I recently got into a heated debate with several people on Reddit when discussing vests (I know, I need to get out more). The overwhelming feeling was that a vest should not be worn without a jacket or part of a three piece suit. Wrong! Before we jump into the looks that we love to prove this theory wrong, here is an explanation from differencebetween.net to educate on the difference between a vest and a waistcoat.

Vest vs. Waistcoat

The word vest comes from the French word ‘veste’ which means jacket, sport coat, the Latin word vestis and the Italian word vesta which means a robe or a gown. In very simple and general terms, a vest is a garment that covers the upper part of the body and is sleeveless. It is also used to refer to a sleeveless under-jacket in some places. Moreover, in some places, the term vest may also be used as a reference to a variety of other garments that include padded sleeveless jackets, sports tank tops etc. The former is commonly used for hunting. Another type is the fishing vest which is unique in the sense that it has prominent front pockets for carrying fishing gear.

A waistcoat, like a vest, is also a garment that covers the upper body and is sleeveless. It is similar in this as well as the look it gives when worn. In fact, a waistcoat is referred to as a vest in American English. However the two are not the same in their true sense. The most important difference between the two is that a vest is an informal garment that can be worn without anything underneath it. On the other hand, a waistcoat is a formal garment that is usually worn over a shirt and a necktie. It makes part of an executive or business suit and is worn under the coat as part of men’s formal wear. It is also the third piece of the typical male business three-piece suit.

The Looks


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Ways To Wear It

  • One main thing to remember here is that the bottom button should always be left undone.
  • Make sure the back is fastened snug. The more fitted (not tight) the better the look.
  • If you are wearing with jeans, try wearing with with your sleeves rolled up.
  • Depending on the style, your belt will show so use this to your advantage by dressing up with a stylish buckle.
  • Instead of a button down, try a t-shirt for a more casual look.


Ryan Sprance is the Founder and Chief Strategist of Kaihatsu Media, a Digital Marketing agency focused on developing brand awareness and sales growth through social media, optimizing digital marketing spend and developing Influencer Marketing programs. He is also the Creator & Editor-In-Chief of TheStylishMan.com, a men's lifestyle media company focused on Fashion, Fitness, Grooming, Gadgets and Guy Stuff and a Contributing Editor at Julius, a data driven Influencer Marketing platform.