To understand the history of the waistcoat, we figured out that there is no need to travel back to the myth of Jason and the Argonauts. We have to “simply” turn the clock back to 1928, when the era of the Roaring Twenties and the Great Gatsby were well under way and when the magazine Men’s Wear declared the casual waistcoat (aka gilet) “an important element in the wardrobe of any man who wishes to define himself as elegant”. It wouldn’t be until the mid-30s, however, that the “tattersall” single-breasted waistcoat, perfect for country dressing with a tweed blazer, would cut a swath in fashionable circles. And in the 40s it was finally acceptable in the city, as it was “too elegant to be considered casual”.
The functions of the waistcoat
This accessory was meant to perform many functions, such as covering the braces, which were buttoned up on the outside of the trousers and which, for reasons of good taste, begged to be covered up. The pocket, in turn, was designed to hold the pocket watch before the advent of the wristwatch. And again, in days gone by, although not so long ago, you could still find the specialist waistcoat-maker, something that is almost extinct today. As the waistcoats were made to measure for the clients, the back had just one central vent, without today’s buckled strap, which was introduced at a later stage so that one size would basically fit all.
Difference between the waistcoat and the cashmere sleeveless cardigan
Let’s be clear here: the term waistcoat refers to a garment made from worsted or woolen fabric, our sleeveless cardigan serves the same purpose but is made of knit. The former can be either formal - as part of a three-piece suit – and casual - such as the odd waistcoat ideal with tweed jackets and woolen fabrics. The latter, on the other hand, being knitwear, is more casual and is ideal with woolen separates or denim.
Three errors to avoid when wearing a sleeveless cardigan
Dressing well is a mix of knowledge and personal taste. Well, for the taste we can’t be of much help, but for the rules we got you covered. We’ve listed below three mistakes that a true Fleecer should never make when it comes to waistcoats or cashmere sleeveless cardigans:
- The last button. Please leave it unbuttoned. Thank us later;
- The tip of the tie. It should never pop out from the bottom of the cardigan. If you just can’t find a better tie knot, you should rather tuck the tie inside your trousers;
- The Golden Rule: woolen with woolen and worsted with worsted. Never pair a worsted jacket with a woolen cardigan and vice versa. It is an unspoken rule that every elegant man knows well.
How to pair a sleeveless cardigan
Now that we know the basic rules, how should we pair a cashmere sleeveless cardigan? Be it informal or otherwise, the true Fleecers pairs it with a tie, but, heaven forbid, never with a t-shirt, knowing full well that this would expose him to understandable public mockery.