Well England brought shag all home! A few weekends ago, British retailer Marks & Spencer reported that sales of waistcoats had increased by 35 per cent thanks to the so-called “Gareth Southgate effect”. It’s an extraordinary statistic in an age of plummeting high street profits that suggests that men everywhere really, really likes the England manager’s new style.
Want to follow suit? Here’s our to help you get the Southgate look, plus the dos and don’ts of wearing a waistcoat yourself.
Wear it as part of a three-piece suit
The primary function of a waistcoat is to provide both a sense of depth and formality to an outfit. The best way to wear a waistcoat, therefore, is under the jacket of a suit. Look to British tailoring house Thom Sweeney and one of its beautifully cut three-piece suits (teamed with a trademark scoop-neck waistcoat) for inspiration. We are a BIG fan of a scoop waistcoat, I wore one for my wedding!
DON’T ever wear one with jeans
Less dad at a party, more ex-primary school teacher with an ankle monitor. Avoid. We all have that friend that wears super tight jeans, short sleeve shirt and a shaggin waistcoat – it looks ridiculous. Don’t do it!
DO opt for a knitted waistcoat
Somewhere between a waistcoat and a gilet, a knitted button-up jerkin will add some textural interest to a more casual outfit and is a good option if you want to look smart, but not too smart. Wear with some smart pleated trousers in a tonal shade, a deconstructed blazer that matches your trousers and a granddad shirt in a light hue. Adding texture to an outfit is the perfect way to add depth.Whether that’s a knit tie, wool pocket square or nice waistcoat.
DO wear a double-breasted waistcoat
“I think he looks great – particularly when he’s winning,” says owner of waistcoat specialist Favourbrook, Oliver Spencer, of Gareth Southgate. “If he wanted to smarten the look up a bit I would recommend he switches to a double-breasted waistcoat.” Smart man, that Spencer. A double-breasted waistcoat (though most commonly reserved for morning dress) will create an interesting interplay in the space between a shirt and a single-breasted jacket. A great option for more formal occasions.
DON’T do the bottom button up (of a single breasted waistcoat)
Southgate has a habit of doing up the bottom button of his navy-blue waistcoat, which is a massive no no. Always, always leave the bottom button undone. Always.
DO wear your waistcoat with a proper shirt
Because wearing a waistcoat with a T-shirt is akin to wearing flip flops with a suit. Only worse.
DON’T opt for something too loose (or too tight)
The other, more practical function of a waistcoat is that it will slim down the wearer’s silhouette – a bit like Spanx in suiting fabric. The key to making the best of this, however, is to ensure that your waistcoat is neither too tight, nor too loose. If it’s the former it’ll cling to your lumpy bits, but if it’s the latter it’ll look make you look baggy and boxy.