Cast your minds back to the summer of ’96. England vs. Germany in the semi-finals of the European Championships. Extra time comes and goes and the dreaded penalties begin. The awkward and ungainly centre back Gareth Southgate steps forward where others shrink back and cower in the shadows. He misses and becomes a national scapegoat. The next we see of him is in a Pizza Hut advert with a paper bag over his head. Fast forward 22 years and he’s now a national hero, a style icon and one of the main reasons behind an explosion of waistcoat sales in the UK. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.
But how does the Southgate-inspired waistcoat revival relate to me, you might ask? Well, it affords the perfect opportunity to look at yourself and decide. What kind of waistcoat wearer do I want to be? It may seem a strange question, but your choice of waistcoat speaks volumes about you. Just look at the change in public image of the England manager? At least 20% of this is directly related to how he wears a waistcoat! Amazing, no?
OK, so let’s take a look at some key tips to help you to make a waistcoat work to reflect the identity you wish to project. It is, you must understand, a fragile balance between projection and reflection. You must find the waistcoat that not only matches your identity but boosts the parts of yourself that need a little push.
The ‘I’m a fighter’ look
There is no doubt about it, the waistcoat and no jacket look rocks! It serves several key purposes. Firstly it intimates that the wearer means business! You’re a hard-working, confident man who gets the job done. In addition it provides a good frame for the body and adds a dash of allure and charm. Doing without the jacket brings the waistcoat into the 21st century and away from the upper classes. It’s the sophisticated, elegant working man’s look for sure.
Wool is cool, go tweed to succeed
OK, so that reads better than it sounds, but it still rings very true. Opting for an English heritage look in your waistcoat is a really good idea. Something like the Heritage Collection Burns Waistcoat in wool mix, which comes in three equally appealing colours is a fantastic way to mix things up. You know how vintage and modern décor can look great in the right space, well the same is true with waistcoats and the rest of your attire. Tweed waistcoats can work in a very similar way and paired with the right pair of jeans can turn you into a confidence-oozing renaissance man!
Perhaps the worst mistake anyone can make with waistcoats (and indeed accessorising in general) is to opt for a quirky, jazzy waistcoat to match their personality. If you are indeed a jazzy, fun-loving and quirky spirit then let that shine through, by all means, but don’t dress yourself up like a court jester. It will only serve to make you an object of ridicule.