Whether you’re looking to layer or daring to bare, the vest is best, says Phoebe Watt.
Glastonbury 2005. Kate Moss wore hers with, well, not a lot else to be honest. But such is Kate’s power of influence that the waistcoat went on to have a huge moment, seen everywhere from the high street to high-fashion catwalks until the trend fizzled out towards the end of the noughties. By 2012, not even Hedi Slimane’s cropped versions for Yves Saint Laurent could coax us back, so strong was our newfound preference for the waistcoat’s more elegant cousin, the longline gilet. But now, thanks largely to Alexa Chung, the waistcoat is on our fashion radar once again, and suddenly we are wondering why it ever fell out of favour.
Rocking her own design at the launch of Alexa Chung x AG Jeans, Alexa proved that the waistcoat-sans-undershirt can look so right if balanced by a more covered-up lower half – in her case, a pair of navy, wide-leg
trousers elevating the garment from paddock appropriate to Paris appropriate.
And while you’d think a dark palette would be key to nailing this sexy take on masculine dressing, white separates, too, made for an unexpected but oh-so-clean combination on Temperley’s S/S 2015 runway. With Temperley having also demonstrated that the waistcoat is the perfect partner for culottes – unequivocally the pant of summer 2015-16 – we’ll soon be defaulting to this androgynous look for both daytime and evening events.
As for waistcoats as work-wear, we’d err on the side of adding an undershirt. Channel Ralph Lauren with a crisp white shirt paired with a leather waistcoat (maximum points if you go for the entire three-piece suit). You could also try a high-neck blouse for a no-nonsense Victorian edge, or continue to ride the 70s wave in a pussy-bow blouse with billowy sleeves – just ensure your shirt is slim and fitted around the shoulders and body to avoid unsightly bunching or bulging around the sleeves. And finally, flower-children need not despair, the waistcoat remains requisite festival attire. This year though, we’ll be swapping our tiny shorts for floaty dresses à la Chloe A/W 2015-16. Think of it as a Kate update.
Nail trans-seasonal layering by wearing your waistcoat over a shirt and under a jacket.