The Odd Vest

October 4th, 2013

Three-piece suits are bossy, no question. But anybody can match a jacket, trouser and waistcoat of the same fabric – that’s a no brainer.

It takes a little more style and grace to use an odd waistcoat as a complementary fabric with another suit. It’s also a great way to start slowly introducing layers as we move into Fall.

Here’s three examples from my personal wardrobe, along with some tips on how to pull it off.

    1. Pattern Play


    The waistcoat is a very underrated piece in menswear, especially in the corporate business world where there are limited “acceptable” items to play with.

    Tailoring can be fun and creative if you understand traditions and “rules” but don’t take them all too seriously.


    This grey/brown/cream/orange waistcoat is from one of my boldest three-piece suits. It’s a wool/silk/linen fabric that caught my eye and made me discover Ariston: a family-operated fabric mill in Naples that’s known for small-batch designs that are unique, eye-catching and always tasteful.

    The Fall color palette of the waistcoat makes it a perfect accent to this lightweight taupe suit (also Ariston fabric) that my man Angel Bespoke made for me this summer, complete with his signature soft shoulder, 3-roll-to-2 closure, and accentuated taper at the midsection.


    Nothing finishes off a badass 3-piece like a pair of classic captoes in genuine crocodile.


    2. Herringbone Stripe


    Using a waistcoat to accentuate and soften the color of a pinstripe is an easy win.

    This grey herringbone, for example, serves as an anchor to the bold “gangster stripe” of this suit.


    Sometimes I like to ditch the jacket and wear only a waistcoat. Having lapels (and patch pockets) makes it slightly more appropriate as a stand-along piece, in my opinion.

    Of course, you can always wear it under a jacket too. There’s nothing wrong with lapels-on-lapels.


    Special thanks to the good folks at Allen Edmonds for these beautiful wingtips.

    This version of their “Jefferson” style is made-to-order using genuine Horween shell cordovan.

    These beauties are made to last and I can’t wait to see what they look like once they start to break in.


    3. Tweed & Hopsack


    I cheated a little because we ripped this look from a prior post we did called Suited & Booted.

    Here the camel hopsack waistcoat pulls out the “flecks” of beige/orange in this amazing forest green donegal tweed.

    I thought the pleated trousers and 3-button jacket were nice nods to the old school since this is such a traditional fabric. The jacket also has burnt orange corduroy elbow patches, which you can see better here.


    Fall is all about earth tones: browns, greens, tans, etc.

    Taking color cues from mother nature is always in good taste.


    It’s about that time! Time to start slowly breaking-out the boot collection.


    Thanks, as always, for reading.

    Yours in style,

    Articles of Style


    Photography by Alex Crawford

    • Joshua Allison

      I was under the distinct impression that one only wears black shoes and belt with a grey or navy suit or trousers. When wearing a navy blazer and tan trousers, one wears cordovan shoes and belt. When did this change? Is this a passing fad, or the new classic? I’m referencing the second look, where the model is wearing a grey pinstripe suit and brown shoes. This just looks like a clash to me. Am I wrong?

    • Cait

      I love the first and third looks. The brown and tweed suits on their own would look old fashioned, but with the waistcoats they look super sharp!

    • menswear

      Love the pinstripe, very retro and those captoes are insane!

    • Big Jon

      That second look was awesome. Pinstripes rule!

    • Laura

      Loving all of these and a bit jealous. Boys get to have all the fun when it comes to vests. I’m constantly on the lookout for nice tailored vests to no avail.

      • Anthony

        Laura, get one made to measure or bespoke. My first piece of MTM clothing was a lapelled waistcoat, and it was surprisingly cheap: they use very little suiting fabric compared to a full suit, and a lot of the craftsmanship and hence cost of a suit is associated with attaching the arms to the shoulders and this is simply avoided in a vest.

    • Cristian Mari

      Very beautiful outfit, I love it, congratulations to the wonderful job you are doing with this site, I hope you do not mind but I try to inhale as much of your outfits.
      I wish you a nice day.

