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mens suit vest alterations guide
mens suit vest alterations guide
Required Reading

Suit Alterations 101: The Waistcoat

February 24th, 2016

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

Brian Sacawa

Brian Sacawa is the Founder of He Spoke Style and one of the original men’s style influencers. Since 2013, his goal has remained the same: to provide men the advice and inspiration they need to dress well, develop their personal style, and gain more confidence. Brian’s interest and passion for men’s style and luxury watches has led to his writing for The Robb Report, The Rake, and Sotheby’s and he has been quoted on menswear in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,, Brides Magazine, and the Huffington Post. He lives in the woods north of Baltimore with his wife, Robin, kitties Nick and Nora, and German Shepherd/Collie mix Charlie.

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