Suit Alterations 101: The Waistcoat

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A waistcoat should be comfortably snug.

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Most waistcoats have a cinch in the back to either tighten or loosen the fit.

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A good tailor will know how to balance how much a waistcoat can be taken in and still keep the arm holes laying flat.

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There are only a couple of tailoring options for your suit vest - the most versatile part of any suit - so make sure you know what they are.

So far, we’ve covered getting your suit jacket and pants tailored. Today we’re going to discuss alterations for the most versatile part of any suit: the waistcoat (or vest).

Unlike a suit’s jacket or pants, there aren’t too many alterations that can be done to the waistcoat. However, the two alterations you might want to consider have a lot to do with how it should fit. So, let’s discuss.

There are two main areas to keep in mind when talking about how a waistcoat should fit: the body and the length.

mens suit vest alterations guide

| WEARING | Reiss blazer and pants, Brooks Brothers waistcoat and tie, Al Bazar shirt, Watch c/o Uniform Wares | PHOTOGRAPHY | by Rob McIver Photo

The Body. Like a denim jacket, a waistcoat should be snug and fit close to the body. It shouldn’t be so tight that it pulls the fabric, however. So think comfortably snug. (Anybody hearing Pink Floyd…?) Most waistcoats will have a cinch in the back to tighten slightly, or loosen if you happened to have eaten too much at dinner.

DON’T MISS: What’s the difference between a vest and a waistcoat?

Length. A waistcoat should cover the waistband of your trousers and never let any of your shirt show in between your pants and the waistcoat.

mens suit vest alterations guide

Waistcoat/Suit Vest Alterations

Take In/Let Out. It is entirely likely that a waistcoat cannot be let out at all. However, it can be taken in. Though even that can be a bit tricky as the tailor must compensate for how the arm holes will lay once the alteration is finished. If it’s doable, it’s worth the money.

DON’T MISS: A Guide to Tailoring Costs.

Lengthen/Shorten. Just like tailoring a suit jacket, a waistcoat cannot be made longer. There is also a very slim margin for how much it can be shortened before it starts to mess with the garment’s balance. If it’s a minor alteration – i.e. less than half an inch – go for it.

The best way to ensure you have a properly fitted and sized waistcoat is to go custom through a made to measure program.

Thanks for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style

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