Waistcoat History : How The Waistcoat Has Changed Throughout The Ages

Surprisingly, the waistcoat is one of the rare pieces of clothing whose origin historians can date precisely. King Charles II introduced the waistcoat as a part of correct dress during the Restoration of the British monarchy. Samuel Pepys, the diarist, wrote in 7th October 1666 that “the King hath yesterday in council declared his resolution of setting a fashion for clothes which he will never alter. It will be a vest, I know not well how”. This royal proclamation is the first mention of a waistcoat. Pepys records ‘vest’ as the original term. The reason for the term ‘waistcoat’ was to denote the termination at the waist, whereas, at the time, men’s formal coats went well below the waist as frock or morning coats.

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