Rumour has it that the waistcoat was born in the Easts, but was spotted for the first time in France during the reign of Luis XVI (waistcoat in France becomes “gilet” a name deriving from Turkish “yekék” meaning ‘jacket of the convicts’). Le Roi Soleil forced all the French court to wear it as a distinctive sign from the bourgeoisie, worn as the third piece with jacket and trousers. Obviously, the rule did not apply to women at that time. What a pity! But the nature of fashion goes back and forth.
We must wait at least two centuries, until 1960, to see waistcoats on girls. It appeared on catwalks in a lot of colours, designs and materials, long to the knees or tight on the waist. Hippie style, if worn on long gowns or over flowered shirts, one of the most famous ones is the rainbow colour crochet gilet worn by Paul McCartney and many others, very British. Rocky style, if worn without anything else beneath, paired with leather pants or mini skirts as ruled Kate Moss with her iconic looks. Elegant, the one made of silk for official celebrations.
In the upcoming months the item is a really must have in its version for winter, giving a vintage touch to every outfit. In fact, the knitted vest is one of a kind and even if it is sleeveless is a warm cuddle if bought in fluffy wool or cashmere. The most iconic still remains argyle (diamonds pattern), or the cable knit, typical for sweaters.
Let’s have a quick look to brands that recently showed it on runways
- PRADA for the Resort 2020 worn as a mini-dress on long skirts.
- ETRO worn as a mini-version crop top on shirts
- CECILIE BANSHEN for Fall 2020 on long dresses
- LACOSTE for Fall 2020 in a sporty way but still classy
- ANTEPRIMA for RTW Fall 2019 with double-breasted buttons
The surplus of a homemade vest is that you can ask your grandmas, or anyone who knits, to help you create one unique piece that perfectly suits you. If you want to risk to knit it on your own, do not worry for the result, remember that there is an American tradition from the ‘80s called “Ugly Sweater”. At several dinners and parties with friends, especially Xmas, the worst knitted sweater wins and bad taste is welcomed! Moreover it’s the most sustainable choice you can make as a New Year’s resolution.
By Alessandra Busacca