What to look for when adding this classic to your wardrobe…
1. Shoulder Fit
The vest’s shoulders should begin sharply at the collar of your shirt and extend only to the line where your arms begin. If the shoulders are too narrow, the effect will be unfortunate – like a singlet worn atop your shirt. Too wide and the slope of your shoulder will leave a gap and sagging vest material. The vest’s shoulder should sit flat against your collarbones, creating a near seamless silhouette.
2. Vest Length
A well-fitted vest should just cover your waist, with the corners of each front creating a triangle over your crotch whose apex is at the waistline. If you can see shirt at the waist, your vest is too short. If the corners are mirroring your trouser pockets, it’s too long.
Vests come in a dazzling array of button options, from simple two-button numbers through to fronts that boast twelve. The rule is to button all but the bottom one, so think twice before going the dandy-ish option of a dozen.
4. Waist Fit
If your buttoned-up vest shows any strain or cinching that can’t be relieved by using the side or back adjuster, then your vest is too tight. As convention dictates you button all but the bottom one, you can’t really get away with leaving your vest fronts open. If the vest hangs away from your body, particularly around the armpits, it’s too big.
5. With A Suit
The V-shape of the vest should be visible between your suit lapels you’re your jacket is buttoned. Generally speaking, you want to see the top one-third of the vest’s buttons. So a three-button vest worn with a two-button suit will only show the top button. But two buttons showing on a five-button vest is acceptable. The exception is a waistcoat, which is lower slung, rather than V-shaped, and designed to be worn with — and entirely hidden by — the lapels of a black-tie jacket.