How to choose a waistcoat for a wedding, whether you're the groom, usher or guest.

Blue double breasted waistcoat

On reaching adulthood, you face a stark set of truths. Money doesn’t grow on trees, professional football isn’t a viable career option, your siblings aren’t that bad after all. The most surprising revelation of all is that summer no longer exists. In its place is wedding season, a time when flowers bloom, hotels are booked and bars are drunk dry. Like summer, it can be equal parts joy and frustration – largely depending on the weather and the company. It also brings a similar set of challenges.

A chief concern is what to wear, whether you’re the groom, usher or guest. There’ll most likely be a dress code to follow (or if it’s your wedding, to set), which will dictate whether you wear a lounge suit, morning coat or something else entirely. The rest is left open to interpretation, although it’s almost certain that you’ll need a good waistcoat to see you through the day. It can be a tricky garment to master - with different cuts, fabrics and colours – but one that can transform a sloppy guest into an eligible bachelor. Here are a few pointers on how to choose yours.

What waistcoat should I wear with a morning suit?

Double breasted waistcoat with morning suit

If you’ve decided on morning dress (or, if you’ve had it decided for you), it’s easy to rest on your laurels. A tail coat and top hat are a statement all by themself, but you run the risk of blending in – or worse, being mistaken for a pallbearer. Opting for a bold and colourful waistcoat, in a hue like azure blue or bright yellow, will save any confusion and help you to stand out from the crowd. Pair with striped or checked formal trousers and a crisp white shirt.

What waistcoat should I wear wear with a tuxedo?

Grey single breasted waistcoatA tuxedo is strictly speaking evening dress and should only be worn after 6pm, however a growing number are forgoing traditional day wear for the elegance of black tie. The rules are relatively simple: you must wear a bow tie, your waistband must be covered by a cummerbund or waistcoat, and your tuxedo must be black, navy or – assuming there’s no Bordeaux on the menu – white. When it comes to your waistcoat, monochrome is the only option: go for grey wool or cotton, and keep your accoutrements minimal.

What waistcoat should I wear with a navy blue suit?

Pink single breasted waistcoatNavy blue is a brilliant thing. Under certain lights it looks darker (read: smarter) than black, but absorbs less heat – making it ideal for a summer wedding. It’s also pretty hard to clash with (trust us, we’ve tried), meaning you can go wild with your waistcoat choice. Pink and yellow are clear winners here, whether you opt for a vibrant hue or a pastel tone. Add a patterned silk tie and clashing pocket square, or if it's casual enough, wear with a Grandad Shirt.

What waistcoat should I wear with a grey suit?

Yellow single breasted waistcoatThe rules with grey are pretty much the same as they are for navy, in that there aren’t many to speak of. Generally, it's a good idea to keep your waistcoat lighter than your suit. If you're wearing light grey then stick to pale tones throughout, and save the bold hues for darker attire. Other than that, our advice is to leave your last button undone, keep any speeches short and leave the shots for the hotel bar.


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