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Are Waistcoats in Style in 2023?

We dissect the trend.

Last Updated on September 13, 2023

Wondering whether waistcoats are in style in 2023? I’m dissecting the trend, right here. The waistcoat has come full circle, from the days of style icons like Kate Moss wearing the divisive item to Glastonbury Festival, to its comeback today. While some might still feel apprehensive about the Y2K item making a comeback, it’s gone through quite the style evolution, from boho to a quiet luxury essential.

Of course, the waistcoat was a thing way before Kate Moss made it one. During the 1600s, waistcoats were considered men’s formal wear and were typically worn over a buttoned-down shirt as part of a three-piece suit. FRollowing the French Revolution in the late 1780s, waistcoats were introduced not only to men but also to women. The only difference between the two is that the womenswear item is shorter and narrower to complement the female figure.

Today it’s still formal, but with a modern twist. You don’t need to team it with a blazer and tailored trousers (although you can, of course). It’s a fashion statement simply worn with jeans, an oversized trench and chunky boots.

Centuries later, wearing a vest is still a thing, but with a modern approach. With this, let me narrow down the dos and don’ts of sporting vests and show you how versatile they are. Next, check out our recommendations for the best waistcoats you can buy or if you’re thinking ahead to autumn, the best camel coats for timeless style.

two women one wearing a waistcoat at new york fashion week ss24

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What are waistcoats? 

Also called a vest, a waistcoat is a type of garment, usually sleeveless, worn to cover the upper body. Waistcoats are the counterpart of women’s corsets, but instead of boning and stiffeners, vests have buttons at the front. While they’re becoming a more casual fashion item today, they’re also often worn in men’s formal wear over a dress shirt and under a blazer or coat, or as part of the three-piece suit.

Women have been reclaiming the waistcoat over the past two decades, wearing theirs with both formal tailored trousers and more casual jeans.

Are waistcoats in style in 2023? 

Waistcoats are one of 2023’s most notable high street trends, with fashion brands like Zara, COS, Arket, Mango, Reiss and many more offering the fashion item. The trend has also been seen again and again on the runway over the past few years, first at Saint Laurent in 2020 and more recently at Coperni and Celine’s 2023 shows. Celebrities have also been getting involved, with Bella Hadid, Zendaya, Emily Ratajkowski and Gigi Hadid embracing the waistcoat. While they’re divisive, it’s fair to say this trend is sticking around for now.

How do you wear a waistcoat in 2023?

If you’re wondering how to wear the waistcoat, there are a few risk-free ways to wear it right now.

As chic workwear

If you’re going for a formal look, teaming a with a pair of tailored trousers in either a similar or contrasting hue is an easy place to start. Pair this with a sleek long-line coat and heels or loafers, and you’re good to go.


Belted Wool Waistcoat, £95, COS – buy now

The 90s look

Before you panic at the idea of 90s fashion, think Rachel Green and Monica Gellar from Friends. Take a leaf out of their books by wearing the waistcoat as a layering piece paired with a simple white top and wide-leg trousers. You can add a touch of modern style by opting for sleek sneakers like the Adidas Sambas.


Juno Denim Patchwork Waistcoat, £89, Aligne – buy now

Your every day look

Brett V-neck cotton-blend waistcoat

Brett V-neck Cotton-blend Waistcoat, £230, Staud – buy now

Running errands but still want to look good? I got you. Build an every day look with a waistcoat. Instead of the usual white tee or tank top and jeans, add a simple vest over the top and leave it unbuttoned for that cool girl look. For footwear, you can opt for block-heeled boots or some Asics or New Balance shoes.

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