I remember back in 2019 when our editor Emma was presenting her spring/summer 2020 trend report to the team, and waistcoats were one of the styles that had been highlighted. After a quick survey of those seated around the meeting-room table (remember those?), it became clear that I was the only one who was remotely tempted by the look. And I get it, it's the sort of trend that can conjure up visions of grinning childhood magicians, portly university professors and, well, Mr Toad from The Wind in the Willows. Also, for any nineties and noughties kids, it will inevitably bring fashion choices of outfit's past thundering back into the present. No, my pale imitation of Kate Moss's Glastonbury looks did not make me look nonchalantly cool.
Yet I was totally on-board when I saw waistcoats making their way down the spring/summer runways, be it via Celine's bohemian denim-and–floaty-blouse pairings or Max Mara's clean-lined three-piece suit. But then again, I am a sucker for a throwback style, and I can't wait to use this trend to mix up my warm-weather basics this season. I currently own four waistcoats: two vintage and two new styles, but each one brings a very different character to this tailored trend.
To show just how versatile the waistcoat is, I've put together four different outfits that I can't wait to wear this summer. But of course, feel free to use my styling simply as inspiration for creating looks out of what is already in your wardrobe. From bohemian crochet to businesslike pinstripes, scroll down to see my waistcoat outifts.
Tonal Waistcoat-and-Trousers Pairing
Style Notes: I invested in this Mango waistcoat two years ago, and I've worn it constantly with jeans and sandals. However, I love the effect of adding colour-match trousers for a more dramatic, suit-like finish.
Style Notes: This vintage fringed waistcoat was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment purchase in a charity shop last year (only £10), and I'm so glad I nabbed it. While I don't usually love the boho vibe, I think it adds some interest to my L'Agence blouse and Boyish wide-leg jeans.
Crochet Waistcoat + White Jeans
Style Notes: Another vintage waistcoat, but this time it comes in the classic '70s knitted fabric, crochet. It might not be to everyone's taste, but not unlike the fringed iteration, I find that a bit of colour and print instantly elevates my favourite white tee and high-waisted L'Agence jeans.
Pinstripe Waistcoat + Slip Dress
Style Notes: I couldn't quite decide if I liked this pairing to begin with, as I'm not usually a skirt person, however, I'm enjoying the almost '90s Gwyneth Paltrow-like effect of adding my slinky AllSaints slip to a more businesslike pinstripe waistcoat.