Elegant Men and their Waistcoats: from Totò to Winston Churchill

Dear Fleecers,

This week we continue our journey in the name of our beloved waistcoat, making a little detour to admire some iconic characters who have made this particular garment a must-have piece of their wardrobe when not their hallmark.

After having gone back to the origins of the “myth", let us now fast forward the tape and dwell on men who – for several reasons – shared the same passion for sartorial clothes and, in particular, for wearing the vest at every opportunity.


If you stop for a moment to think about it, this emblematic piece of clothing can be a common thread connecting Italian eclectic movie star Antonio de Curtis aka Totò - nicknamed the “Prince of Laughter” - to one of the most famous statesmen the history has ever known, Sir Winston Churchill. The beauty about elegance is that it does not make any distinction among men but instead bring them together and ennobles them.

In the twenties and thirties, the vest reached maybe its highest maturity as perfect complement to countless elegant and prestigious outfits. One of the main contributors of its success is undoubtedly Edward VII, to whom – it is said – we owe the habit of leaving the last button of the vest open. The Prince of Wales, in fact, was a fervent supporter and pioneer of the waistcoat and also known to be a bold “explorer” of many different shapes. Coming to present times and on the other side of the pond, American author and renowned sartorial connoisseur Bruce Boyer has been seen pairing a cashmere sleeveless cardigan under a tweed jacket.



In Italy, Gabriele d'Annunzio, controversial poet, patriot and hedonist was said to possess countless waistcoats that he loved to wear with any sort of outfit. A pinstripe suit with double-breasted waistcoat and jacquard red tie will always remain the emblem of that proverbial elegance of Marcello Mastroianni. His three-piece suits in the movies “Matrimonio all’Italiana” and “Divorzio all’Italiana” are beautiful gems still capable of inspiring many seasoned connoisseurs and gentlemen of our time. 


While conceiving and designing our cashmere sleeveless cardigans we have spent countless hours observing and taking inspiration from all these icons of the past. Inspiration more than imitation has been the strongest and most effective driver of our willingness to bring the waistcoat back under the spotlight and as you may have already understood, if you are one of our regular readers, this is just the beginning.

TFM Team

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