Men’s Fashion – Waistcoat Roundup

shirts.jpg

Another key element in a Colonial Man’s wardrobe, and often one of the hardest to find are appropriate shirts, ties and waistcoats. As any Victorian housewife (or “female acquaintance”) would be able to tell you, a man’s linen and the quality thereof is a key way to separate the class from the crass.

Here is Second Life, finding the proper neckwear, shirts with period collars and waistcoats of suitable cut and fabric can be a chore even for the most valiant shopper. Therefore, to aid in that noble endeavor, I have taken the liberty of gathering a cross section of appropriate garments from several major Victorian and Mainstream designers, to discuss the pros and cons of each (for a better look at our specimens, click the illustration above).

The first two on the left hand side of the top row are by renown Mainland designer Simone. Few people realize that if you take the time to seek out her Menswear section, you will find there several outfits that would look right at home in Caledon or Steelhead (see my upcoming review of her Tejas, Hero and Laredo designs). Beyond that, she also sells the largest selection of proper shirt/tie/waistcoat sets in all of the Metaverse.

All of the sets are of the same basic design, but in a multitude of waistcoat and tie colors, far more then I can list here. The waistcoat texture is lovely but the actual design is a trifle pedestrian so these are garments best worn under jackets and not alone. A nice touch however, are the two prim pocket watches with chains (sold separately) specially designed to be worn with these waistcoats. Such attention to detail is a key to why Simone has been so successful.

My only complaint about these designs is that all three elements (shirt/waistcoat/tie) are on the shirt layer, meaning the waistcoat cannot be worn with another shirt. However, the sheer variety of colors makes up ably for that slight restriction.

Find Simone’s work in her own Sim, Simone 128, 128, 0.

The next example is by Victorian designer Terry Lightfoot. This design utilizes a prim tie and collar in conjunction with a shirt on the undershirt level and the waistcoat on the shirt level. This design allows for a great deal of variety and Miss Lightfoot makes good use of it, with several styles of tie and multiple colors of waistcoat. However, I would have very much liked to see more waistcoat options, especially as certain key colors (such as black and red) were unrepresented.

Personally I am not a fan of prim collars and ties, as they are notoriously hard for me to adjust properly. That is likely my failing, but even so, I much prefer for the tie to be on the same layer as the waistcoat, or at worst part of the shirt itself. Prim collars have a sad tendency to look a bit too thick and unnatural, especially when you have turned your head and put your chin through them. Once that slight prejudice is ignored, I was very impressed with the quality of the tie itself, especially the delicate gathering of the fabric. I especially appreciated the jewelry that could be included, tie tacks with bling that may be turned on or off. A lovely touch.

The waistcoat itself was the most impressive element. The fabric was rich and well textured and several nice touches were added, including a built in watch chain. I also enjoyed that fact that it was double breasted. This waistcoat is one that can be worn under a jacket or on it’s own if one is in a situation where shirtsleeves are appropriate.

All in all, a lovely offering from Miss Lightfoot, but I would very much like to see more variety in color and design of waistcoats, and perhaps multiple sizes of collar, to assist the modification-challenged such as myself.

See Miss Lightfoot’s work at Avalanche, Lightfoot and Sputnik, Steelhead (172, 189, 26).

On the far right is a shirt and waistcoat produced by my favorite suit designer, Blaze Columbia. Technically, this set is part of his Regal Tuxedo design and is not sold seperetly. However, I included the work simply to impress two ideas upon my dear reader.

First of all, to show how essential first rate shadowing is with any design. The shadows Blaze put into this vest and tie are simply remarkable and make a relatively commonplace garment into a dramatic feast for the eye.

Secondly, please note the shirt is BLACK. There is no rule that all Victorian shirts MUST be stark white. Nothing is easier to color and shadow then linens, and there are many subtle designs which would only benefit from a larger palatte.

Also, as a sub point, I would love to see more Dark Victorian or High Gothic garments made available for those of us who occasionally haunt the Winterfell Domains or the Moors.

At any rate, Blaze’s Regal Tuxedo is an excellent choice for a formal suit and provides added value with this fine shirt/tie/waistcoat for those of us who spend time on the Dark Side.

Find Blaze’s work at Glory 71, 118, 23.

On the far left of the bottom row are two designs by Doc Wrangler, a designer I but recently discovered as his designs are hidden away in the General Store in Tombstone. The gentleman needs a store of his own. I was quite taken with much of his work, especially his fine waistcoats.

The fabrics are lovely and authentic with matching ties and prim watch chains, and he sells a variety of waistcoat cuts from severe banker style to more a decadent “gambler” cut. These are definetly waistcoats which can be worn under jackets or alone. In fact, the elegant touch of a gather at the bicep makes them ideal for shirt sleeve wear.

I have only three complaints concerning Doc’s work. First of all, while the addition of the watch chain is a clever touch, please make them a bit finer. I usually try to avoid wearing watch chains heavy enough to be fitted to anchors.

Secondly, I demand more patterns and colors. For example, if the Asian print I show here came in a few more colors I would be over the moon. The same goes for his Gambler vest (not pictured).

Lastly, I would like the designs even more if they were on multiple levels. As they are one piece on the shirt level, it limits the ability to wear different shirts with his waistcoats.

However, I must say that I am enchanted with the man’s work, and look forward to seeing more of his designs in the days to come.

Look for Doc Wrangler’s designs in the General store in Tombstone 58, 216, 25.

Finally, the last two designs on the bottom row are by Edward Pearse, a Victorian menswear designer. I am tremendously impressed with the historical accuracy and purity of his designs.

The textures and patterns of the two examples I show here are exemplary and really quite beautiful. Due to the style of the wide, high lapels, these waistcoats should really be worn alone to engender the proper effect. This is just as well since I would hate to hide the richness of the waistcoats themselves.

A major point in the favor of these garments is that they are on two layers, the tie and shirt on the undershirt level and the waistcoat on the shirt level.

My major complaint here, and yes, by now you are tired of hearing it, is that I want MORE. Three designs, with only a single color option each is just not sufficient. More will be needed to ensure that men in Caledon enjoy the same bevy of clothing options that our fairer companions do.

See Mr. Pearse’s work at Pearse’d & Cut in VictoriaCity 56, 53, 23 and locations in Steelhead and New Babbage.

That brings us to the end of this roundup. I know I did not cover all possible sources of proper shirts and waistcoats for the Gentleman at large, but I do hope I gave a healthy representation. That being said, if anyone has comments or additions to this list, please feel free to amend them to this post. I am also always looking for other designers or garments to review, so bring them to my attention.

Advertisements

3 Comments

  1. My Father, Darien Mason, wears a Western ensemble from Acedia Albion’s wardrobe, which includes a waistcoat. It is exquisitely detailed, but like all of her garments, exquisitely expensive as well.

    ~Qli

  2. Great review! It’s nice to hear that folks are putting shirts on the undershirt layer… where they belong (shirts being underwear until fairly recently). Makes for greater flexibility if nothing else.

    NNP

  3. Good Sir, A discussion in another aetheric venue suggests that many merchants are happy to provide customers with garments on alternate layers, if asked. Perhaps this is a solution to the waistcoat problem, although I have not had the need to ask for such yet myself.


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s