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#Vest of the Season

The vest or waistcoat was a British concept, created by King Charles II sometime in 1630. With the elimination of armoUr, the real history of the gentleman's vest began in the 17th century among the aristocratic elite of Europe. King Charles II of England wanted to distinguish himself and English court fashion from French and Spanish fashion.

At this time in history, a gentleman’s attire was considerably elaborate, Waistcoats, a longer version of the vest, were often incredibly bright in colour and highly adorned, making these the centrepiece of a gentleman’s outfit. The vest, which was actually borrowed from Persian culture, would replace the copious amounts of luxurious lace and muslin featured on shirts of that time, which were used to flaunt wealth. This was a time when not wearing a waistcoat was the exception. As time went on, the waistcoat became less adorned and shorter and a little tighter, acting much like a corset.

The vest became a mainstay of all classes. The poor also embraced the vest as an extra piece of clothing to add warmth, but also it was used to cover the man’s braces, which were considered at the time to be a piece of undergarment and meant to be hidden. As the popularity of belts developed the need for braces lessened and thus the need for the vest diminished. As time went on men dressed more casually and during World War II, due to the rationing of fabric, the vest was not considered essential anymore.

Women first adopted waistcoats as a form of revolt against the French government in the late 18th century. Women began to wear vests as a symbol of gender rebellion.

In the 1920s, women wore the vest and other traditionally male garments to reject notions of gendered clothing. It was during this decade that the androgynous look became popular with some women. They began to wear pieces that were to be worn by wealthy men, including high collars, tailored jackets, short haircuts and, of course, vests or waistcoats.

A sign of prestige and class throughout history, the vest now represents the new age of gender-fluid fashion.

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