Victorian Men’s Waistcoats and Sweaters

No Victorian man’s costume could be complete without the good vest and waistcoat. These were worn over the shirt and were the only layer of coloured fabric added to his dressing. A dashing waistcoat used to complete the dressing and was definitely worn over the white shirt sleeve. It was in contrast colour to the rest of the man’s suit. The common patterns throughout the era were plaid, stripes, brocade and paisley. Single breasted and double breasted took alternative chances to enter and get out of the fashion among men during those days just like notch lapels, shawl lapels and no lapels.

Waistcoats and Vests

Waistcoats and vests, which were commonly worn over the shirt, were the most varied part of Victorian men’s wardrobe. The double-breasted waistcoat became more stylish after 1850. Lapels were notched, which means split into different levels. The waistcoat had one pocket in one of the sides of the buttoned centre which was used by men to keep handkerchief and pocket watches. A belt or tie was attached at the back of the waistcoat to keep it fitting tight around the middle section of the man. This accentuated his shape in similar manner corset did for women of that era.

In Victorian era, it was considered impolite for a man to be seen in bare shirt sleeves. No one other than his wife should see him without vests. So, even the labourers wore vests made of denim, dock canvas or heavier, thicker cotton. For business and conservative occasions the colour of the waistcoat used to match with that of the coat.

The lengthy Victorian era saw many changes in men’s fashion. The era starts from the beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 till her death which was at the turn of the century. The early decades of this period showed cultural and industrial changes which had great impact on men’s clothing. It affected what men wore for work, at home and for social gatherings. In general, the clothing remained much within the sophisticated style especially among the upper class.

Fashion During Edwardian Era

As the reign of Queen Victoria ended and Prince Edward ascended the throne, men’s fashion got influenced by the style of Edward. He preferred tweedy Norfolk jackets and Homburg hats, which was seen prominent among men’s fashion during those years and at the turn of the century. Prince Edward had travelled the world and so, he used to bring new styles to popularity. In any case, displaying wealth and possessions through the clothing remained the primary intention of men during those days.

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