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How to: Wear a waistcoat without a suit

How to: Wear a waistcoat without a suit

"This is one that we get asked about a lot, and you can see why. A waistcoat has the potential to make your smart-casual clothes sharper, and gives you yet another way to wear your textured blazer," says Thread senior stylist Alice Watt. "If the idea appeals, it's worth trying. Plus, it works on a practical level: sometimes you need an extra layer, but a cardigan or jumper is too casual."

Below, Alice talks us through the key things to consider when wearing your waistcoat without a suit.  

Photographed: Oliver Spencer grey blazer (£349), Oliver Spencer navy waistcoat (£179), Mr Start white shirt (£110), Gant green knitted tie (£50), Norse Projects navy chinos (£100)

  1. Keep all your suit elements. "The thing that works about this outfit is that it's a much (much) more casual version of your three-piece suit. Although guys sometimes express interest in wearing a waistcoat with a t-shirt or without a jacket, the waistcoat's just too much of a jump from your casual clothes. So stay smartish with a shirt, tie, blazer, smarter trousers and leather lace-ups."
  2. Make sure your waistcoat's not shiny. "A shiny suit waistcoat isn't going to work with chinos, as they're at opposite ends of the smart-to-casual spectrum. A matte wool fabric's your best bet."
  3. Go for a textured blazer, too. "When it comes to smart-casual clothes, the textured blazer's your best friend. The fabric contrasts nicely with the smooth cotton of the shirt and chinos."
  4. Choose an easy colour combo. "There are some classic colour pairings for tailored pieces: brown and grey, navy and black or black and grey, as shown here. Pick one of these pairings to get the right level of contrast."