How to Measure for a Waistcoat

Investing in a high quality, expensive piece of clothing is a risk every time but if it’s an item you know you’ll wear a lot, it is worth spending those extra pounds. More and more people are turning away from fast fashion brands and turning to UK-based/produced brands that produce quality, staple pieces that last longer than a season. Here at Rydale, we pride ourselves on not only our classic country style but our UK manufacturing in the North of England. 

If you don’t have the money to invest in a tweed blazer right now, a waistcoat is the perfect alternative. A tweed blazer still looks great under most suit jackets as well as a standalone piece over a fitted, smart collared shirt. Whilst a premium price is not in everyone’s budget, we offer a range of stylish waistcoats for a range of price points. We want everyone to feel like a country lady or gentleman so no matter what your budget, you can still look smart! A waistcoat is an investment piece but our quality materials ensure that any waistcoat from us will last you years. If they’re good enough for England manager, Gareth Southgate, they’re good enough for us!

When it comes to buying a waistcoat, you need to make sure you have measured yourself up for one properly. We’ve included the main measurements you need to take before buying as well as some of our favourite items to pair with your brand new waistcoat too. We’ve got tips for both country gentlemen and country ladies so keep reading!

The key measurements you need to get

Getting the measurements correct is the most important step of getting a new waistcoat. If the measurements are inaccurate, you will get an ill-fitting waistcoat. For a piece that is often expensive and tailored, the last thing you want is to have to send it back because you measured yourself incorrectly. 

It can be easier to get someone else to measure you so you don’t get tangled in the tape measure. Always ensure the tape measure is flat and that you always stick to either inches or centimetres. Taking a mixture of measurements is just confusing for all!

Here are the main measurements you need to collect before purchasing a new waistcoat, whether pre-made or tailored. If you are getting one made, it is likely that the tailor themselves will take the measurements but you can always take yours with you, just to double check. 

Chest: Measure around the widest part of your chest and have the tape measure meet in the middle of your front. 

Waist: Roughly where your belly button is, measure the widest part of your stomach. Don’t measure below your stomach where your trousers usually sit as your waistcoat will not be that long. It will finish at your stomach so it must fit comfortably around there.

Back length: Measure from the nape of your neck to your waistline. You’ll probably need some help with this one as you can’t get an accurate measurement on your own.

Shoulder to shoulder: Another one where you need a helping hand, measure from one outside shoulder to the other. This measurement should be where the waistcoat would usually sit on your shoulders. 

Our waistcoats are measured by chest size and length so the bigger the chest size, the longer the waistcoat will be. If your stomach is bigger than your chest, you will need to size up just one to ensure it fits properly all round.

How to style a waistcoat – country ladies

You might think that waistcoats are only for men but we’re here to tell you that’s not the case. Our tweed ladies’ waistcoats are so versatile and feminine that it’s not just considered formal wear anymore. Waistcoats are so much more than just part of a three-piece suit now so you can wear yours as often as you’d like to!

Casual – Add a touch of class to an everyday outfit with a tweed waistcoat. One of our favourites to wear casually is our Plum Berry Bone shade, which has gorgeous red, deep pink and purple tones. This would complement dark wash skinny jeans and a smart, collared shirt. We love to pair this waistcoat with a pink shirt, which could be either plain, checked or gingham! Finish off the look with some ultra-cool tan Chelsea boots for an outfit perfect for running errands and shopping down the high street.

Smart-casual – The casual outfit above wouldn’t look out of place for smart-casual events but we prefer to wear a darker tweed waistcoat. It means you can show off the colour of your shirt here instead. Our navy herringbone check is dressy without being too formal, depending on how you style it of course! With that gorgeous, vibrant red back, keep your shirt calmer instead. A smaller gingham print in navy or a white shirt with navy check both suit this style of tweed waistcoat. You could stick with the dark skinny jeans or opt for slim-fitting trousers if it’s an evening event. Patent Chelsea boots in burgundy would really add an extra bit of dressiness to this look.

Dressy – Here is the most formal of events; think weddings, office meetings and the like. For the most formal look, go for a full three-piece tweed suit. A dark grey suit would get you through so many seasons and occasions so add a blazer and skirt to your tweed waistcoat for a complete look. Wear your favourite collared shirt as long as it doesn’t clash with baby pink and top off the look with smart brogue shoes. 

How to style a waistcoat – country gentlemen

Men’s waistcoats have had such a resurgence in recent years so if you don’t have one already, what are you waiting for? Just like the ladies, you can wear a waistcoat just about anywhere. Again, a waistcoat just adds an instant smart feel to any outfit, ensuring you’re the most stylish man at any event. Dress it up or down, you’ll look suave either way!

Casual – Why not keep your tweed for dressy occasions and opt for a moleskin front waistcoat instead? Our navy version is a great option for everyday wear. Dark wash straight leg jeans are always a staple for men but paired with a waistcoat, they go from casual to smart instantly. With all that navy, lighten up the look with a white shirt, whether it’s got multi-coloured checks or just navy. Finish it all off with comfy brown Chelsea boots and you’re ready for whatever the day throws at you!

Smart-casual – Again, your smart-casual look won’t differ much from your casual outfit. We like to switch moleskin for tweed for occasions where you need to be a little dressy but not overdressed. A navy and olive tweed waistcoat is an updated take on traditional countryside tweed. Keep the dark wash jeans or opt for chinos instead. We like to finish off smart-casual looks off with smart but not too formal shoes, such as brogue boots

Dressy – Just like the ladies, this is where you break out your three-piece suit. Another option is to switch out the trousers for a regular pair of workwear ones and keep the blazer and waistcoat. Embrace the full country look with a colourful gingham checked shirt and tan leather brogue shoes. We guarantee you’ll be the best dressed gentlemen at any event!

There’s something about the waistcoat that just makes any outfit instantly smarter (unless it’s pyjamas or jogging bottoms). Whether it’s tweed or moleskin, cotton or satin-back, any style or design will give a dressy feel to any look. Just remember to measure yourself before buying because there’s nothing worse than a waistcoat that doesn’t fit properly! Grab a partner or friend to help you out and you’ll be ready to purchase. 

Choose a style that you know you will love for a long time. Stick to classic colours and see if that tone would fit in with your existing wardrobe already. There’s no point in getting a tweed waistcoat with a green thread running through it if your wardrobe is full of reds and blues. Look at your array of checked shirts and pick out your most common colours. This way, you’ll be sure to find a style of waistcoat that most suits your and your wardrobe.

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