    • John

      You really do love that pinstriped gangsta suit, don’t ya?

      • Dan Trepanier

        Yea, I do. The strong wide pinstripe is a classic power suit. Its true, it really does make you feel more powerful…especially when it’s well tailored.

        Thanks for reading John.

    • John B

      I was thinking about “breaking” a navy suit with a grey vest the other day! I really like the third look, tweed suits are awesome!

    • Rob —

      On some true Mad Men sh!t rightchea!

    • Alan

      I love the Lane Pryce ‘odd waistcoat’ look in theory, but it doesn’t always look so great with the jacket off – it greatly changes the ratio of suit fabric: waistcoat fabric and so what starts off as a lovely pop can become a bit cloying. Rule of thirds is perhaps in play here.

      • Alex Crawford

        I never noticed how often Lane Pryce wore mismatched vests, but now that I think about it I can’t picture him in anything else! Man, I can’t wait for the final season.

    • Harrison

      Dan – look (1) is really incredible with the pattern mixes & fall color combinations. Talk about a “boss” look. Brown is such a great suit color. I also really appreciate the fabric texture mixes in looks (2&3).


    • Michael

      3rd look is killer, including the tote bag.

    • Gazman

      Great looks all. I think with waist coats the key is to have one that buttons quite high, like those seen in these pics. A long vee neck does not look as elegant and the ones with a low scoop neck are an abomination.

    • TimL

      I love these looks.
      The first look on Dan is awesome and that is my favorite waistcoat along with the jacket that matches.

      I did the monochromatic color scheme this summer with my jackets, shirt, waistcoat and pants in brown-tan-cream and got lots of compliments

    • Pony Marshmallow

      Look one is exceptional! Great work!

    • Daniel

      Looks 1 and 2 are straight fire. Flyest looks I’ve seen in ages.

    • Jason


    • Badger

      All three looks are fantistic, but DAMN, that donegal suit. I am HUNGRY with WANT THAT.

    • Pete

      Fop: a man who is concerned with his clothes and appearance in an affected and excessive way; a dandy

      Would the others of this site consider themselves fops?

      • Pete


      • Rob

        I would think that neither the authors, nor the readers of this site, are particularly concerned with (or interested in) your opinions of them, or your quotes from

      • Dan Trepanier

        Hi Pete. I’m the author of this site. Never heard that term before, so no.

        Thanks for reading!

      • Alex Crawford

        To be fair, a fop is not the same as a dandy. Traditionally a dandy was a man, usually self-made (as opposed to coming from money) who put an excessive amount of time and interest into his clothing and his speech/mannerisms, as to appear aristocratic. Now though the word dandy has evolved to describe a style or genre of dress, usually involving floral patterns and bow-ties. I always associate the term dandy with the rococo movement in art history. Anyway, the word fop is more of a pejorative that implies that a person not only is excessively concerned with the way he dresses but also is an idiot/fool.

        The more you know.

    • cam

      hey dan hope all is well…do you think the same tips here apply to a cardigan in place of the waistcoat?

      • Dan Trepanier

        Absolutely! That reminds me of a post idea I wanted to do…

        Thx Cam.

      • TimL

        This is my favorite time of year to pull out the cardigans and all of my sweater vests with sports coats and suits.

    • Shawn

      Damn, those crocodiles are incredible!

    • Joe

      Been sold on the odd 3-piece ever since Brady in

      Great looks and nice tips. I also really like the busyness of the different patterns in the tie/shirt/vest in look 1, since it’s framed nicely by the earthy, solid-colored suit.

    • Alex

      That donegal suit is murder. I loved it when I first saw it in the original post and love it now.

    • SL

      Awesome looks as always, especially that first one, vest + suit combo is sweet

    • http://undefined Joshua

      Just wow to all three looks. Especially 1 and 3 (which I actually remember from its orginal post)…

      • Dan Trepanier

        Thanks Joshua!