesome! Everything from the houndstooth to the waistcoat to the awesome shoes (!!) looks well put together! Bravo!

    • TO

      Look number two is one of my favorites you’ve ever done! Nice post

    • DanC

      Loving the Styles there Dan, especially like the casual look, the combo with the best and that leather jacket (Which btw I really like that jacket great colour and warn just right) great combo with the corduroy shirt. Awesome love it!

    • Brian

      Leave it to Dan to put up ridiculously stylish content on a Friday, so we can all look in the mirror at our own disheveled appearances and immediately start pounding back the Jim Beam. At this rate I’ll be hung over until Monday!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        hahaha. Thanks Brian. The irony is that this post almost didn’t make the cut!

        Easy on Jimmy this weekend.

    • Zaire

      This was an amazing post. I usually reserve my vest for classier situations but this post really helped me learn about breaking it out for the weekend park trips.

      Thanks Dan

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thanks brother

    • Simon

      The crocodile cap toes are to die for!!!!

    • John

      One of the few (if not the first) three buttons suits on this site! And with awesome leather buttons!

      I like the layering, but on the second look the patterns seem a bit similar! Nice jacket though!

      • John

        I saw your reply to the other comment. One of the few non 3/2 roll, 3 button suits!

    • Miguel

      Very nice suit, all outfits look great, keep up the good work guys. Really helpful when trying new stuff.

    • cam

      happy 3 year anniversary (to the day in fact) to what is still your best post of all time! the hugo boss suit with the cardigan and white vans against the orange wall is hands down the nicest photo uve ever published.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thanks Cam. The site has come a long way since those days, thanks in large part to loyal fans like you. I’m not sure that comment about the photo is fair to Alex though, haha. Thanks again for your support.

        • cam

          no doubt that alex’s work is exceptional. that particular photo is the classic that’s stuck in my head…like illmatic or atliens

          • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

            haha word! #OG

    • Ed

      all 3 looks killed

    • LouCaves

      I like that the TSB posts have a very wide $$ range.

      Regarding the Wal-mart shirt: Nice. My favorite and best fitting jeans are from Target.

      Not the cost but the fit.

      Thanks, TSB.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thanks Lou. Guys are often surprised to find out that we shop everywhere – including places like Target, TJ Maxx, JCP, etc. Post on this coming soon.

    • Jerome

      The fit on those jeans is beautiful.

    • Sean

      I think this is the first time I’ve seen Dan in a 3-button jacket.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        I have a handful of 3-button jackets, most have lapels that roll to the 2nd button though. Cheers.

      • joe

        ditto – I found that curious, especially with a 3 piece where a lower button stance would show off more of the vest. Looks great, but I’m curious how it looks buttoned up – and how you button it, just the middle or top two?

        • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

          Just the middle typically. Unless it’s cold and windy, then the top 2 with the collar up and a scarf.


    • Kid Icarus

      I love the look of a contrasting waistcoat under something. But of course, a fully matched 3-piece always looks great too.

      I try to remember to wear a pocket watch with the chain draped whenever wearing a waistcoat. It’s a nice finishing touch for these kinds of looks.

      By the way, I notice you keep your bottom button unbuttoned (not just on this waistcoat, but I’ve noticed it in other posts featuring cardigans and such). Is this some unwritten rule? Because I’ve always done the same.

      • S. Tyler

        Some consider this to be a rule, but I think it just looks good.

        In my opinion, it is similar to leaving the bottom button unbuttoned on a two-button blazer.

        • Alan

          Usually, the waistcoat is cut in expectation of the bottom button being undone – occasionally the button is placed so it basically cannot be fastened.

          It seems to be done with cardigans now too, I think it’s because cardigans were once considered a bit ‘grandad’ and wearing them with the bottom button undone is a way to subcommunicate that you’ve got game – but it might be something to do with soft flowing lines and such.

          Wes often seems to unbutton the top button and sometimes even the second from bottom. I suspect the idea of actually buttoning buttons will seem quaint and archaic in 50 years.

          • http://www.tsbmen.com Westley Dimagiba

            Buttoning all the bottoms on a cardigan and vest just feels constricting to me, but hopefully it won’t feel archaic to do so when I’m an old man.