The Odd Waistcoat

rher rhnn coming upon an odd "postboy" languishing about one of London's antiquarian men's emporiums, the last time anyone spotted (he genuine odd waistcoat tor sale on American shores was back w hen Brooks. Chipp. ). Press, and Triplers still basked in Madison Avenue glory. The odd waistcoat was one of the chromosomal WASPs trump cards in his former days of peacockery.

A cursory survey into this American tradition begins in 1928. the Gatsby era. with a linen waistcoat in pastel shades of tan. gray, and blue. It was apparently in such lavor that the trade paper Mens Wear decreed that "the linen odd' vest is an important item in the wardrobe of ever}' man who makes any pretense whatever at following the fashions." By the mid-thirties, smart country attire spawned a new waistcoat, the single-breasted tattersall vest, its colors cho-sen to harmonize with the accompanying horsey jackets. Younger men who had never worn the odd waistcoat before were cautioned to remember that the louder its hue, the quieter its style should be. "For instance." wrote a Men's Wear editor, "the tattersall check is almost invariably seen in the single-breasted model, while the plainer, more conservative colors may be sported in the double-breasted model."

By the 1940s, a semi-sports outfit was not only acceptable for city wear but according to Usquire, "it was smart to be sporty." The new detailing of semi sports clothes was an outgrowth of hunting and riding togs. Unfortunately, despite the separate vest's national sponsorship, the waistcoat per sc was waning. During the war years, it was dealt an insurmountable blow w hen the War Production Board decreed that double-breasted suits could no longer be manufactured with vests. While the checked, plaid, or brightly toned solid odd vest remained a fixture on many Ivy League campuses tip through the sixties, the Peacock Revolution ushered in the shaped suit, effectively killing it. By the early seventies, the peacock had distanced himself from the postboy.

Even though the current workplace has activated the sport jacket for dress down duty, unless the four-in-hand is similarly mobilized, the separate vest is not likel} to be seen storming the front lines of men's fashion anytime soon This is a shame, because the snappy odd weskit could always be depended upon to inject a bit of whimsy into the wardrobe.

Odd Jac trousf.fi wa 1 st c

The tattersall waistcoat etnsemble.

The Tattersall Vest

JL he shirt, more so than any other male garment, has served to distinguish a mans wealth and social class. Up through the nineteenth century, the white linen dress shirt was considered the epitome of male elegance. A man with an immaculate collar and cuffs clearly did not work with his hands, and in the days when a large portion of the populace was impoverished, wearing white imparted prestige. The century's most famous dandy, Beau Brummell who dictated the main lines ofmen's fashion to all ofEurope for more than ■■(■HBHURIIH one hundred years, advanced the maxim fine linen, plenty ^

of it, and country washing.

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Responses

  • patrycja
    What shirt to wear with a tattersall waistcoat?
    7 years ago

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