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  1. #1
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    Why do vintage jackets outnumber vintage waistcoats?

    Just based on my anecdotal reviews of eBay, etc., it seems like there are lots of vintage kilt jackets that lack a waistcoat, fewer kilt jackets that have an accompanying waistcoat, and even fewer unaccompanied kilt waistcoats. Does anyone know the reason for that?

    Given the local climate, I'm more likely to want to wear a vest/waistcoat than a jacket (for most of the year).
    Trying to look good on a budget.

  2. #2
    EdinSteve is offline Membership Suspended for repeated rule violations.
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    Apart from Prince Charlies most traditional jackets don’t seem to come with waistcoats automatically and are probably bought separately according to the owner’s preference.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl R View Post
    Just based on my anecdotal reviews of eBay, etc., it seems like there are lots of vintage kilt jackets that lack a waistcoat, fewer kilt jackets that have an accompanying waistcoat, and even fewer unaccompanied kilt waistcoats. Does anyone know the reason for that?

    Given the local climate, I'm more likely to want to wear a vest/waistcoat than a jacket (for most of the year).
    Karl:

    That's a good question. Perhaps the older jackets are more likely to come with waistcoats, as they were more fashionable at the time the jackets were purchased. Or it could be that the waistcoats weren't worn as often and somehow got separated or didn't survive, but I can't recall seeing any really nice vintage kilt waistcoats for sale without jackets on eBay. I'll be curious to see what others have to say on the subject.

    One curious thing that I've noticed when buying vintage jacket/waistcoat sets is that while the jacket fits perfectly, the waistcoat is more than a little snug. My vintage waistcoats have all required a bit of a rebuild.

    Given that you're in Houston, I'm afraid that if you're planning to wear even a waistcoat to many of the Texas Highland games, it's likely to be too warm even for that at many! I did wear a jacket the first rainy day at the Sherman Celtic Festival a couple of weeks ago, but the second day was warm. Sometimes you get lucky and the San Antonio games have one cool day (though the forecast this year is calling for rain and temps in the high 70s to mid-80s this year). The Salado clan gathering in November is usually the coolest (temperature wise) event. Otherwise, I find that I usually end up in shirt sleeves — more often than not short sleeves.

    Best bet might be to buy a new waistcoat. You can get basic tweed and even bias cut tartan waistcoats from J. Higgins (https://www.jhiggins.net/vests/) or USA Kilts (https://www.usakilts.com/tweed-vest.html). At USA Kilts, you have a choice of tweeds, and I find the overcheck options most appealing!

    Will you be attending the Houston Highland games on April 13? (Saturday, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM CDT @ The Crown Festival Park at Sugar Land, 18355 Southwest Fwy, Sugar Land, Texas 77479) If so, please plan to stop by the Clan Maxwell tent and introduce yourself.

    Cheers,

    SM
    Shaun Maxwell
    Vice President & Texas Commissioner
    Clan Maxwell Society

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  5. #4
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    My guess is that waistcoats sort of died off in popularity by the 1970s. Jackets older than that would likely have been more commonly found with matching waistcoats. But many waistcoats didn't survive, since they bear the brunt of body sweat and stress on the fabric/stitching. I would think that a lot of jackets still in circulation were "survivors" where their accompanying waistcoats were not.

    But, on the other hand, of the vintage jackets that I have purchased with matching waistcoats, the waistcoats appear to be in very good condition. They do tend to have sweat stains sometimes, but they were well taken care of.

    I agree with Shaun's observations on the fit. Every single vintage set that I have is very snug on the waistcoat with a much looser fit on the jacket. I chalk that up to the older sense of styling, where waistcoats were intended to be body-hugging garments, unlike today's style where they are worn with more slack. Look at any vintage photo from the 1800s up through the 1950s and you'll generally see waistcoats worn very snug.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    But many waistcoats didn't survive, since they bear the brunt of body sweat and stress on the fabric/stitching. I would think that a lot of jackets still in circulation were "survivors" where their accompanying waistcoats were not.
    Possibly also because jackets are removed more frequently when indoors and hence received less wear? I certainly tended to remove jackets when wearing a 3 piece Saxon suit - too uncomfortable/restrictive wearing the jacket when at work. The waistcoat however, keeps the tie in place...
    Dduw Bendithia pob Celtiaid

  7. #6
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    Frankly, to my very traditionalist eye, a vest with no jacket looks half-dressed, as if you took the jacket off and left it aside.

    A jacket with no vest is fine to the eye, and if no jacket, then shirtsleeves are fine too. A vest alone is far from "correct" in the "traditional" sense. Historically, it was never considered proper. I think it's an American thing.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

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  9. #7
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    Might it be, I wonder, to do with the pre-emminence of affordable and reliable wrist watches coming to the fore in the 1950's that dealt a blow to the popularity of waist coats as the ageing pocket watches were getting more expensive and frankly not being as reliable and therefore negating the need of a waist coat?
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 2nd April 19 at 08:31 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  11. #8
    EdinSteve is offline Membership Suspended for repeated rule violations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    Might it be, I wonder, to do with the pre-emminence of affordable and reliable wrist watches coming to the fore in the 1950's that dealt a blow to the popularity of waist coats as the ageing pocket watches were getting more expensive and frankly not being as reliable and therefore negating the need of a waist coat?
    An interesting thought and another possibility is the wider use of central heating at that time reducing the need for layers of warm clothing. Perhaps another reason for the decline in popularity of heavy quilted doublets in the same period.

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  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Father Bill View Post
    Frankly, to my very traditionalist eye, a vest with no jacket looks half-dressed, as if you took the jacket off and left it aside.

    A jacket with no vest is fine to the eye, and if no jacket, then shirtsleeves are fine too. A vest alone is far from "correct" in the "traditional" sense. Historically, it was never considered proper. I think it's an American thing.
    A google search brought up a number of fashion websites in Canada, Australia, and the Uk that discuss vests sans jacket. I don’t know where the trend started but it’s hardly an exclusively American thing at this point. Though perhaps combining it with kilts is. :shrug:
    Descendant of the Gillises and MacDonalds of North Morar.

  14. #10
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    One of the reasons is that the idea of a 3 piece suit, while common among trouser type people, is a more modern thing with kilts.
    In general, the more formal the outfit, the more common it is to find the jacket and vest made from the same fabric.
    For less than formal, well, it is fashion. Fashion trends change all the time. quite often annually.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 2nd April 19 at 10:51 AM.
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